One of my husband’s best friends wears jeans at home, and while I’m not proud of this, I’ve properly shamed him for his very conscious choice. “That’s psychotic behavior,” I’d respond to his wife after she’d send me a photo of him watching TV on the couch at 9 p.m. in jeans. JEANS! “I know,” she’d answer with the same disbelief, “I can’t get him to stop.”
Pre-quarantine, I had pretty strong beliefs about anyone wearing denim while being in the comfort of their own home. And if you’ve seen me on Insta stories, I’m usually in sweats or comfy clothes; clearly the type of person who unbuttons their jeans pulling into their driveway. But I’m beginning to soften my stance.
During the first week of quarantine, I found out my best friend of twenty years wears jeans at home. In complete disbelief, I immediately took to my Instagram stories to shame her. “This news is making me rethink my whole life,” I wrote over a screenshot of our Facetime session, where she was proudly showing off her blue denim jeans. “I read it helps with productivity, so I’m sticking with it,” she said surely.
She’s not entirely wrong. According to some experts, getting dressed for work sets the tone for the rest of your day. Fuck, I thought when I read this. If my quarantine looks were to describe a tone, they would say: 30-something-year-old woman who has lost the will to live decided yet again to not bathe today. Maybe that’s why I struggle with productivity, my thoughts continued.
If my quarantine looks were to describe a tone, they would say: 30-something-year-old woman who has lost the will to live decided yet again to not bathe today.
When I asked some of my friends what their new dress routines during quarantine looked like, their answers were varied. “You know I’m a jean girl, and I haven’t worn them in four weeks, so that tells you where I’m at,” one of my friends responded. Another friend shared that she hasn’t left her robe in weeks, even wearing it during work calls or family Zoom gatherings. I need a robe, I thought.
Other friends of mine, similar to my best friend, are fully embracing WFH in their jeans. One of my friend’s husbands shared that it helps him keep a positive mind frame, and is an attempt to keep his day-to-day routine somewhat resemblant to his normal one pre-quarantine. Another friend of mine is a therapist now working from home with a baby, and said jeans help her differentiate her “work hat” from her “mom hat.” She continued, “Jeans signal to myself ‘okay, we’re out of PJs so it’s time to wake the fuck up.’” And I can’t really blame her. I work from home, and have for over a year, and I can admit that working in what I wore to bed the night before is probably why I have such painfully slow mornings. There’s no physical transitional transformation from sleep to work mode.
Another friend of mine is a therapist now working from home with a baby, and said jeans help her differentiate her “work hat” from her “mom hat.” She continued, “Jeans signal to myself ‘okay, we’re out of PJs so it’s time to wake the fuck up.’”
The other day, inspired by my jean-wearing friends, I decided to experiment, and slipped into something different for my weekly grocery run. While I usually leave my house in sweatpants, socks, and sandals (quarantine is a lifestyle, okay?), I decided to put on my favorite jeans and a white t-shirt with gold hoops. “Wow!” my husband said when I walked out of our bedroom. “You look fancy!” he said, lighting up. It’s a sad hit of reality when your husband considers jeans and a plain boring t-shirt dressed up.
When I returned home with full grocery bags in hand, and even though I immediately changed back into sweatpants, I admittedly felt better. I felt accomplished. I also felt weirdly excited about having been seen. Like I was proud of showing my tight Levi’s to the whole world. In this test case, jeans did set the tone for my grocery run. I noticed I smiled more to strangers, had an extra pep in my step—it was a feeling even my comfiest of sweatpants hasn’t been able to provide me with.
I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about people who wear jeans while binge watching Netflix’s latest hit show, but I’m softening my stance on wearing jeans at home. Who am I to judge what one wears during a goddamn pandemic? If putting on jeans makes you feel better about yourself, about your work, or about life in general, I hope you put on your favorite pair and tell people like me to fuck off. During these uncertain and anxious times, no one needs to be judged for how they choose to dress. Jeans or no jeans.