Anything in denim can be miscast as an enduring classic at the height of its fashion moment. Look back on all the supposedly ‘timeless’ jeans styles we’ve embraced and abandoned, and you’ll realise that denim’s greatest hits date with whiplash speed. But whilst some denim trends bewilder us with their rapid reversals of fortune – I’m looking at you, double-denim – others seem to have no saturation point.
The perennial appeal of cut-offs
Our dedication to denim shorts defies reason. They flirt so shamelessly with bad taste that they’re perpetually in danger of tipping over into fashion fail. Yet they persist. And we’ll stay faithful for a long time yet – simply because denim shorts are such a key component of the grown-up dress-up box. Fashion is, after all, all about make-believe. Pull on a pair of cut-offs and you’re halfway to evoking your bad girl alter ego. Admittedly, some (Rihanna) perform this trick more convincingly than others (Kylie Minogue springs to mind).
Denim shorts are so freewheeling that they can sit comfortably anywhere on the spectrum from temptress to tomboy. They’re a little bit Lana del Rey one day. The next, they’re all-American wholesome, à la Miley Cyrus.
Ditch the Daisy Dukes
The shortest, tightest – and trashiest – incarnations of denim shorts are named for Daisy Duke, Catherine Bach’s character in The Dukes of Hazzard. When you recall that Jessica Simpson stepped into Daisy’s shorts for the 2005 film of the TV series, you’ll get the picture.
But you don’t have to swear off tight and short to avoid recreating that cliché. Wear whatever style of shorts you like. Just do it whilst channelling cut-off denim’s greatest exponents. Think Jane Birkin in 1969, mid-80s Madonna or Kate Moss at any old time.
Wear them your way
Like the fashion originals who’ve championed them, denim shorts are confoundingly diverse. They go from daring to demure as they drop in length from hot pants to knee-length turn-ups.
Denim shorts also summon a bewildering array of eras. Bring back the 80’s with rips and frayed edges, or turn to something high-waisted and tailored for a more refined vintage feel. Bright coloured and white denim creates a fresh resort vibe, whilst cut-offs paired with pretty blouses suit summer’s lazy days. Even away from the sun, it’s hard to go past denim shorts – just pop them over pair of black opaque tights. No wonder we never tire of them.