Wearing the pants in my own damn life, or the IDGAF Jeans

Elizabeth Donald
6 min readJun 26

There may be some fashionista phrase more annoying than “boyfriend jeans,” but I’m hard-pressed to think of one as I attempt to reclaim jeans for grown-assed adults.

If you’re unaware or just haven’t been arsed to care — not that I’d blame you — “boyfriend” clothes are all the rage these days. Boyfriend jeans were first, then shorts and shirts and tees and jackets and who knows, maybe socks are next. To the extent that I care about fashion — for reference, see your nearest thimble — I figured out pretty quick that it’s supposed to look like you borrowed those clothes from your boyfriend instead of putting on your own damn clothes.

For the record, I was with my husband more than ten years before the first time I borrowed his shirt, and it was only to annoy him by getting my girl-germs on his Godzilla shirt. Annoying your spouse is a sacrosanct tradition not to be sullied by fashion.

I’m not the first person to find the whole “boyfriend” clothes line a little puerile, and not just because I don’t have a boyfriend and don’t spend my whole life obsessing about what I look like. Hadley Freeman of The Guardian had a great piece about it in 2014 from the safety of London, where theoretically people make a little more sense. (English readers, stop laughing.)

“The ‘boyfriend’ descriptor refers to the idea that the clothes should look as if you borrowed them from your boyfriend — geddit? GEDDIT? — but is really there because the fashion world has the mentality of an especially immature high schooler. Therefore, it thinks that to insinuate one has a boyfriend makes one look really cool and desired and validated (see: endless fashion blogs and tumblrs about models’ boyfriends) and therefore it is super sexy to look like you just rolled out of bed (probably from having sex! Only cool people are allowed to have sex, ya know!), pulled on your boyfriend’s clothes and hit the streets.”

That was nine years ago — yeah, I know, where is this century going — and we’re still inundated with boyfriend clothes. The basic premise aside, the appeal of boyfriend clothes is that they’re supposedly bigger, looser, like they don’t fit. And this is where Ms. Freeman and I part company, because what the fashion world says is “loose, doesn’t fit” is … well, you take a look.

Elizabeth Donald

Journalist for more than 25 years, freelance writer, editor, photographer, and fiction author. Subscribe at patreon.com/edonald or visit donaldmedia.com.