Can Denim Cutoffs Look Adult?

Imagine the scenario: It’s Monday afternoon. When you got dressed this morning you were absolutely sure — nay positive — that you would have a minute to go home and change before night fell. As fate and a typical Monday would have it, though, you’re moments away from sundown and in this bleary state of remaining day, you’re looking down at your crotch, considering the denim cutoffs you’ve ambitiously worn to work in an attempt (to the chagrin of no one, score!) to pass them off as office apropos.

You’ve been thinking about how in the good name of white slacks you are going to explain to the effusively fancy people you are supposed to meet north of 69th street, south of 87th street, that they have the wrong idea about denim. That they’re not juvenile. They’re not incapable of elegance. They can be classy. You can look polished.

Let me retell a story that never gets old. When I was 17 and my great-grandmother, 91 at the time — may she rest in peace — was in the hospital with pneumonia, I went to visit. And when I went to visit, I sat down beside her, held her by the hand and from under her eyelid emerged the singular glare of her left eye. She looked down at the ripped denim shorts that I was wearing — these ones, as a matter of fact:


Jacket is a secret, coming soon. Vintage Levi’s denim shortsChloé blouse, Topshop sparkle socks, Chanel clogs (similar here)

She said nothing but, “Darling, I know we’re in a recession, but surely your father can afford to buy you shorts without holes in them.” She fell back asleep and that was that.

Well, not that that; she did not die until the impressive, seasoned age of 98 when she had just won $41 at a slot machine at Mohegan Sun. But I digress — my point is this: I am committed to making sure that the stereotype associated with denim cutoffs — that you’re a youth, that you live downtown, that your shit is not at all together — shall be debunked if it is the last thing I do before my slot machine comes a-ringing.

And I’ll start right here, with a cropped tweed jacket (Marc Jacobs, Yoox), a pussy bow blouse (Thakoon) and a pair of pumps (Carolina Herrera) that have been loosely inspired by the Mayflower but still gallivant among graceful toes to the beat of their own cello.

Stay tuned.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.

Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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