We are living in a time where jean shorts are no longer itty-bitty, and flirty cheek-revealing Daisy Dukes are things of yore. Instead, in this humid world, the shorts du jour are jorts: stretching out like Gumby and hitting between the lower half of the thigh and just past the knee. At times, their languid cut reminds me of the sophisticated Giorgio Armani men’s shorts silhouette—long, wide, and artfully, ever-so-slightly flared. Yet, that polished and elegant shape is offset by the gruff sturdiness of that all-American, Eminem-core denim. Still, they’re everywhere.
Once you’ve seen a jorts, you can’t forget it. It burrows into your brain and most likely your closet. Google trends also can’t unsee it: This summer, there has been a spike in the search term. While walking through Brooklyn recently, I spotted a trio of super stylish young women, one of whom, a student named Reina, was wearing jorts. “I didn’t have any shorts so I cut my jeans because we are living the thrifty lifestyle,” she said, pointing to her friend. “They were her pants and they didn’t fit for years!” Reina’s styling of the jorts was intentional. She paired them with kicky red cowboy boots and a classic white tank top. She isn’t the only one drawn to this combo. Nicky, a gallery assistant on the Upper East Side, swears by jorts and cowboy boots. “If you’re willing to sever ties with the beloved light-wash Levi’s, you can find some great vintage deals online,” she says, adding that the dark-wash pair she wears are vintage Norman Todd.
When I asked the question “Who’s wearing jorts?” on my Instagram, I received hundreds–yes, hundreds!—of answers from avid jorts wearers like models Paloma Elsesser and Salem Mitchell, stylist Miyako Bellizzi, vintage-enthusiast Clara Perlmutter, designer Favour Mberu, and countless fashion editors. Most wear the style because it’s breathable and comfortable. “I love the bigger, baggy fit. They’re roomy and so much more comfy than tight jean shorts,” says Naomi Abrahams, a Ph.D. student. “Also, I really like the tourist dad look, especially with the Tevas.”
Jorts are everywhere on the runway as well. At Gucci Resort 2023, they were bedazzled and paired with a button-up, a black jacket, and black boots. For Max Mara pre-fall 2022, a dark-wash iteration was paired with a button-up and a light jacket. Ann Demeulemeester, Coach, Louis Vuitton, and denim maestro Ksenia Schnaider all showed jorts for spring 2022. The spring 2023 runways were ridden with them too.
There is an art to styling the airy-leg shorts. The aesthetic doesn’t have to be Sandlercore baggy layers—though you can do that! Instead, it’s about balance. It’s about intention. Editor Lauren McCarthy notes that she “supports jorts in all forms” but adds that she’s about a “small top and a baggy bottom.” Lisa Lingenti, the owner of Paris’s Nuovo, a vintage shop in the Marais, prefers to wear them with corsets when going out for the night. Ultimately, the tight top and loose-and-long shorts look stellar one that calls to mind a refined Slim Shady. In other words, buckle up into your jorts—it will be a breezy summer.
Let your denim jorts journey begin, below.
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