The Shapeless Denim Romper Is Summer’s Most Practical Outfit

By
It’s so anti-chic it’s chic again.

I was browsing the racks at Oak’s factory store in L.A. when I burst out laughing. What I’d believed to be a faded-denim jacket had turned out to be a faded-denim romper. It had frayed edges, pockets all over, no waist, and a silhouette like a brick of cement. It was ugly in a charming way, a delightfully ridiculous combination of denim trends usually relegated to the “don’t” sections of dress codes. The tag said A/OK (the name of Oak’s house brand), which only made me laugh harder.

A shapeless denim onesie is the perfect outfit for summer: The material is sturdy enough to withstand wet grass, sandy beaches, and patio furniture that would snag a flimsier fabric. The roomy silhouette is barbecue-friendly, breeze-circulating, and comfortable over swimsuits. When I take it off to sunbathe, my faded-denim onesie rolls into a perfect beach pillow: thick, soft, and impervious to crinkling. (By the end of the day, gauzy beach tunics always look like wadded-up Kleenexes when I’m wearing them.)

It can survive getting shoved in and out of tote bags, too — but I don’t carry bags when I’m wearing my A/OK romper. I treat my denim onesie like a utility apron, dropping sunglasses, sunscreen, bottle openers, and small books down the broad patch pockets on the chest. (And the smaller-but-still-sizable pockets on the hips and butt.) My big, boxy romper is designed to embrace bulk. It’s functional, comfortable, and easy. It’s so anti-chic, that it does a 180 to chic, again. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself when I look at, say, country-club guidelines for “jeans in good taste” (no ripped jeans, no frayed jeans, consistent color jeans) and realize, with pride, that I have chosen an outfit that will never touch a human named Muffy. If it violates the dress code at Mar-a-Lago, you’re doing something right.

But there are plenty of other denim rompers out there to love, each with its own situation-specific qualities. Here are a few others I enjoy.

If you want it acid-washed

To double down on Muffy-repellent qualities.

If you hate tan lines

The flouncy top keeps the mood light.

If you're feeling like a sexy mechanic

For when you need to roll up your sleeves and get down to business … at looking cute.

If you hate sleeves

The flap pockets and gold-thread detailing give this denim a classic vibe.

If you love sleeves

Bell sleeves and flared shorts give this onesie an hourglass silhouette.

If you love keyhole cutouts

Breezy on the belly, with a delightfully awkward silhouette.

If you want a vintage vibe

The bell-shaped legs and front seams have a ’70s feel.

If you want to get weird

If you hiked up your jeans to your boobs and added overall straps, you’d get this wonderfully weird contraption. Aggressively faded, spacious, and shapeless — I have to have it.

If you want Fashion

As high-low as it comes.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

Get the best of The Strategist delivered to your inbox.

The Shapeless Denim Romper Is Summer’s Most Practical Outfit