After a Decade of Searching, I Found the Perfect Denim Cutoffs


THE EDITOR Director of branded editorial strategy Leah Melby Clinton

THE LOVE Madewell The Perfect Shorts, $50 on sale


It might be (probably is) the Florida girl in me, but I don’t think you ever age out of jean shorts. However, the persistent problem, from college-era me to now, has been finding the just-right pair. There’s a Goldilocks conundrum going on for sure: They can’t be too short or too long; too frayed or not at all. I have an exacting lists of musts (or must-nots) from no cuffs to no fake-looking fraying to no pockets that hang out. After true, dedicated shopping and trying, I finally found the perfect pair last summer.

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These Madewell shorts have every element I’ve dreamt of finding in vintage Levi’s or a homemade pair that stylish women are always insisting they made (“I just cut the legs off a pair of old jeans—I know, they’re sooooo good, right?”). The inseam isn’t micro—I don’t think denim hot pants are ever the answer, especially not when you want to wear them errand-running and weekend-winning in your ’30s—but it also isn’t too long. Knee-long denim officially enters jorts territory and is not a good look. The length and wider leg keeps them from hugging your thighs and riding up: My other gripe is cutoffs that look good standing, but start to creep up up up the minute you take a step.

In short, my eternal quest ended the moment I found this pair. Without a doubt, if I was headed to a desert island and forced to pack a single outfit, these would be included.


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