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How I Learnt To Embrace Short-Shorts

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Photo: Getty
Out of all the summer sartorial nightmares that the warmer weather brings (underarm sweat patches, hoof feet-flaunting sandals) nothing used to make me go cold like the idea of putting on a pair of shorts. And I mean short shorts, because, really, what other type are there right now? You know the ones I mean: frayed jean cut-offs favoured by every off-duty model and It girl of note.

Wearing short shorts is really putting yourself out there. Sure, you might be flashing more flesh in a bikini on the beach but, then, everyone is equally exposed there. Hitting the high street in a band of denim takes guts. And you should give it a go.

This look – so high on the thigh that the pocket lining hangs out the bottom – has been around for a few years now. But if this year's Coachella is anything to go by, it ain’t going anywhere for summer 2016. UK festivals will once again be invaded by girls wearing shorts that they probably wouldn’t have to take off for a wax. There are more bottoms than at an A Midsummer Night’s Dream appreciation convention.

I used to not go near hotpants. Crippled by fear of wobbling thighs and cellulite – something I’ve literally carried with me since puberty – I was a slave to short dresses from June to September (well, y’know, when the mercury actually rose enough to barbecue outside anyway.) But dresses in the summer can be annoying. They fly up Marilyn-Monroe style with the smallest hint of a breeze and you flash everyone your underwear every time you sit on the floor (and we go out of our way to sit on various floors in the summer; an Australian friend remarked to me the Brits’ fondness for plopping ourselves down on filthy pavements as long as the weather was permitting.)

And then, one day, I went to the park. There was a group of twenty-something women, of all shapes and sizes, rocking Daisy Dukes. Some were large, others petite, but they all had one thing in common: they were having a fucking great time. Rolling around on the floor (shorts are perfect for parklife, after all), drinking, making jokes. The bigger girls couldn’t care less that they were filling out their shorts more than their smaller friends. And they all, equally, looked wonderful. Because: confidence.

So I thought to hell with it. I wanted to look like these girls, freed from the forced primness of the summer dress. I stopped thinking about my thighs and bought my first pair, some Levi’s 501 cut-offs, a week later. Going out for the first time, one sunny Saturday afternoon, was slightly disconcerting. First of all, as I walked along, they rode up way more than when I was posing in front of the mirror at home. I caught my reflection in a shop window and there I was, flashing more thigh, in the city, than I ever had before. There were looks. But then a gust of wind came along and while other women grabbed onto their flimsy cotton dresses, I carried on. My shorts were short but they weren’t going to let me down in the breeze. And I just. Stopped. Caring.

Short shorts obviously aren’t for everyone. Body confidence aside, some people wouldn’t be seen dead in them for fashion reasons. But I urge women who want to try them out, but are too afraid because of a bit of cellulite, to give them a shot. You don’t need the right top or trainers to wear with them; all you need is a bit of confidence. Find me this summer in a beer garden, thighs spread out on a pub bench like two legs of lamb. Not giving a shit.
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