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The Jeans I Wore in High School Are Still the Best

A love story for the ages.

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A model wearing a pair of flared jeans and a purple printed shirt
AEO Denim X Hi Rise Slim Flares ($49.50)

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Like most high school kids, I didn’t love in half-measures. My fickle teenage feelings were ardent but ultimately fleeting. I reserved my unwavering devotion for a small number of things: Teen Vogue, catching a new episode of The O.C. every Tuesday, and American Eagle jeans.

Besides the fact that they happened to fit me really well, the jeans’ emblematic stripe across the butt pocket were the epitome of cool. But our relationship ended mid-college, when I got rid of them to make room for new brands I imagined grown-ass women wore.

More than a decade later, I’ve come full circle. Channeling my 16-year-old self, I picked up a pair of AEO Denim X Hi Rise Slim Flares earlier this year and have been wearing them at least twice a week since.

They don’t bag out and manage to hold their shape even after a few wears. They fit as if they’ve been tailored, nipping in at the waist with no gapping in the back. The thick denim makes them look more expensive than they are, but they’re still forgivingly stretchy and soft. And since the flare isn't out of control and the waist is just high enough, they've got a nice ‘70s vibe that doesn’t look cheesy.

I’m a firm believer that few things from high school are worth revisiting (cafeteria food, lackluster first kisses, Uggs), but American Eagle jeans are an exception to that rule. I feel like a rom-com heroine who’s been around the block only to discover that her high school sweetheart was the one all along.