Jenn Wiggins poses in front of a forested backdrop.

SLUG Style: Jenn Wiggins

Slug Style


"Plus, having an affinity for hats, headbands and bandanas is a great solution for having a bad hair day! You’d be more shocked to see me out and about in a dress and heels." Photos by Evan Hancock.

Jenn Wiggins is a lover of all things outdoors, especially while on a hike. Inspired by country stars, vintage styles and her own outdoor adventuring experience, Wiggins’ style proves that fashion and function can and should intersect, and that no one needs to spend a ton of money at Patagonia to slay on the trails. Keep up with her cute looks and work as a Wild Keeper Ambassador on her Instagram @wenniferjiggins

Every month, SLUG Style features a distinct member of the community and asks them why they do what they do. Exploring more than just clothing, SLUG Style is an attempt to feature the people who give Salt Lake City flavor through personality and panache.

What are your stylistic influences? This could be a band, decade, fictional character—anything.

I remember the first time I truly understood what a “look” was when I watched the 1998 version of The Parent Trap for the first time and Hallie showed up to summer camp in her jean jacket, plaid shorts, sunglasses and black nail polish. She was the peak “cool girl” to me growing up. As my style has evolved, I’ve taken lots of inspiration from female folk and country artists from the ‘60s and ‘70s, like Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. Dolly’s signature style of the bandana in the hair and the button up shirt tied up into a crop top is my go-to summer look. I also love elements of Stevie Nicks’ signature looks from the ‘70s and how Riley Keough was styled as Daisy in Daisy Jones and the Six, so I tend to gravitate toward flowy, layered, patterned pieces that might be found on a ‘70s pop-rock star. Most recently, I’ve pulled a lot from the aesthetic of Kacey Musgraves’ latest album, Deeper Well. Her use of florals, colorful ribbons and cool bananas tied in her hair, and layering pieces like denim shirts and chunky cardigans have been fun to play around with.

What are your interests or hobbies? What is the hobby or interest that you have that no one would realize to ask you about?

I obviously love hiking and traveling, but half the fun of the experience for me is the planning aspect. I love to extensively research a place, make itineraries and plan outfits to match the vibe almost as much as I love the execution of the actual hike or trip. I’m big into thrifting and antiquing, and I’ve reached a point where about 80% of my wardrobe is secondhand. When I first moved into my own apartment, I spent the summer scouring every antique store in the Salt Lake Valley to decorate and furnish my little home with cool, one-of-a-kind pieces. I also love to read. I have a goal of reading 100 books this year and am part of a book club that keeps me on track with all the reading I need to do! I’ve been vegan for more than four years now, and I love checking out all the amazing vegan restaurants and bakeries we have in Salt Lake. One thing people might not know about me is I’m a rollerblading fiend! I could blade around the Liberty Park oval for hours and not get tired of it.

"I remember the first time I truly understood what a “look” was when I watched the 1998 version of The Parent Trap for the first time and Hallie showed up to summer camp." Photos by Evan Hancock.

What does being a wild keeper ambassador for Keep Nature Wild entail? How has it impacted your connection with the outdoors?

Keep Nature Wild is a sustainable clothing company whose mission is to keep trash out of nature. Their Wild Keeper Ambassador (WKA) program connects a community of nature lovers worldwide and empowers them to keep their local outdoor spaces free of trash. Every month, WKAs participate in Impact Day, a designated day to pick up trash in your community and post about it on social media to encourage others to join you. This can be done as a solo activity, or you can organize or join a group clean-up in your area. As a group, WKAs have eliminated 1,150,000 pounds of trash from nature so far.

I’ve been a Wild Keeper for three years now, and it has been the most incredible experience! I am able to connect with so many kind, like-minded and passionate people from all over the world through social media that I never would have met otherwise. Some of the people I meet even turn into hiking and travel buddies. I think getting invested in sustainability and waste reduction can be very anxiety-inducing at times. When you become aware of how much waste there truly is out in the world, it can feel like a hopeless task to reduce and reuse on a small, personal level when the masses don’t seem to care. But being a part of the Wild Keeper community proves how many other people are out there taking action and spreading awareness to keep our natural spaces clean and healthy, and there’s nothing more empowering than feeling the support of thousands of others with the same mission. Last summer, I helped host a cleanup of the Jordan River Trail in Salt Lake City as a Wild Keeper, and members of the community picked up more than 100 pounds of trash along the trail. Being able to give back to nature in this way when the outdoors have given so much to me feels amazing, and I can’t wait until one day there’s no more trash out there to pick up.

Are you always “on” or would someone see you at the grocery store, for example, with less elements of your style?

Because so much of my wardrobe is designed to be comfortable enough to hike miles and miles in, my comfy late-night grocery store or early morning beverage run outfits are pretty similar to my more curated looks. Plus, having an affinity for hats, headbands and bandanas is a great solution for having a bad hair day! You’d be more shocked to see me out and about in a dress and heels.

How does your love for the outdoors influence your style, in terms of both aesthetics and function/comfort? How do you balance those two elements?

Since I need clothes that I can be active in, comfort and function always come first. My favorite way to balance style with comfort is to start with basic, functional pieces and build a look using accessories from there. I’ll usually take a simple tank top and solid hiking shorts and add a cool button up shirt with interesting color or print, funky socks or Chacos and either a hat or bandana in my hair to complete the look. The nice thing about hiking accessories is they are designed to be functional. A hat or bandana might tie together all the elements of my look, but they also protect my head from the sun or rain. A flannel overshirt might add some color and print to my outfit, but it also allows me to layer for longer hikes that might have varying temperatures along the trail. It’s also important to know that you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on high-tech hiking clothing. I got my first pair of hiking books from a thrift store for $10 and all of my unique layering pieces are also secondhand. If you do want to find more name-brand, high quality outdoorsy clothing, check out thrift stores like Plato’s Closet, Uptown Cheapskate or Indy Clover. I own some nice Patagonia gear, but I’ve never bought it new or full price! Looking for cool hiking pieces at second-hand stores has added an element of fun to my style that can only come from the high of finding $50 new-with-tags hiking shorts for $8 at a thrift store.

"I think the first step to discovering and developing a personal style is gaining confidence." Photos by Evan Hancock.
“I think the first step to discovering and developing a personal style is gaining confidence.” Photos by Evan Hancock.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would those be? 

Independent, compassionate and sensitive. 

Has your traveling had an impact on the styles you’re into and if so, how?

I think the first step to discovering and developing a personal style is gaining confidence. Personally, traveling has helped me build that confidence. In the spring of 2021, I planned my first ever solo trip to Palm Springs, California to visit Joshua Tree National Park. I got to know myself better than I ever had on my road trip through the Coachella Valley and learned that spending time alone doesn’t have to be lonely. Prioritizing quality time with myself allows me to discover what I truly value versus what things I did to gain the approval of others. Once I gained the confidence to make fashion decisions for myself rather than following trends only to fit in, I felt more empowered to take risks and try new things with my personal style. I moved away from safe neutrals and lots of black and tried out unique patterns, color combinations and silhouettes.

Traveling has also helped me meet and observe people who are different from those I grew up around. The diversity of styles in cities and towns around the country is so refreshing—there’s so much to learn from the people I meet while out exploring. As I mentioned before, I have grown to love planning outfits to match the vibe of a location I’m visiting. Most of my travels are around the western United States, so I have a lot of outfits curated to fit red rocks, desert and other wide open spaces. I’m greatly inspired by nature—styling my clothing to compliment the different landscapes I explore makes me feel even more connected to them as I get to know new places. Last fall, I had the opportunity to visit the East Coast for the first time. I went to New York City and Boston, which were both pretty far out of my comfort zone as someone who usually prefers mountain peaks to skyscrapers. It was such a fun challenge to plan outfits that matched a more urban landscape while still staying true to my personal style. Overall, I think traveling inspires me to be intentional with the things I choose to wear, which keeps me creative and ready to experiment with new styles in new places.

What local hikes would you recommend to someone who’s just trying to get into hiking?

My first piece of advice for anyone interested in hiking is to just start! Hiking is a fairly uncomplicated hobby because you need very little equipment or special skills to get started. You don’t need to worry about having any special brands or high-quality hiking gear; as long as you have comfy shoes and plenty of water, you’re ready to get out and hit the trails. My favorite free resource to help me plan new hikes is the AllTrails app. You’ll be able to find information about mileage, difficulty and current conditions for almost any trails there.

My favorite beginner-friendly hikes in the Salt Lake City area are:

Even on more challenging hikes, never feel like you need to rush or limit the amount of time you spend taking breaks. It doesn’t matter how quickly you reach the top; it only matters that you keep taking baby steps until you get there. Remember to always leave no trace, respect the land you recreate on and tell someone where you’re going!

"Whenever I am feeling critical of the way my body looks, I remind myself that the same body has carried me hundreds of miles and to the tops of literal mountains." Photos by Evan Hancock.
“Whenever I am feeling critical of the way my body looks, I remind myself that the same body has carried me hundreds of miles and to the tops of literal mountains.” Photos by Evan Hancock.

How has your personal style evolved over time?

When I was younger, I was fairly insecure about my body and dressed in a lot of black and baggy clothes to hide it. Hiking has helped me learn to value my body’s strength over appearance. Whenever I am feeling critical of the way my body looks, I remind myself that the same body has carried me hundreds of miles and to the tops of literal mountains. While I still have days when I struggle with my body image, I have stopped hiding and started working with the body I have. I wear what I want and don’t care who can see any scars or skin that I used to cover.

Getting most of my clothes second hand has made me enjoy finding unique pieces that no one else has (mostly because they’re straight from another decade). I love to imagine the story behind a piece of vintage clothing I score at a thrift store, thinking of all the places it’s been and people that have shared it. It’s a cool experience to add my own story to pieces of clothing and imagine passing it along to someone new one day. 

What are your short-term and long-term goals for hiking and outdoor adventuring?

This summer, I want to tackle King’s Peak in the Uintas, the tallest mountain in Utah. It’s a 25 mile trail with a hefty elevation gain, so I’m planning to spend the next few weeks hiking more strenuous trails to prepare. I also have plans to hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim this fall!

In the next few years, I would love to hike Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. I want to reach the top of Mount Whitney, which is the tallest peak in the contiguous United States. Before I’m 30, I want to take my first thru-hike and spend three weeks completing the John Muir Trail, a 214-mile trail from Sequoia National Park to Yosemite. My ultimate long-term hiking goal is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. The trail covers 2,650 miles through California, Oregon and Washington and takes anywhere from five to six months to complete. It would be an absolute dream for me to spend that amount of time hiking and exploring the deserts, mountains, valleys and forests along the trail. 

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