Creating a pair of shorts from a cut-down pair of jeans is a transition that becomes many denim trousers that could be just a few months younger than that of the birth of jeans, such is the uncontrollable urge to take scissors to those denim garments once they have lost their shape. Whether a smart hem is added is down to amateur tailor involved or how long the maker has available, but as many hand-crafted jean shorts are just a last minute decision, the frayed edge is frequently the option taken; indeed it’s a common look that is now included in some purpose-made denim shorts, a call back to the hippy, relaxed look they encompass.
No matter if you are hand-cutting or purchasing new, length is the important choice when considering a pair of denims. And obviously, there are no hard and fast regulations (although there perhaps need to be). The ravers of the Nineties prefer their jean shorts down to the knee, but the bootylicious younger sets are much braver and wear them rather high. Seventies TV viewers will remember the Queen of denim shorts, Dukes of Hazard star, Daisy Duke, whose parents must have known she was going to really suit them when they gave her that name, in exactly the same manner as Messrs Wellington, Raglan and Stetson were named. Well it’s nice to think so. Whether you’re from the Catherine Bach or Jessica Simpson fan club, you’ll have to give in and say both are quite a stunning looks, if you can pull it off. Oddly it’s particularly suited to soaping up and hosing down cars, ideally in full public view, so that’s where you’ll see most cinematic exposures of the classic denim short.
It’s also worth noting that the Daisy Duke length is by far the minimum length of short anyone can decently get away with. Some have tried a thong style cut-down jean that is virtually guaranteed never to have a second life as something smaller, but will always garner many looks, not all admiring. You’ll probably already be imagining when is and is not a decent time to put these on; they are worn almost exclusively by people with an unwavering faith in the skill of sewing.
Add a tailored hem and a very casual garment turns into something slightly more formal, smoothing off the rough edges and extending the life expectancy of the shorts. And between the two there’s a simple turn-up, which with denim hardly requires a supporting stitch. The beauty of this look is that you don’t need to cut jeans down at all; you can roll up a full-length pair of jeans as long as you don’t plan to move, sit down or stand up in them. If you insist on minimum effort then a trim just above the knees will give you plenty of material for a triple rollover and enough support to be able to walk and move around without things dropping.