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Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

Making jorts work for you



Today I walked to lunch in a black blazer and black pants, and as the sun beat down on the pavement like a cruel mistress, I thought to myself, "Wow, Florida is really too hot for clothes. There has to be another way. Jorts? Maybe jorts?"

Then this afternoon, this appropriate reader question arrived:

"I am very confused. I grew up in Florida and I always wore jean shorts. And apparently they're a topic of mockery everywhere else in the country? So I move back here and I'm confused on where I stand, as an adult. Can I wear jorts? Because I do. But tasteful, dark ones. Anyway, I need some authority on this."

Ah, jorts. So comically short, so easy to tease, so Andre Agassi at the Tournament of Champions. But really, they're a comfortable staple in warm weather, and they don't HAVE to be offensive. If you exercise denim responsibly, your jorts can decorate the tops of your legs all summer long. (But let's agree to still wear pants to work.)

Our tips:

INSEAMS ARE FRIENDS: Inseam refresher. It's the personal area on the pants that goes from centermost private region to bottom of leg. Nowadays, you can find shorts inseams in lengths ranging from "Bermuda" to "thong." For adult ladies with jobs and bills and slowing metabolisms, we suggest an inseam that is at least longer than your longest finger. Three and a half to 5 inches is a good, respectable length that looks modern but won't scandalize your grandmother.

WAIST NOT: Listen, we know the hipster shorts with the 9-inch rise soaring all the way up to your armpits are popular right now, especially at Coachella and on college campuses. But please believe this is a fad, a fad that makes your abdomen look like a regulation football. Opt for a nice mid-rise, nothing too high and nothing so low it will betray your Underoos. Try something that falls an inch below the belly button.

SHOW YOUR COLORS: Jorts are fun! Jorts are versatile! And while our reader's instinct to go with a dark wash denim is right on track, you can also find jorts in many refreshing colors that take some of the, you know, jortyness out of the look. Denim on denim is a do when you're rocking purple jorts and chambray, you dig?

CUT IT OFF: I got really into making denim cut-offs in the 1990s, which I think was my subconscious preparing me for the life-changing moment when Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake stepped out on the town in MATCHING DENIM FORMALWEAR. Anyway, I always thought it was a great use for old jeans past their prime, and you know what? I still do. Cut-offs have a laissez-faire comfort and a certain fashion edge, especially when juxtaposed with something crisp like a button-down shirt. Just stay trimmed on the hem and careful about that inseam -- it's going to rise a little with each wash, and you don't want to look like Britney during the Kevin Federline years. Or maybe you do, I don't know your life.

MALE JORTS PARADE: Really, dudes have the hardest time of all pulling off jorts. I mean, when there's an entire Bud Light Real Men of Genius commercial dedicated to it, you know it's trouble. A casual survey of male office mates yieled results of, "Yeah, I wore jorts once, but it was at a jorts-themed party mocking jorts." Our best advice for guys is to keep it simple, no hammer-hanging carpenter loops, cuffs, pleats or strange whiskering across the thighs. And for the love of Jort, God of Jorts, take it all the way to the knee, fellas.

Check the slideshow above for a few of our favorite jorts on the market this season from Old Navy, Gap and Target. And please, share your own jorts tips/horror stories/cautionary tales in the comments below!

[Last modified: Friday, June 21, 2013 4:43pm]


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