The trendy but hard-to-wear denim shorts – unless you follow Amanda Wakeley’s clever advice
The sunset drinks over an uninhabited Greek island and I sit in the evening glow wearing cut-off denim shorts.
It might have something to do with the Mediterranean vibe – or the delicious local wine – but the feeling of liberation is sublime.
With daylight fading, we return to port and an evening meal where, as I raise my second glass, I find myself laughing at the thought that my younger self would have been far too judgmental to sit dinner in something as casual as denim shorts.
Denim cuts are definitely having a celebrity moment in the sun this summer and not just among teens, models and pop stars, who let’s face it, can get away with wearing just about anything. From Zara Tindall to Carrie Johnson, women around the world are daring to strip down to denim. So how do you find the style that’s right for you?
Left: top, £120, Wyselondon. com; shorts, £25, marksand spencer.com; sandals, £49.99, zara. com. Right: leather jacket, £449, baukjen. com; shorts, £9, river island.com; heels, £225, russelland bromley. co.uk
When choosing what to wear, I always start with ‘How do I want to feel?’ For me, there’s something incredibly liberating about wearing cut-off jeans. Somehow I feel young and so carefree.
So my rallying cry is: Girls (yes, we’re still girls at heart), in all of humanity, we’ve never looked better for our age.
Top, £120, wyselondon.com; shorts, £25, marksandspencer.com; sandals, £49.99, zara.com
So take a long look in the mirror, congratulate yourself, appreciate who you are, and stop worrying about what others or society may think.
Next comes a quick check-in with your personal style DNA. I mean by that, who am I sartorially speaking? For example Boho Ibiza (think Kate Moss) or maybe Effortless Chic (think Elle Macpherson)? I’m a big fan of yearning for the Effortless Chic vibe.
Blouse, hire from £33.60, hirestreetuk. com; shorts, £12, newlook. com; sandals, £35, brands and spencer. com
Here are some pointers on how you can achieve this, as there are a plethora of styling options for all body types.
A great way to start is to focus on your strengths – if you’re happy to show off more of your legs in a pair of slim, figure-hugging cuts, try adding an oversized shirt or top. I love contrasting textures and proportions, so for me a fluid, oversized silk shirt with rolled up sleeves is an answer.
If you want to elongate your legs and cinch your waist, you might prefer a high-waisted flare proportion (definitely easier on the upper thigh) and pair it with a neat T-shirt bodysuit or even a swimsuit. elegant one-piece bath.
Throw a beltless kimono over the top for effortless arm and upper leg coverage. Earlier this summer I noticed the market in St Tropez was full of them and they added a wonderful bohemian nonchalance.
Sweater, £17.50, m&s; shorts, £25.99, zara. com; sandals, £89, mintvelvet.co.uk
If you prefer more leg coverage but still want the cut vibe, there are great denim bermuda shorts… still cool and unexpectedly lengthening the legs.
Also, if your favorite denim cuts are very distressed (mine are), elevate the look by keeping everything else more polished, so maybe leave your well-worn rock band t-shirt for another time, otherwise you might end up looking scruffy. I hate to say it, but scruffy can get old.
Adding a fashionable belt can elevate your cuts and it doesn’t need to with a designer logo.
A durable and more personal alternative is to pull an old silk scarf through the belt loops or raid your husband/partner’s closet for a belt. If that proves unpopular (or the wrong size), look for men’s belts at charity stores. If you wear belts lower on your hips, you may need a longer belt than usual.
Blouse, £109, Baukjen Annika blouse; shorts, £25.99, zara. com; sandals, £89, mintvelvet.co.uk
In terms of other accessories, a straw hat – wide brimmed or a trilby – can be transformative and will make beach hair a little less scruffy and a whole lot cooler… For jewelry, I always like a men’s watch oversized and never more so than with this look.
As for shoes, I’d go for a flat sandal…whether chunky or of the ancient Greek variety, but wedges fall into the too difficult category for me at least.
I love adding a durability style hack. Old jeans that still look great on your butt but the leg shape no longer works, but that you love too much to throw away because you think they might work again? They probably won’t.
Why not do your part for the environment and reuse them? Take safety pins and mark the longest point you would like them to be (remembering that you can always cut more, and they will lose length when cut and once they are washed and suitably shredded).
Top, £69, uk.saintjames.com; shorts, £7, riverisland. com; sandals, £125, lbbennett. com
Cut them with sharp scissors and double check the length before tossing them in the wash and dryer to fray the bottom. If you find they are too tight, cut the side seam a few inches to make the fit easier.
Alternatively, cut them longer and simply roll them to the most flattering length. Between you and me, I’ve never bought denominations. I have always reused my favorite old jeans. Much more satisfying in every way.
Remember that denim cuts shouldn’t be worn only in summer – I plan to wear my black denim shorts well into winter with chunky tights, chunky boots, a trendy belt and an oversized cashmere turtleneck this fall.
I think we’ll be seeing a lot more shorts of all varieties this winter. I can even cut up old leather pants.
Blazer, rent from £30, streetuk rental. com; shorts, £25.99, zara.com
And finally, own the look. If you like it, throw your shoulders back, lift your butt and walk tall and proud. Remember, good posture is one of the best things we have in our ageless toolbox.
If you’re uncomfortable with something, it shows. So before you leave the house, take a look in the mirror and think about how you will feel wearing this style.
In my head and my heart I am ageless. Anyway written on my passport.