I rarely wear shorts. And lately I’ve been wondering if maybe I’ve aged out of wearing shorts altogether. At least in public.
Mostly I find shorts too short, too baggy, too bulky around my already bulky middle, too tight in the waist, and when they do fit me in the waist, they are hugely baggy in the butt and hips. In short, shorts have never really worked with my body type. I wore them in my younger days a lot because, well, I was younger. But, I’ve never really liked shorts on me. Except for the cutoffs we used to wear in the seventies, and my old standby bike shorts.
In fact, I’ve been thinking about bike shorts a lot recently. They’re a big trend this season, and I’ve been seeing them all over Pinterest. I virtually live in bike shorts in the summer… when I’m at home. Not my real cycling shorts, I save those for when I’m riding my bike. I mean longish, stretchy, pull-on shorts. I wear them for walking, and working out, and doing housework. When we’re camping, I wear them with a long tee, or a sweatshirt. And I wore them to the gym, when I belonged to a gym, for years and years. It’s the one and only thing I had in common with Princess Diana; we dressed the same when we went to the gym. Big sweatshirts, long tees, and bike shorts. Yep. Me and Diana, we were style sisters.
But other than that, I rarely even think about wearing shorts. In public. Then I saw all those images on Pinterest of women wearing bike shorts as street wear. Maybe that was the answer. Maybe my favourite old shorts could keep me in the shorts game for another year. I could always age out of shorts next year.
So, inspired by the looks I found on Pinterest, I tried wearing my black bike shorts with a long structured jacket and a tee shirt. And either my good sneakers or flat sandals. Ha. Not all outfit visions pass the reality test, my friends. My old shorts looked exactly like what they are… my gym shorts. And they didn’t work, at least on me, with more formal street wear. I just felt silly. This was definitely a trend I could NOT pull off.
I love the comfort and ease of a bike short with a long, baggy tee shirt or sweatshirt. But, only in the privacy of my own home, or campsite. Or at the gym when we’re not supposed to worry what we look like, only how much we sweat. There has been too much water under the bridge, folks, and too many bodily changes over the years for me to revisit wearing tight, flimsy bike shorts. At least in public.
Bu-ut. If I had a pair of real shorts with a waist and a zip. But which fit my leg like bike shorts: long, and narrow through the hip and thigh. And fit my middle like a pair of high-rise jeans. In a fabric that didn’t show every bump, and bubble. Then I might give shorts another try. They’d be a cross between the cut-offs we used to love in the seventies (except twice as long) and bike shorts.
Actually this train of fashion logic occurred to me a couple of weeks ago when I wrote a post about white jeans. If I have jeans I love but don’t wear, why not turn them into shorts? I had a couple of pairs of white jeans tucked away, on “stand-by”, as in I wasn’t wearing them, but wasn’t ready to get rid of them. Emboldened by my earlier experience with DIY jeans, when I cut off a pair of old Hudson jeans and breathed new life into them, I thought I’d chance my luck with the scissors again. And it was, I think, mostly successful.
I pulled on the jeans, marked the spot where I wanted to cut, measured both legs, and proceeded to cut. I think I may have been in a bit of a hurry. They perhaps should have been an inch longer. But, overall I’m happy with how these old NYDJ white jeans look as shorts. They’re narrow through the hip and thigh, like a bike short. But they’re not tight like bike shorts. And they’re also not bulky through the middle. In short, they’re shorts that fit like jeans. Because they are jeans. D’uh. Why didn’t I think of this before?
I styled my new shorts with a tee shirt, structured jacket, and flat sandals or sneakers. I like them with my Vince sleeveless tee and Theory white “Eco-crunch” jacket. But I was even happier with how they looked with my old, tan, linen safari jacket from Max Mara. I love tan and white together. This jacket has been hanging in my closet since the nineties. Another one of those “still fits, but can’t bear to part with it, maybe one day I’ll wear it again” pieces. And so it came to pass.
But, you know, I think the most successful look was with my A.L.C. striped tee, my old navy Max Mara suit jacket, and my white sneakers. Very nautical looking. In fact, I might possibly resemble Mrs. Thurston Howell III from Gilligan’s Island in this outfit. But let’s not go there.
So. I’m pretty happy. New white shorts from old white jeans. And no money spent in this endeavour.
Now, let’s spend a few minutes addressing the elephant in the room, shall we? Wearing shorts at age sixty-three. At my age, have I aged out of shorts? I have to admit that I stole that phrasing from Lisa over at Privilege. She wrote a post a few years ago about aging out of shorts. From a distance my legs look much as they ever did. Not bad, knobby knees aside. But close up is a whole other matter. I’m starting to get cellulite on my thighs. Ickk. I have a few veiny bits, that weren’t veiny before. And despite all that time on the walking trail and on my bike, I don’t have, and won’t be getting, a tan. So, to sum up: old, skinny, white legs with knobby knees, cellulite and a few veins. Just writing that I’m starting to have second thoughts about wearing shorts.
Of course, there are alternatives for summer dressing. Dresses for one. Or long skirts. Or cropped pants. I wear all of those. But I’m kind of entranced this year with the idea of casual shorts with a conservative looking jacket. Plus I’m trying to embrace the “good enough” ethic. So, I’m going to give this look a try. The final test for me is how I feel when I actually wear an outfit. Somewhere that is not my backyard.
I may end up wearing these shorts somewhere and immediately upon arrival look down at my legs and think, “What the hell was I thinking?” Or I may arrive and feel marvelous in my cut-off-white-denim-bike-ish shorts. Until then, whether or not I’ve actually aged out of shorts remains a mystery. I’ll let you know how things turn out.
How about you, my friends? Are you a shorts person? Or a bike shorts person? Or have you shunned shorts altogether save for when you are at the gym?
Some links on this post are affiliate links. If you purchase an item after clicking through on my link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.