25 denim shorts that won’t make you look like a 21 year old at a music festival

Denim Shorts Andrea Michelle Fox in Flats

By Andrea Michelle

Summer ’93 Iggy Pop and Sonic Youth were headlining The Big Day Out. It was a steaming hot day in my home-town Adelaide when I jumped into my boyfriend’s car ready to hit the music festival wearing my favourite denim shorts. And despite the fact that they didn’t show anything remotely resembling a curve of butt-cheek like the ones often worn by 21 year olds today, he raised his eyebrow with disapproval at the length of them.

Unwilling to be dictated about my fashion choices by a man even at that age, I shrugged, told him to get over it and “Gas it!” to The BDO before The Clouds hit the stage.

And while my love affair with him didn’t last much longer, two decades later my love affair with denim shorts is still going strong.

One in three women* say shorts form the base for their summer wardrobes – and I’m certainly one of them. From being able to sit cross-legged on the grass at a picnic to kicking a ball with my boys, it’s all that much easier in shorts. And blue denim shorts are my particular staple because they’re durable and manage to look clean regardless of the action that’s taken place that day.

But finding a pair that don’t make you look like you’re about to push into a mosh pit and/or that cover your butt-cheeks adequately can be a bit of a challenge. So I’ve done the legwork for you:

 

Shopping Tips:

  • A looser boyfriend cut is more forgiving on your thighs when you sit down – you don’t want your denim shorts to be cutting into your legs because a) it’ll hurt, and b) it’ll make them look chunky (even though they probably aren’t).
  • High-waisted denim shorts are great for ensuring you don’t accidentally flash more than you’d like when you bend over, plumber-style.
  • Cuffs add instant polish to denim shorts, which can then make an easy day-to-night transition simply by adding heels and something sparkly up top (like the Trelise Cooper top in my pics above).
  • Cut-offs have a breezy nonchalance about them that’s perfect for lazy summer days. And don’t be afraid to DIY your own – my all-time favourite denim shorts were made out of an old pair of Levis. Just be sure to trim them back gradually until you reach the length that best flatters your legs.

 

For styling tips, check out this post from last summer.

 

And as for music festivals? It’s been years since I’ve been to one, because it all seemed too epic when the boys were young, but now I wouldn’t rule it out. Only problem is when I look at the line ups these days I don’t recognise half of the bands. But at least I’d know what to wear. 😉

 

What was your most memorable music festival? And anyone planning to go to one this summer? 

*The Fox in Flats survey on motherhood and fashion. 

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  • Sydney Fashion Hunter

    My favorites are a pair of True Religion cut offs which I picked up in Hawaii in June. I can either wear frayed edges out or cuff for a more polished look, I wore then to death for the 10 days I was there but they were relegated to the draw once i got home. Now the weather is warming up nicely they will no doubt see a lot of weekend action 🙂

    • FoxInFlats

      Wow they sound great! Love that you can wear them both ways. Am on the look out for a pair I can do that with too this summer. xA

      • Sydney Fashion Hunter

        I need to go back to the USA and hit up True Religion at the outlets again. Just too expensive and limited range in the Sydney store 🙁

  • Awesome, now can you find the denim shorts that magically do make me look like a 21 year old? hehehe – of course the ones I like are $193!

  • I reeeeeeally want to join The Denim Shorts Club, but I’m too scared. The tops of my thighs are so far from toned and are probably the least favourite body part of mine. I guess I just need to go into a store that stocks a heap of different brands and try on a bunch of styles…right?

    • FoxInFlats

      I’ll bet you are being too hard on yourself Sonia! And yes, go and try a bunch on – you might be surprised! x

  • I had a good pair from Cotton On a few years ago but they’ve popped a fairly critical seam and my body has changed since I popped a baby and now I have a seam! I think I just need to keep trying pairs on, looking for the perfect fit, length and finish. In answer to your question, Adelaide BDO 2005 (Beastie Boys) and Future Music 2007 (Chemical Brothers) . . . I’m now way too old for that business as discovered at Future Music 2012.

    • FoxInFlats

      Yes I agree, trying them on is key. It’s funny when you realise you’re too old for music festivals, huh? For a long time in my career we would be one of the sponsors of The Big Day Out – I went to every single one between 1993 and 2007. It was that last year that I think I only stayed for an hour and was like “It’s time to leave!!!” ha ha!

  • clare

    I will happily pass on the shorts. Although I am thinking of turning a pair of my husband’s jeans into shorts! What I actually love in these photos is the topin the top photos. Love it. Can you share details please.

    • FoxInFlats

      Good idea about using your hubby’s jeans! The sequin is from Trelise Cooper’s Summer 2015 collection and is called ‘Wings and Queens’. Underneath I’m wearing a silk tank I bought last summer.

  • KillerChic

    I really love the idea of shorts but honestly feel too pale and flabby. I’m a size 8 /10 but my lifetime aversion to exercise means that I am not toned at all. Maybe I should just stop worrying because being on the cusp of 40 I really should just get over my hang ups 🙂

    • FoxInFlats

      Here’s what I think (for what it’s worth) – when you’re 50, 60, 70 etc you will look back at your body as it is now and see it for it’s beauty. Why not embrace it now? x

  • merliyn

    hi andrea, … didn’t realize you were an Adelaide girl! <3 it! … my daughter went to that concert!
    not in my wildest dreams could I look like a 21 year old again! … oh well they were the days! …
    yesterday was a bit of an eye opener and eye candy for the guys, at a local mc vale pub lunch time!!!
    young ones maybe uni students a mixed group in their shortest of short everything bending over to show it off to all and sundry! … I'm no prude but honestly, what are they doing it for, we all know what they've got and they're not the only ones with the goods! … we went to have coffee at another venue and there were more there! one girl bent over and fixed up her G-string right in front of us and my sister and I just laughed! … I think shorts are better than dresses sometimes!!! lol m:)X

    • FoxInFlats

      Oh dear, dear me!!!

  • Belinda

    The struggle is real! I’m 40 and I’m too old to be flashing under-butt but never too old to wear a cool pair of denim shorts. I just bought a pair of boyfriend style in sweet pastel blue denim at Just Jeans recently. I really love them and I plan to live in them all summer. Well worth checking out your local JJ store, ladies!

    • FoxInFlats

      Agree, we’re never too old to wear a cool pair of denim shorts! They sound great, I might pop in and check them out. Because you can probably never have too many pairs of denim shorts either!

  • I do love a denim short with a cuff Andrea. When I was young I had a fabulous pair of Betty Grable style shorts with big white buttons on the sides, a flat front (flattering) and flared legs. I wore them to death.

    • FoxInFlats

      They sound awesome!

  • gabs

    Thanks for this! I always wanted to wear shorts like this…… but didn’t want to look like a 21 year old at a music festival!!!

  • dramaqueen

    bluesfest is a music festival for grown ups. A few days without kids and immersed in awesome music is good for the soul. A couple of pairs of shorts, some flowing tops and a pair of gum boots and you are ready to go.

    • FoxInFlats

      Sounds aweseome

  • Helen

    Can I buy your legs to go with those shorts? Mine won’t look nearly as good 🙂

    • FoxInFlats

      LOL sure! I’ll bet you are being too hard on yourself though Helen. xA

  • Great tips Andrea 😘