Katie Holmes Wore the Best Pair of Jeans — As Joey Potter On 'Dawson's Creek'

She's basically the blueprint for Gen Z style.

Katie Holmes Wore the Best Pair of Jeans — As Joey Potter On Dawson’s Creek
Photo: Getty Images/InStyle

I was six years old when Dawson's Creek first aired on the WB in January 1998, but it wasn't until my late 20s, when the show started streaming on Netflix, that I convinced my husband to watch with me, start to finish. We completed the series in a matter of months, binge-watching a few episodes a day. Years later, we still find ourselves debating if Joey (Katie Holmes) should have ended up with Pacey (Joshua Jackson) or Dawson (James Van Der Beek), or if it was really necessary to kill off Jen (Michelle Williams).

When we're not side-eying some of the writers' decisions, though, we're praising the show for its relatable characters. Take Joey Potter, for example. In my opinion, up until Rory Gilmore stepped into the limelight, Joey Potter was the worst female lead on television. But while she's petty, whiny, and ridiculously indecisive, not to mention a snotty sister, terrible girlfriend and friend, Joey's just your average fifteen-year-old. She works hard for her grades, cares about her family, and is secretly crushing on her best friend. But what I love most about Joey is that, unlike the characters in Gossip Girl, she isn't toting around designer handbags or strutting the halls of Capeside High in heels. Joey Potter's wardrobe consists of T-shirts, crop tops, pull-over sweaters, and baggy jeans.

A lot of baggy jeans.

Dawson's Creek
Getty Images

Now, I'll admit, I judged Joey Potter's choice of denim pretty harshly while rewatching Dawson's Creek. Granted, Joey Potter existed from the late '90s through the early aughts, and I was watching the show in the 2010s, so it's unsurprising that Joey's bootcut and straight leg denim (plus or minus the occasional overall) didn't do it for me. Flash forward to 2021, however, and you won't catch me snubbing Joey's looser fit. Rather, I'm trying to emulate the character's iconic tomboy style.

I still don't agree with Gen Z that skinny jeans are totally out, but I am open to experimenting with different styles of denim. I've been referencing what I once dubbed "Joey Potter's ugly jeans'' for inspiration, and there's plenty of it through the seasons. In fact, the first time viewers see Joey's baggy denim in all its glory is in the pilot episode, when city girl Jen Linley collides with small town girl Joey Potter in the halls of Capeside High to chat about the whiniest boy next door they'll spend years fighting over, Dawson Leery.

In the scene, Joey is wearing her signature blue jeans with a cropped pale green button-down. She's thrown on a cropped beige jacket overtop, leaving it unbuttoned. Her straight hair is full of volume — and *gasp* parted down the middle — during the uncomfortable exchange, but is later on thrown into a low ponytail, which she secures with a black scrunchie.

ICYDK, or are too young to to know, this classic combination of wide leg jeans, hair scrunchies, and cropped tops were '90s wardrobe staples. Yes, the throwback look also adheres to the fashion trends of today, but for anyone who needs a reminder (cough, Gen Zers), these are recycled trends. What goes around, comes back around, especially in fashion. So, even if it's arguably a cool look, you'll have to excuse our hesitation. We're not old. We've just been there, done that, ok?

Not that Holmes ever really gave up on Joey Potter's signature look after Dawson's Creek wrapped. Like Joey, Holmes is an elevated basics queen, and is frequently spotted wearing wide-legged jeans (the baggier the better) paired with T-shirts and tank tops. She's also known for paying homage to throwback trends like tube tops. It just goes to show, you can take the girl out of Capeside, but you can't take Capeside out of the girl.

And don't think I've overlooked the stellar coincidence that these trends just happen to be back in style the same year Holmes's daughter Suri turned 15 — aka the same age Joey was in the first season of Dawson's Creek. The question is, will the teen adopt her mom's signature style with some baggy jeans of her own? Here's hoping Holmes pulled a Reese Witherspoon or Cindy Crawford and held onto a few (now-vintage) pairs for that very occasion.

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