Lessons Learned From a Week Without Jeans

Denim-less Days

I have one pair of skinny jeans that I wear at least twice a week, but usually more than that. It’s not that I don’t have other pants. In fact, I have eleven other pairs of jeans in various fits and colors, ten pairs of dress pants, three pairs of plain black leggings, a pair of army green pants – that I love but my sister says are repulsive – two pairs of sateen pants, and three pairs of khakis from a job I once had where khakis were part of the uniform. That’s not to mention all of my skirts and shorts. I just really love that one pair of jeans. When I read an article recently by Who What Wear writer Allyson Payer about going an entire week without wearing jeans, I decided it was time for me to accept the challenge.

Payer says she began her denim hiatus during a “strong cold front.” On the day I read the piece, we had just had a giant snowstorm in northern Colorado. I decided to start the next day.

Miraculously, the next day was surprisingly warm. It was a Sunday towards the end of March, and I was determined to go a full seven days without my jeans.

I went two.

By Tuesday, I slipped back into my favorite pair of skinny jeans, which I wore for three days straight before deciding to restart the challenge.

The week I actually did my challenge, it snowed twice but was extremely warm on other days. Because, you know, Colorado.


I tried not to plan my outfits out ahead of time and found that deciding what to wear in the morning took between ten and fifteen minutes longer without my regular option of jeans to fall back on.

It was not as difficult as I anticipated. Especially after bailing out the first time, I thought going a full week without my beloved jeans would be nearly impossible. Instead, I actually had a lot of fun creating new outfits and looking in various places for inspiration. Day three was based off of a picture I saw on Pinterest. I totally stole day five’s outfit from a J. Crew advertisement. Day seven was created with a lot of help from my sisters.

People around me didn’t necessarily realize that I hadn’t been wearing jeans, but some did notice a difference in my style.

“You look super cute today,” my coworker told me on day six. “Not that you don’t normally, but you’ve just looked extra snazzy lately.”

By the end of the seven days, I was not struggling nearly as much as I had anticipated. It was difficult but I found I was still able to come up with a few more outfits if I wanted to keep going.

I broke my jean strike by wearing different pairs of jeans for five days in a row.

The challenge was fun, but if I were to do it again I think I would try to plan outfits out ahead of time. It took way too much extra time in the morning when I could have been sleeping.

While Payer found that she needed to add more non-denim to her wardrobe, I found that I already have enough, I just have to wear it more. Normally, I look for reasons to “dress up.” Renouncing jeans for a full week showed me that I don’t need any excuses. Going forward, if I want to wear a pair of dress pants, a dress or a skirt to work for no reason, I’m going to.

I recommend this challenge to anyone who is anywhere near as in love with denim as I am. Aside from making it apparent which clothes you are never going to wear, the challenge tests your creativity, forces you to move outside of your sartorial comfort zone and is actually pretty fun. Plus, it makes you appreciate your go-to jeans (and even jeans that were never your favorite) even more.



this is what I wore each day.

Day one: white shorts with orange and blue flowers, blue sweater, fake pearl necklace, and tan sandals

Day two: Yellow high-waisted shorts, a white tee, a blue and white striped cardigan and tan sandals

Day three: green cargo-y pants, white t-shirt with gold polka dots, a denim shirt tied around my waist and tan sandals

Day four: Blue and white striped skirt, coral sweater, silver necklace and silver flats

Day five: black and white striped dress, white collared button up underneath, brown belt and brown boots

Day six: black skinny dress pants, a grey and purple floral blouse, a black blazer and black flats

Day seven: Maroon bodycon dress, denim shirt tied around my waist and brown booties.