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
If you hate tan lines
If you're feeling like a sexy mechanic
If you hate sleeves
If you love sleeves
If you love keyhole cutouts
If you want a vintage vibe
If you want to get weird
If you want Fashion
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