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I live in jeans or, more broadly, in denim. I find an excuse to wear the fabric whenever I can. During the fall, it’s medium–wash skirts with high boots; winter is dark skinny jeans and turtlenecks; in spring, I put on my light–wash denim jacket over sun dresses; and summer means white jean shorts over bathing suits. My dorm even has an entire drawer dedicated to jeans, to the point where my friends insist I shop for leggings, sweatpants, or other “lounge–wear.” 

Suffice to say, not everyone shares my affection for blue jeans. So, here’s a guide to all things denim: the best deals, styling tips, and arguments for why you should open some online shopping tabs and upgrade the jean–based outfits in your wardrobe. The secret to a comfortable, quarantine–friendly, put–together future is just a 40 dollar denim wash away.

Denim is durable and warm!

Ever felt a degree away from frostbite in thin leggings? Have you ever snagged a pair? I can’t tell you how many leggings I’ve ripped and had to stitch back together. Instead, I hike in a loose, worn–in pair of jeans. Before you tell me I’m crazy, just hear me out. They won’t tear on a branch or rock, and they’ll keep you warm. Not to mention, they’ll make your photo ops that much better. Check out this classic mid–rise boyfriend jean from Old Navy for just under 35 dollars. Pair with your favorite walking boots, a soft henley, and a cargo jacket, and you’re ready to conquer the forest, the hiking trail, or the apple orchard.

Denim matches with literally anything—I mean anything.

Couldn’t find the right bottoms to go with that super cute but brightly colored crop top? Throw on jeans. Have a shirt with a busy pattern and don’t want to take away from the design? Pair it with a denim skirt. The options are endless, and nothing clashes with a medium or dark wash denim. 

So, go into your closet and find the one top you love but haven’t worn because you can’t find bottoms to go with it. Now head over to Forever 21 and get yourself a must–have staple: a denim mini skirt. These come ripped or otherwise, if that isn’t your style, and both are under 15 dollars and a great addition to any closet. Match one of these with your top, a pair of white sneakers, and a cute purse, and you’re set!

Denim can take any outfit from dressy to casual—and back again!

Have a pretty dress that you’ve been dying to wear, but no occasion fancy enough to dress up? It’s a regular COVID–era struggle. Add a jean jacket on top, and ta–da! It’s casual enough for a stroll, socially–distanced hangout in the backyard, or even a grocery store run. 

The same applies for bringing an outfit from daytime casual to evening formal. Have a fun blouse you want to wear out, but it just doesn’t feel dressy enough? Pair with a dark or black–wash jean and heels to take it out on the town. 

Check out this light–wash, wide–sleeved denim jacket from the Gap for under 35 dollars, and add it to the overlooked dress in the back of your closet, paired with your favorite pair of ankle boots or wedges.

Jeans require limited maintenance and limited replacement. 

The best kept secret from a jean aficionado? You rarely have to replace them. If anything, you’ll probably develop a collection because you simply can’t get rid of them. You don’t need to buy expensive jeans to keep them for years; I only buy denim I can get for under 40 dollars, and all of mine are well–worn but remain in great condition. 

Jeans also don’t need to be washed after every wear. Laundry day can wait—the words every college student wants to hear! You can wear your favorite pair of jeans for a few days before they need a soak. Don’t dry them after washing, and you’ll preserve pants that hug you just right and get the best bang for your buck. 

There are so many different kinds of denim.

Welcome to the wonderful world of versatility in fashion! Not only can you wear skirts, shirts, shorts, pants, or jackets in denim, but you can also get them in every length, pattern, wash, or “ripped status.” High–waisted, mid–rise, low–waisted, cut–offs, bootleg, flair, mom, boyfriend—you name it, it’s out there. 

My personal favorite, though, is a good high–waisted denim short. This pair from H&M for under 20 dollars is comfortable, cute, and perfect for the beach. However, if you’re looking for versatility in size, shape, color, or style, head back over to the Old Navy and Gap, or check out ASOS. These brands offer a lot of options for whatever you’re looking for. My personal favorite, these classy dark wash skinny jeans from Old Navy, are the best to wear with a pair of flats—and they’re available in “short” for us petite girls.

I hope now you know you should go out on a denim spending spree. It won’t break the bank, will boost your outfits, and stay happily within your “comfort zone.” Maybe our new jeans will bring us our very own “You can put your hand in my back pocket” moment to make Lara Jean proud!

Lexi Boccuzzi is a Penn sophomore in the College majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Stamford, CT. She is an avid country-music listener, reader, and fan of all things Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Gilmore Girls. She loves to chat about politics and is also studying classics and legal studies.
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