Cut-off Denim Shorts – I Love You!

There are some trends that jump right out at me and yell “Buy me! Wear me! NOW!” but a more sensible part of me stops and says “Whoa girl, think about this one for a while.” Cut off denim shorts are that kind of trend. You see I wore short-shorts back in the early 1990’s. The fashion police say if you have been around for the trend the first time, it’s not for you the second time. (Though I cannot find who first quoted it, making me think these fashion police might just be an urban legend.)

A couple years ago I saw a young, slim, leggy woman wearing wearing super short cut off jeans and thought she looked fabulous. Since then the short-short trend has grown in force and now it seems like all the chic girls are wearing them. I hate being left out, so I observed and took mental notes. At first I only wore my denim cut off shorts at home, then I tried them at the beach. Feeling more confident I decided to wear them out on errands. I felt like I was walking on air! There I was at 42 wearing shredded denim shorts like it was the most normal thing in the world.  Next step was to dress them up for a day out in the city, which I did this weekend.


How to Dress Up Cut Off Denim Shorts

Here are my thoughts on how to wear denim shorts so they look chic and sophisticated as opposed to looking like you raided your teenage daughter’s closet. (Though my pre-teen daughter shuns mini skirts and short-shorts. I’m so proud of her.)

Choose larger cut-offs.  Sloppy and loose is not normally my thing but I’ve noticed the coolest looking jean shorts are usually on the larger side. I might sound like an uptight old biddy but I think skin tight, super short shorts look good on very few women.

Pair your denim shorts with crisp classics borrowed from menswear.  Shorts-shorts are sexy, so balance the sexiness with something a bit more covered and masculine on top. Here I’ve paired my shorts with a stripe t-shirt and classic black denim jacket but I also love short-shorts worn with a tailored shirt or fitted blazer. If ever I find the right one, I’ll be wearing my cut-offs with a leather motorcycle jacket, because it just looks so darn cool.

Wear heels.  Heels add a bit of sophistication to an otherwise very casual garment, they also make your legs look longer.

Pile on the bling! If you’re wearing a casual pair of shorts with a simple top you’ll need something to make the look more exciting, so add a few bracelets, a statement necklace or both.

Accessorize with a chic handbag. If you’re just wearing your shorts while running errands this isn’t a necessity, but a trendy outfit is enhanced by a trendy purse.

All Photos by Hugo Fonseca.


  • Black Denim Jacket by Lee, my husbands.
  • T-shirt by Mossimo (Yeah, it’s from Target)
  • The shorts are old jeans from The Gap that I cut off myself.
  • Sandals by Kenneth Cole
  • Big Black Chanel Cuff with rhinestones, borrowed from my dear friend Ariane.
  • Leather Strap bracelet purchased at Loehmanns
  • Target (In these situations I pronounce it tar-jay) black cuff watch
  • Black engraved bangle by Bellissima via

What do you think of the cut off jeans trend?  Love it?  Hate it? Let me know in the comments!



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20 Responses to Cut-off Denim Shorts – I Love You!

  1. Arash Mazinani
    August 6, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    As a guy I can’t say I disprove of girls walking around in cut offs, unless they really don’t have the body for it.

    I think you’ve got great legs and you do right in showcasing them. But I loved everything you mentioned, pairing them with something masculine to tone down the ‘sexiness’ which is spot on.

    I think you have to be quite young and slim to pull off tight cut off shorts or ‘booty shorts’ as my friend seems to refer to them.
    Arash Mazinani recently posted..Dream Catcher: A Shot of InspirationMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 7, 2012 at 11:01 am #

      I can’t imagine a guy not liking the short-short trend! And the young girls do look cute in them. Thanks for all the nice compliments.

  2. anne aka SpyGirl
    August 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    You look awesome in your cut-offs.
    Back in the 70s (ahem) I cuffed mine. I still would, if I wore them, which is highly unlikely. (What if the trend has been around twice? Fashion JAIL?)
    anne aka SpyGirl recently posted..Saturday Night Replay for Day #OOTDMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 7, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      LOL! Fashion jail. I wonder where they’d put all of us old girls wearing inappropriate trends. No place nice I’m sure! Hugo is always trying to get me to cuff mine too, but I kind of like them all sloppy.

  3. Alexis Grace August 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    I love cutoffs! They are so good. And I absolutely agree that they can be dressed up- especially for LA style!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..Louis Vuitton Fall 2012 Ad CampaignMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 7, 2012 at 10:59 am #

      Thanks Alexis. You look amazing in cutoffs, and they are very L.A. It seems like I was the only woman NOT wearing them. Sometimes you just have to follow the pack I guess…

  4. Morganvsmorgan
    August 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Your tips for how to wear them are really good, and i sort of agree with you on the baggy-cutoffs being cooler front. Either way, they really suit you.
    Morganvsmorgan recently posted..Outfit Post: Head in the cloudsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 7, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      Thank you my dear! I’m sure you look great in cut-offs, but as one gets older one must be more cautious about fashion trends.

  5. DressCode:HighFashion
    August 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    OMG! It works and you`re totally pulling it off! Thank you so much for proving cut-off denim works beyond age 25!

    *Hugs*, Jen
    DressCode:HighFashion recently posted..Call Of The Wild: Wildcat Prints in Fall 2012 and How To Wear ThemMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 8, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      Thanks Jen! So glad you like the outfit!

    August 8, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    I actually wasn’t a huge fan of cut-offs until my adult years. I do love them with heels and accessories of course! I also like medium to darker denim like yours in the photos. They aren’t my goto style, but yes, I do appreciate them! You look chic in these! 🙂

    • Heather Fonseca August 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      Thanks so much! Glad you like my cut offs. It makes me feel very free to be able to wear them as an adult.

  7. Stacey - Total City Girl
    August 9, 2012 at 4:21 am #

    I cut a pair of my jeans this summer as well – only not that short!! Maybe I should go back and cut a little more. 🙂

    Love the shoes!!
    Stacey – Total City Girl recently posted..Chip Chat: Deep River NY Spicy Dill Pickle ChipsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      Cut! Cut! Or you can roll up. That works too.

  8. patricia
    August 9, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    If you got it flaunt it! Don’t let age get in the way. You have a knack for making stylish outfits that look runway read. As as always love the pictures! I made some time today to visit and say, love your articles! I’ll try to visit more often!

    Bye for now,


    • Heather Fonseca August 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      Thanks Patricia! It’s always great to see you here. And ditto to liking your blog too!

  9. Sylvia
    August 11, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    this look is very YOU. Love how you made it very chic and fantastic shoes!
    Sylvia recently posted..Impressions, styles and sites of the London Olympics (part 3)My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 11, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      Thanks Sylvia. Those shoes seem to be making their way on to my feet almost daily. They are great shoes! It’s amazing how a great shoe can make an outfit great.

  10. Jacqueline August 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    I definitely agree with the shorts looking cooler when they are baggy. It is so hard to find shorts like that though. I really like how you just cut off an old pair of jeans from the Gap. I have been looking all over for baggy shorts that are similar to the boyfriend jeans I love. I also think your legs look great and I like the styling of the shorts with the striped tee.

    • Heather Fonseca August 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

      Thank you so much Jacqueline! I’m glad you like the look. Cutting the jeans off was really easy. I just took a pair of sheers to them. But I would suggest if you try it yourself that you start long and then slowly cut shorter trying them on as you go. I went a bit too short on a different pair!