Who likes short shorts?

If there’s one trend that’s not going anywhere in a hurry, it’s the cut-off short. At the start of summer I was walking around declaring to anyone who would listen that denim shorts are ‘definitely over’, but you only have to look at the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Alexa Chung or Alessandra Ambrosio to see just how wrong I was. Granted, culottes are certainly having a moment, but the cut-off short, made famous by Brigitte Bardot and Daisy Duke in the early 1980s, is here to stay. Balmain, Isabel Marant, J Brand and Siwy all seem to think so too…

This, however, can be dangerous territory. The cut-off short has been around for over 25 years, and as such, it’s more than capable of looking a little tired and unimaginative. If you’re not careful, it’s also easy to border on the cheap/tacky side of things; you only have to look at pictures of Victoria Beckham during her infamous Baden Baden days to see what I mean. If, however, you manage to get it right, the cut-off short will be invaluable to you this summer (I now officially live in mine). With this in mind, here are my top tips for how to work this important trend this season.

The Cut

The shorter the better really. You don’t want your cut-offs to ‘cut you off’ which is what will happen if you’re getting anywhere close to the knee. And besides, the whole point of this trend is to be daring. ‘My shorts are shorter than your shorts’?! That’s the spirit!

Don’t go for a neat hemmed-edge – they’re called cut-offs for a reason (not to mention it’s just dull). Having said that, beware of having too many long-hanging strands, which looks messy and weird.

Don’t be afraid of allowing a bit of pocket to show through at the bottom, but once again, everything in moderation… This needs to be subtle to work.

The Colour

Blue denim = boring. If you want to avoid being stuck in the dreaded cut-off rut then you need to explore some other colours. White denim is ideal, as are the pastel colours (especially pink) seen at Isabel Marant and Zadig & Voltaire.

The Top

Go for something relatively loose. Your boyfriend’s plaid shirt, a Petit Bateau breton-striped top (long sleeves, rolled-up) or an American Vintage pale grey t-shirt (again – long sleeves, rolled-up) work particularly well with white cut-offs. Stick to white if you’ve opted for colour with the shorts. Take your look into the evening by throwing your favourite jacket on over the top.

The Shoes

Converse look great, but if you feel you need a bit of leg-lengthening then go for this season’s clunky wedge sandals.

DIY

I, for one, would love to sport Isabel Marant’s pastel pink answer to this trend, but at over £150 a pair, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Luckily, this is one of those trends that lends itself to being replicated at home on a shoe-string budget! All that you need is a pair of jeans you no longer wear, and some scissors!

IMPORTANT – avoid skinny jeans at all costs. Shorts made from skinny jeans will cling to your legs like a second skin, and you could well end up with the dreaded reverse muffin top of the thigh (definition – a bulge of flesh at the point that your leg exits the bottom of the cut-off…need I say more?)

Apart from that, you can’t really go wrong, although for extra brownie points, the more battered and faded the jean, the better.