The Five Day Denim Challenge

As in, five days, five outfits, zero jeans. I KNOW.

06.12.15

You know those people who do stuff just to prove a point but ultimately end up hurting no one but themselves?

I never thought myself to be one of them, but then I had the worst idea in the history of bad ideas.

See, Amelia and I were thinking through what kind of new diets we could possibly embark on for our series, MR Diets. In thinking through things I would likely find near impossible to achieve, I looked down at my crotch (as a self-proscribed “man repeller'” is wont to) and eureka, there it was, my solution: why don’t I try eschewing denim in favor of its fancier fabric friends and cousins for the course of one week.

I am sure it sounds easy enough but then again, watching a trainer do sit ups looks easy, too. It takes getting into the thick of the motion yourself to realize how fundamentally challenging ab-muscle engagement (or keeping your legs away from denim for an extended period of time) can be. So here we are, five days older and maybe — maybe — just one degree wiser.

It seems easy enough at first. I thought I was beating the system on Monday when I opted for a set of khaki pants plus matching top. If it’s not going to be denim, let it be another utilitarian fabric, right? Monday night was decidedly simple, too. There it sat, a yellow set in a garment bag by Stella McCartney, extolling the virtues of feeling a little bit like Natalie Joos and a whole lot like Bianca Jagger’s accountant.

Walk in the park.

Tuesday wasn’t too bad, either. I like culottes almost as much as I like avocado toast and possibly even more than Amelia likes Oprah. So I put on what I have started to call the signature green pair with a striped linen button down shirt, a black belt (for the edge of cool that jeans typically provide) and shoes that frankly have no place walking streets outside of Palm Beach.

I got this.

Until lo and behold, Wednesday and Thursday reared their heads. I think this is the stage wherein an addict begins to feel withdrawal. The placebo wears off, the power-of-regained-control is no longer novel and there you are, begging for a rip, a camel toe, a cowboy crotch — anything that bears semblance to the vintage 501s of yore, but you’re stuck. So what do you do? Get hyper-thematic. I relied on a traditional Ukrainian dress by fashion prodigy Vita Kin for Wednesday (though you should know it took many iterations of trying to personalize and own this dress before I ultimately settled on just letting it own me) and a pair of white silk faille overalls by Natasha Zinko, deliberately worn with a corporately-inclined blue button-down to counter the flower in my hair. This one was fun (if not difficult) to execute because all I really wanted to do was tuck the blue shirt into blue jeans, wear those Palm Beach sandals with the flower in my hair and tell New York to F itself.

By Friday, I am almost positive I was beginning to develop whatever the yeast-infection equivalent of starving your nether regions a vital nutrient would be. But I drudged on in a tinker bell dress and clogs peppered with a bandana around my wrist and I don’t know why, but I also included mushroom head.

At the bottom line, I learned this: there is definitely value in forcing yourself out of your style comfort zone, if not because necessity truly is “the mother of invention” (and creativity, or whatever), then certainly because it’s true, you know: absence makes the ass grow fonder.

Think this was tough? Check out that time Leandra tried the mirror challenge, the no-pants challenge or just try and read all of our past writer’s prompts without crying tears of joy. Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.

Get more Personal Style ?