Jennifer Garner’s DGAF Style is an Act of Heroism

She’s the last person taking “off duty” seriously.

08.09.17

I thought Jennifer Garner’s greatest sartorial contribution to the universe was running around New York in that pink silk nightdress in 13 Going on 30, but I was sorely mistaken. Her opus had yet to unfurl itself like the plebeian-friendly red carpet I didn’t know I needed until it was staring me in the face inside a tattered copy of Us Weekly at my favorite nail salon.

The page in question featured a photograph of Garner running errands in L.A. She was wearing faded skinny jeans and mom sandals and a loose, striped t-shirt and unremarkable tortoiseshell sunglasses. Stars — They’re Just Like Us!

Or are they? While five years ago I would have deemed this assemblage of clothing a perfectly regular and expected outfit for someone, A-lister or otherwise, to wear on a quick jaunt to CVS to buy paper towels and Mentos or whatever, I would not say the same today. In fact, until that moment in the nail salon, I was pretty sure true, off-duty style no longer existed, which brings me to what I now consider to possibly be Jennifer Garner’s greatest sartorial contribution to the universe: She’s singlehandedly keeping off-duty style alive.

For the sake of clarity, when I say “true, off-duty style,” I’m talking about the comfy clothes you wear when you have nowhere important to be and you’re just hanging out and/or running errands, e.g. ill-fitting tank tops, black lounge pants, flip flops, baggy sweaters, jeans you bought five years ago and face-obscuring sunglasses that don’t adhere to any particular trend.

I’m going to go ahead and blame athleisure for the gradual extinction of true, off-duty style. With a proliferation of brands like Outdoor Voices and a general uptick in trendiness around comfortable sportswear like leggings and track pants (not to mention sweatshirts as bonafide luxury-wear), everyone’s off-duty style started looking…well…good. It no longer consisted of stuff you might “throw on” haphazardly as you were walking out the door. Instead, it became an opportunity for curated cool – a form of orchestrated nonchalance. There came a point where calling an errand outfit “off-duty,” despite very clear evidence of its carefully considered assembly, felt almost blasphemous.

I am someone who loves putting thought into how I dress when I feel like it, but I am also someone who loves turning off that part of my brain entirely and wearing ratty gym shorts and a t-shirt to get coffee on a Sunday morning. Needless to say, this movement hit me hard. I mourned the loss of the authentic, off-duty aesthetic, which wasn’t so much an aesthetic as it was the absence of one.

Enter Jennifer Garner: The hero we needed but don’t deserve.

I’ve been Googling her incessantly for the past week and my gratitude has blossomed into full-on worship. I want to write a sonnet about her mom sandals and faded jersey tops. I want to tell her that I, too, always seem to be schlepping at least two tote bags of stuff simultaneously, as much as I yearn to be one of those tiny purse people. I want to bury my face in her perpetually wet-in-public, fresh-of-the-shower hair and breathe in the smell of Garnier Fructis.

But that would be kind of creepy, so instead I’ll settle for thinking of her next time I don my ratty gym shorts.

Get more Fashion ?

Hi! If you're in the UK or EU and have trouble loading Disqus comments on Man Repeller, that could be a result of updates we've made to the site to be compliant with GDPR. The good news is, you can elect to allow Disqus tracking, which will enable comments to load! You can do this by going to Manage Choices and making Disqus active. See screenshots for how to do this below.