“To jog” or not to “jog”, that is the question for fifty-somethings around the world this summer.
In case you missed the style memo, or even the pictures of every twenties fashion darling frolicking across Europe, the jort of the day (“jort” being a portmanteau of jeans and shorts) is mid-length denim shorts that stop just above or below the knee.
Think of it as a denim bermuda, but without the elasticated waist or the “snazzy” print.
The jorts are very hot right now. Model Bella Hadid wears jorts. The same goes for Hailey Bieber, model and wife of singer Justin – and just about every fashion influencer on Instagram.
The cool girls hanging out on the sidewalks of Brooklyn, New York, wear jorts; and Glastonbury was inundated with it.
The jorts are very hot right now. Model Bella Hadid (pictured above) wears jorts
Hailey Bieber (pictured), model and wife of singer Justin, also wears jorts – and pretty much every fashion influencer on Instagram
But when does the “jort” go from white-hot to the most ridiculous – and aging – piece of clothing in your summer wardrobe?
First, it’s a generally accepted style rule that denim shorts of any length are tough things to navigate.
They cling to the thighs and grab the buttocks. They should also be lovingly frayed along the hem, like you’ve just cut out your favorite pair of Levis in a hurry.
The goal of most denim shorts fantasies is to look like a 1970s Jane Birkin in St Tropez, although few of us actually achieve that.
The new breed of jort, however, looks promising, especially for women of a certain age who are hesitant to try to look like Daisy Duke on vacation.
The jorts are looser around the thighs to start with. They have roomy pockets, reassuring high waistbands and are “softer” around the behind.
Their longer length, meanwhile, means you no longer have to worry about having acres of mid or even upper thigh exposed. In short, they look like the shorts that every middle-aged woman dreams of.
The goal of most denim shorts fantasies is to look like a 1970s Jane Birkin (pictured) in St Tropez, although few of us actually achieve that.
Good old-fashioned denim shorts are always in style, as shown by model Kendall Jenner (left) and actress Halle Berry (right). If they are a bit beaten up, with a touch of wear, and worn with a slightly oversized tee, they can, indeed, be rather timeless.
But believe me, they are far from it. I say this as a 44-year-old former Elle editor who experimented with jorts last month.
I decided to bring a pair of scissors to some old cream Cos jeans and create the perfect jort for summer vacation.
(One crucial word of warning – you can only make jorts out of wide leg jeans. If you try to make a jort by hacking a pair of skinny jeans, you end up with denim pedal pushers, a look no one wants to resurrect in 2023.)
I wore them to dinner with heels. Finally, I thought! A pair of denim jeans that offers comfort and coverage. It wasn’t until I saw my reflection in the restaurant window that I saw the error of my ways.
Jorts are great in theory, but a disaster in practice. These are the least flattering lengths.
If they hit just below the knee, they shorten the calf, making you look like an extra from a 1990s hip-hop video; above the knee and they highlight that most delicate area – and the knee at any age, let alone middle age, is not a pretty thing. Mine look like a pair of concertina potatoes.
All that structured denim on your thigh stretch adds extra bulk, which means you can end up looking unintentionally heavy down the bottom.
And then, of course, there’s what to wear with them. The shoe of the summer remains the leather fisherman sandal.
These may look great – and ironically cool – on a 21-year-old blogger in jort. But a 51-year-old woman in a pair of light denim jorts? Well, you very quickly end up looking like the lost member of a Cornish fishing team.
What we forget is that those who look really fantastic in jorts are also those who have two things on their side: youth and size. (I’ve seen little ones and young ones in jorts and truth be told, they’re not doing them any favors either. Sorry!)
For the rest of us, good old-fashioned denim shorts, like the ones Holly Willoughby (pictured) saw parading this summer in Portugal, are still our best bet for rocking denim shorts in our 40s
Sixty-three-year-old Nancy Shevell (pictured), wife of Paul McCartney, is another woman who understands the beauty of short
For the rest of us, good old-fashioned denim shorts, like the ones Holly Willoughby saw parading this summer in Portugal, are still our best bet for rocking denim shorts in our 40s. Sixty-three-year-old Nancy Shevell, wife of Paul McCartney, is another woman who understands the beauty of shorts.
If they are a bit beaten up, with a touch of wear, and worn with a slightly oversized tee, they can, indeed, be rather timeless.
Which reminds me of a very famous celebrity stylist who once told me that it was a mistake that full-coverage bikinis look better on those with taller, middle-aged bodies.
In fact, the smaller the bikini, the more it looks, she explained, because more material not only adds volume but can also age you.
That’s why I cut a good seven inches off my longer cream jorts to create something much more flattering.