One of this year’s growing trends is definitely cut-off shorts and pants. It’s interesting to see that depending on how you wear them, they can be an alternative or a complement to the whole “cuff movement” we’ve been experiencing.
This tested and approved method has been around for ages (remember Axl Rose in his emblematic frayed denim shorts?), and it’s ready for a great comeback. They were usually associated with a rebel/badass conotation, but nowadays they can be spotted on renowned personalities and prepsters as a casual, more relaxed look with a twist.
First, you need to decide on what you’re going for: shorts or a slightly frayed hem on your jeans/chinos? After you make up your mind, all you need is the chosen pair of pants, a sharp pair of scissors, a marker and a spot on eye not to make irreversible mistakes (easier said than done though). The golden rule here is that you can always go shorter but never longer (there is no way to add fabric to the pants), meaning you should always make the first cut longer than your desired length and then slowly adjust it to your liking. This is especially true when going for shorts since it’s uncanilly easy to mess the whole process up.
This may be a breath of fresh air for your wardrobe and a great way to recycle items you no longer wear, be it because you’ve grown tired of them or they’re extremely beaten up. Plus, if your are in need of shorts and have a generous stock of pants, you’ll end up with a custom made pair and a few extra euros in your wallet. I must say I endorse cut-offs made from previously worn pants, but if you want you can always buy them new and then cut them (works great for scoring some nice slim chino shorts).
If you think the whole cut-off-frayed look is a bit too much for you, you just have to adjust it to your own style. Cut the pants and then simply roll up or have them hemmed or cuffed at your local tailor. If you choose to go with this look, just be sure to cut them a bit longer than what you desire so there’s enough fabric for your tailor to work with.
As I’ve mentioned, the usual choices for cut-offs are jeans and chinos as they’re the safest bet, but why not try other pants as well? Several great designers have presented pleated shorts recently, so why not try to make a pair out of pleated suit pants you happen to have around the house? Be creative and see where it leads you!
Top to bottom: Sid Mashburn wearing frayed Levis 501 (photo by F.Egan); Perfectly rolled up shorts (photo by The Sartorialist); Joshua Kissi from Streetetiquette in rolled up cut-offs from corduroy pants; Urban Outfitters cut-off denim shorts (photo from Bay Area Style).