4 Shorts for Summer If You Hate Denim Cut-Offs

For a long while, my shorts collection consisted primarily of denim booty shorts. Some were stretchy, some were not, some were darkwarsh, some were light. But they all have had one thing in common: their frustrating tendency to force my thighs to rub together.

Although I’ve heard Megababe’s Thigh Rescue can cure the discomfort that micro jorts can cause, the reality is they’ve become increasingly uninspiring to me. I can’t remember the last time that I saw a pair of classic, denim booty shorts and felt overwhelmed by desire to style them, let alone gave them a second look.

This is the first summer in which I don’t have a single pair in my closet and I haven’t missed them yet. With new and chafe-proof editions in my possession, I’m starting to think that denim short shorts long overstayed their welcome atop my summer wardrobe essentials list.

If you’ve been feeling the same, scroll for some alternative inspiration.

1. Bike Shorts

You may have noticed that I wore a pair of bike shorts in our most recent round of Office Apropos and perhaps even here and here on my Instagram. I’m obsessed with them. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Bike shorts are summer leggings. How can you beat an elastic waistband?  

This outfit ended up looking more 80s-literal than I bargained for, but I think there’s something charming about it. I enjoyed creating a luxury-functional dynamic by amping up the bike shorts and plain long sleeve T-shirt with the earrings and skinny shades.

2. Sweat shorts

I was delighted when I came across this summertime version of a sweatsuit because I consider co-ords to be the most satisfying approach to dressing: low effort, high impact. In order to avoid looking too casual though, I accessorized with gold and pearl jewelry, rectangular tortoise shell sunglasses, and a dainty baguette purse. As a result, I ended up somewhere between Soho hypebeast and country club mom and I couldn’t be happier about it.

3. Cargo shorts

I’ve been meaning to buy a pair of cargo pants since last fall, but in the blink of an eye, pants weather has come and (more or less) gone, so cargo shorts seemed to be the next best option. I’m proud to say that I now see why they’ve been a favored clothing item for young boys and grandpas alike since the beginning of time. Cargo shorts straddle the line between being utilitarian — their plentiful pockets apt for carrying tools or a Metrocard and lipgloss — and breezy, like the menswear equivalent of a muumuu.

Pairing these shorts with an ultra-feminine top offered my look a fun contrast. Strangely enough, I find corset-style tops to provide comfort in the sense that my torso is all wrapped up and snug, no bra-adjusting or shirt-tucking necessary. Also, I thought adding space-age sunglasses and an optically ripe purse were the perfect way to incorporate some color.

4. Bermuda jorts

Thank the heavens for Bermuda-length jorts; they take up the perfect amount of leg real estate for me to style them with the same vigor that I would afford my favorite pair of jeans. While the booty-shorts-wearing version of me would have relegated herself to a nondescript T-shirt and unremarkable sandals, the Bermuda-shorts-wearing version of me opted for a striped top that would have sparked envy in Picasso and monochromatic espadrilles. I also recruited some of my favorite accessory friends, macro earrings and micro bags, to keep me company.

What do you think? Are you dusting off your denim cut-offs or preparing to join me on this lengthy journey? I won’t hold your answer against you.

Photos by Edith Young.

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