UPDATED: July 31st, 2018
Though regular length jeans are an easy wardrobe staple you can mix and match with anything, when it comes to wearing cut off jean shorts, if you’re no longer a lithe teenager, the rules become very different. Whenever you plan on wearing a denim short outfit it should always be carefully curated. If not, you might wind up looking like Daisy Duke’s trashy cousin in hot pants. While some fashion editors believe thirty-to-forty-something-moms should avoid that “all-American- cut-offs”altogether, others view them as the ageless summer versions of denim. In a Vogue interview with Denim Editor Kelly Connor, the advice was simple: “As with jeans, it’s important to find the length that is most flattering for your shape,” said Connor. “A longer or slimmer leg can pull off a longer short, while a more abbreviated style looks best on petit or curvy figures.”
The editors at Glamour suggest the inseams of your shorts should be at least two inches long. “A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to sit cross-legged without worrying about exposing anything.” Which means you should avoid channeling that famous Sharon Stone scene in Basic Instinct. Fashion experts agree that key to keeping denim shorts classy and age-appropriate for moms—who need to bend over and contort constantly— is the manner in which you style them. Whether you prefer a tailored look or a slouchier, boyfriend fit, longer shorts are always age-appropriate. For instance, since a longer short is less revealing, the top you wear with it can show a bit more skin and the shoe’s heel can be higher.