Originally from Orlando, Florida, Michelle Jensen moved to Durango to pursue her love of the outdoors and study adventure education at Fort Lewis College. Function dictates her style because on any given day, Jensen could be practicing acro yoga with a friend, climbing the spires of Bridger Jack Mesa, or chiseling her way up an ice shelf.
Sipping on a dirty chai at Smiley Cafe, Jensen’s expensive-looking brand-name pieces were purchased either discounted or used. Her maroon Patagonia cashmere sweater cost $25 at Outdoor Exchange, and her American-made GTS pants were 60 percent off since she’s an ambassador for the brand. Her diamond necklace is made from one of her grandfather’s tie pins, and the casual string bracelets covering both wrists are gifts and travel mementos that add a personal story to her outfit. The outcome is a look that is both practical and originally stylish.
“[My style] shifted when I moved here. In Florida, you can’t wear weird stuff and get away with it. Patagonia is not a thing in Florida … [People] wear fancier stuff. Going to school I would dress up, wear makeup, do my hair, wear skirts, and totally fit in. Here, if I went to school wearing a dress, I’d feel so out of place.
Today I am going to go to acro yoga with a friend and after that I am going climbing. My style now is in between trying to be cute and trying to be functional. I like layering.
My favorite [thrift store] is the Humane Society. They have a lot of sales. During the winter, their sweaters are $3. I don’t usually look at pants because it’s hard to find stuff, but one time I did find a pair of pants for $4 — they’re actually from Rue 21, which is funny because I view that as preteen [store] — but they’re stretchy and fit and are my No.1 climbing pants.
I’m not one of those people who is PataGucci and need to have name brand clothes. Thrift stores are convenient because with crack climbing, especially in the desert, I rip up my clothes so quickly. And I like to do fun stuff like wear a Tigger onesie.”