As far as summer style staples go, denim shorts take the cake in terms of versatility and zero-effort dressing (AKA they’re a lazy girl style essential). Tees, tanks and chic throw-on-and-go sandals all pair perfectly with your favorite off-duty pieces. That said, they don’t exactly scream sophisticated, which practically eliminates your tried-and-true cutoffs from the equation in favor of non-denim shorts when you’re in need of an outfit with a bit of extra oomph. But that doesn’t mean you need to retire your fave bottoms to the back of the closet. When paired with some of your dressier duds and accessories, your denim shorts start to take on a whole new vibe — one that’s more adult and refined. Fancy. Below, we’re showing you five different ways to up the ante on this classic summertime piece so you can get even more wear out of your can’t-live-with-out-‘em cutoffs this season. Keep scrolling for some game-changing outfit inspo.
How to Style Denim Shorts With a Tie-Front Shirt
Take your cutoffs straight into ladylike territory with pieces that exude feminine elegance with a modern twist. A structured blouse and satchel immediately balance out the bottoms’ low-key vibe, while a sleek bronze bracelet and suede t-strap heels deliver plenty of RN appeal for a look that’s ready to take on seaside luncheons and casual outdoor soirees.
How to Style Denim Shorts With a Tailored Jacket
Throwback style isn’t all suede lace-up shorts and fringe-flecked crochet frocks. This ready-for-anything ensemble strikes just the right balance of ‘70s chic and modern minimalism. The clean lines of a jacquard jacket bring an element of polish to your off-duty look, while a lace-up top serves as the piece that ties the two opposing aesthetics together.
Re/Done The Short (waitlisted at $172) + C/meo Collective A Little Soul Shirt in Navy ($140), Mango Jacquard Cotton Jacket ($120), Mounser Lunar Asymmetric Earrings in Gold ($195), Coqueterra Sanne Heels ($178)
How to Style Denim Shorts With a Mock-Neck Top
Mock neck tops have a way of making even the most understated duds feel incredibly sophisticated in seconds, including denim shorts. For a night out on the town look that doesn’t require an LBD, tuck one into a pair of cutoffs, then style alongside glitzy chandelier earrings, a bright shoulder bag and modern cutout boots for a dressed-down dressed-up look that will take the dance floor or that rooftop terrace by storm. Need an extra layer? Team it with a leather jacket or a black boyfriend blazer.
Re/Done The Short (waitlisted at $172) + Theory Wendel Stretch-Jersey Turtleneck Top ($130), Zara Leather Boot-Style Sandals ($100), Lionette by Noa Sadé Bahia Earrings ($438), Cuyana Convertible Clutch ($250)
How to Style Denim Shorts With a Collared Shirt and Gilet
Press reset on your tee-and-cutoffs routine by swapping in a button-down shirt and luxe leather gilet for an afternoon of running errands. Round out your girl-boss-on-the-go getup with a neatly knotted scarf, statement ear jackets and a bucket bag. Bonus points for a messy topknot and dramatic lipstick that lend a note of French-girl flair.
Re/Done The Short (waitlisted at $172) + J.Crew Short-Sleeve Popover Shirt ($78), Mango Leather Gilet ($130), Quay Australia Tell Me Why Sunglasses ($55), Need Supply Co. Floral Handkerchief Scarf ($22)
How to Style Denim Shorts With a Flowy Blouse
A bright, airy blouse is all you need to inject a bit of panache into an average pair of denim shorts. The swingy silhouette and knotted detail on this golden beauty easily achieve the lady-about-town swagger you’re after, with a pendant collar necklace, modern gladiator sandals and a saddle bag lending a touch of boho polish to the look.
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