Friday, 27 May 2011

Thoughts on Shorts

Ok, so I was harbouring a minor obsession with high-waisted shorts for the majority of last year, but didn’t have a clue where to begin crafting my own. I bought a couple of vintage trouser patterns which I thought might offer an avenue from which to begin, but I don't think I was entirely sure where I was going with it, so they lay dormant along with the plan in general. Thentowards the end of the year I snared my job making clothes for Traidremade, which has kind of engendered in me a more ‘can-do’ attitude and speed of attack. I voiced my love of the high-waisted shorts genre to my boss who directed me to get on with making a pattern for some already. Plus she furnished me with the final piece of the puzzle: a high waisted skirt pattern.

So the desired pattern got made and I have since made approximately 12 squillion variations of the first batch for our range. I was encouraged to make a pair for myself when I made that first batch, which I documented here, but then Winter hit hard and they never got worn beyond that little photo shoot. When it started to get warmer in April, I decided it was finally time to venture outside in my shorts. In that first shorts post, I voiced a concern with not knowing what to pair them with. Well, I cobbled together this outfit (pictured above and below) for their virgin mission. Not the greatest outfit I've ever rocked, but it worked well enough.

How did I feel? Pretty naked! I liked the supportive feeling round my belly, but I didn't take off my long coat because I felt everyone would be able to see my bum! I took them off as soon as I got home! FAIL.

Well, never one to put a little issue like unwearability between myself and a project, I decided to knock myself up another pair in soft denim. This pair is an inch or so lower at the waist and plainer with no added detailing, thinking this would make the whole concept of wearing high-waisted shorts more paletable. Result: the same. I've worn this pair once. For maybe two hours.

As I posted recently, I've made a very similar pair for my friend Harriet who wasted (nice pun, no?!) no time rocking her pair to various events. The lovely Scruffybadger commented that she wish she was braver to wear such things (although she totally could and I have no-doubt she would look amazing!). However, I can relate to her sentiment!

What's wrong with me?! When I look at these pictures, I think both pairs, especially the denim ones, look pretty good. No-one can see my arse and they aren't nearly as revealing as some stuff some girls wear about town when there is the tiniest hint of sunshine. Is 31 too old to rock short-shorts? My gutt reaction is 'hell no'. Funnily enough, when I lived in Spain I had little-to-no problem rocking my navy and red Ruby shorts. Maybe these new pairs are shorter? maybe it's the way they emphasise my figure more and demand the top to be tucked in rather than hanging looser over my belly area? AGH!!! My brain is mental.

So, I'm setting myself a little challenge to make sure I wear both these pairs of shorts at least once during Me-Made-June '11. Please nag me to keep up with this! I'm going to wear each pair for a whole day or a whole evening out, no matter how uncomfortable I feel to see if that's the nudge I need to get into these (literally!). Do you have any thoughts on shorts?

41 comments:

Sigrid said...

You do not look skanky and you butt is not hanging out. There seems to be some cognitive dissonance going on wherein you feel naked--yet you are not. Maybe you could stand in front of a mirror with then on and make comments like: "these are a bit too conservative for my taste." or " Do these look long to you, because they look like dowdy bermuda shorts to me."

Maybe if the waist was lower they would feel longer?

But I shouldn't offer any advice because I too have a shorts phobia. I can wear a short skirt but never shorts.

Rebecca said...

This is such a timely post as I am in the middle of working on high waisted shorts right now. I tried them on last night and asked myself if I'd really wear them out of the house? Yours look really cute however, and no the least bit distasteful. :]

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

You look FAB in your shorts - you HAVE to wear them more often.

How's about a black pair in linen - such a basic colour would make them a lovely staple to your wardrobe :) Maybe with your new-style lower waistband + perhaps 1"-1.5" lower hemline (it might mentally feel more comfy in them - you could always shorten them once you get used to them LOL!)?

Yelena's Nest said...

OMG I love these!!! I have been trying to find a pair of high waisted shorts forever and day! well a year actually.. but it feels like forever!! Because I can't find any!!
Do you have a pattern ready for sale?? I would so buy it!!

Yelena's Nest said...

Oh and I love the buttons!!

Darci said...

I think you look fabulous!

BUT. I'd never advise ANYONE to wear something they're uncomfortable in. Ever. If you're not feeling it, maybe it's time to rethink shorts. I don't wear them, myself, as they make me feel undressed and a little overexposed. Hand me a good pedalpusher or capri and I'm much happier.

But if you want to push your personal clothing comfort boundaries, I think it's a great goal. You've got a nice set of pins there, lady!

Radka said...

No, 31 isn´t too much to rock short-shorts, you look great!

Vintage Girl said...

Yes, I do have thoughts on shorts. You can wear them and I should stay in my yard with mine on. I really don't know why you are worried. You have wonderful legs, and are skinny. I just pulled out a vintage pattern today of shorts but I got to say the zipper on them is making me run away from the idea. Zoe- you really do you great, wear them in peace!

Loren said...

Both of these look great on you there is absolutely nothing 'scandalous' going on. This may sound silly but sometimes when I am trying to work something into my wardrobe that is out of my comfort zone (shorts, or a funky hat) I will put it on and wear it around the house (usually to do a couple chores but also just vegging in front of the boob tube. It helps me feel more 'natural' in them.
Also 31 is NOT to old for shorts.

Hearth said...

The high waist is terribly flattering on you - you look amazing.

The denim shorts particularly should be worn all summer long. :)

seeks said...

You definitely look super cute and should rock those shorts as much as possible. :) And 31 is definitely not too old for such sweet shorts.

Roobeedoo said...

I had a ponder about shorts recently too. I don't understand your worry about your bum - because there is no more on show than with trousers. My concern was about aging knees (mine not yours). But I think shorts are a lot more wearable than a mini skirt: no concerns about flashing undies!
And your shorts are great - especially worn with tights!

lladybird said...

i started wearing high-waisted shorts last summer, and it was really weird to get into wearing something that comes past my navel! especially after years of shunning anything high-waisted because that was "dorky" when i was growing up.

anyway, it did take some time but i am definitely comfortable in them now & actually prefer them to my lower-waisted shorts. some things that helped me adjust: try wearing a shirt with a lower neckline (not scandalous, but don't wear a turtleneck with it) to balance the shorts out; wearing a belt to better define the waist helps; i like wearing my bright shorts with a shirt in the same color/different shade for a monotone look; high-waisted shorts look best if they are on the short side (leg-wise) even though it feels immodest... it'll balance 'em out.

i didn't really get mega-comfortable in them until i saw pictures of myself and i realized i did NOT look frumpy! i get a lot of compliments on them as well... and my shorts have pleats in the front, which is the least flattering!

for what it's worth, i think both pairs are adorable & they look great on you. wear 'em with pride!

Cirque Du Bebe said...

Zoe the denims are my fav's, but both look great. Are you going to share the pattern with us (hint hint)? I have been searching high and low for a nice high waisted short pattern, even considering making them from high waisted trouser patterns.

Sølvi said...

If I have thoughts on shorts? Oh, yes. Absolutely. I love high waisted shorts! I feel much more comfortable in them than in shorts with a lower waistline and a longer leg, actually. But I DO get your point. Sometimes a garment that I´ve worn a million times before, all of a sudden feels inappropriate, or at least, I feel very uncomfortable in it.

Wear ´em in June, and see how it feels. :-)

And to the other commenters who were wondering about a good pattern: the latest issue of <a href="http://www.burdastyle.de/trends/news/burda-easy-f-s-2011-studentenwerk-campusmode_aid_3545.html>burda easy fashion</a>
has the perfect pair in it. :-)

Tasia said...

They look great on you, totally retro-cute and not too young at all! Your legs look fantastic!

Then again, I never wear shorts, I don't own any, and I feel like because I carry my weight on my thighs, shorts are not my friend. But on you, they look great!
See how you feel at the end of June when you can compare the photos from all of your me-made outfits, but I think they're super cute!

Amy said...

I think you look fab in your shorts. I LOVE the plaid pair.

angie.a said...

I think they're darling on you. No arse whatsoever poking out, ha. I have the same gut reaction to shorts though. I didn't when I was younger...but now I'm (gasp!) 40!! AND I'm ROUND, hehe. So...have been avoiding shorts. However, I'm determined to just get over myself this summer. My leg fat isn't going to kill anyone OR blind them. Right?

Tanit-Isis said...

They look great! I agree with wearing them around the house. I also find I go back and forth... Sometimes I feel more conservative, other times I don't care about wearing the weirdest crap. I suspect with things like shorts the weather plays a role, too...

DeniseAngela said...

I like both pairs & the denim is so fab on you! I am a tad bit older than you (cough..ok alot older) & I still wear shorts. I think it is what you are comfortable with & how you style it.... btw...I have been looking for a high waisted pattern for a friend so this post was great!

cyberdaze said...

Your shorts look lovely, especially the denim pair. But I know exactly where you're coming from. I can wear pretty short skirts but shorts make me feel like mutton dressed as lamb. I guess this is a vicious circle - if you never wear them and only see teenagers wearing them it just reinforces the impression. Such a pity as they are far more practical than skirts. Maybe we should have a Short-wearing Solidarity Day or something where we all pledge to wear our shorts out of the house :-)

cyberdaze said...

Your shorts look lovely, especially the denim pair. But I know exactly where you're coming from. I can wear pretty short skirts but shorts make me feel like mutton dressed as lamb. I guess this is a vicious circle - if you never wear them and only see teenagers wearing them it just reinforces the impression. Such a pity as they are far more practical than skirts. Maybe we should have a Short-wearing Solidarity Day or something where we all pledge to wear our shorts out of the house :-)

Stacy (aka Stacybeads) said...

I think you look great, and I don't see your butt. However, if you don't feel confident in them, maybe they aren't for you. Or maybe you should practice wearing them around the house a bit as another commenter suggested. Personally I never wear shorts, but I think as long you have nice legs, there should be no age limit!

Cecili said...

You MUST wear those cuties, you look so good in them, especially the denim ones. Plus you have beautiful legs and should show them!

woolcat said...

I wish I had your figure and could look that good in shorts! They are definitely not too short, esp. with the tights underneath. You don't need a top to cover your belly because hello, nothing to see there. Can't comment on whether someone could see your arse but I think highly unlikely - no more than if you were wearing trousers, really. A skirt that short could be tricky in terms of arse visibility, but the shorts cover more.

I think they look great so will be interested to see how you style them for MMJ.

FITZ said...

you look as cute as one can in shorts. they are, as a rule, just awful. if you love them, rock them. if not, pass them on.

Victoria said...

I think both pairs look great on you and your arse is definitely not hanging out.

I've recently discovered a love of shorts (Pinterest helped, it's a little hard to miss after 8 or 9 pins). Unfortunately work have told me I'm not allowed to wear shorts because when I tried last week people complained. Nothing about dress codes, complaints (you may notice I'm a little annoyed by this). I'm fairly sure my arse wasn't hanging out either, given they nearly reached my knees but that's just how my workplace roll. Petty and small minded. Either that or I have really really terrible legs ;) So wear your shorts with pride, for me, because I'm apparently not allowed to.

weriem said...

Indeed, your shorts look very good!! And I never heard about a dead-line to wear short shorts ;)

Carolyn said...

31 too old to wear shorts? Are you kidding me? You look fabulous in those shorts. And I'm a lot older than you, and I wear shorts during summer, so I hope I'm not too old, either... ;)

Scruffybadger said...

Zoe, they are far too cute to be kept to yourself! You have the perfect figure & these cool high waisters fit just right with your style. It'll be great build them into your June challenge.

It is interesting though, isn't it? Is it an age thing? If so why? Could it be because everywhere you look there are "youngsters" in their teens & 20s (& 30s!!) looking too cute for words in shorts with tights & all sorts of combinations? Is it seen as "the" look for students? I don't know? I do know that 31 is def not too old! I don't think it's an exposure thing, because as Roobeedoo says bums & thighs are also on display with trousers & short skirts.
So, as with everyone else, I say it's in your head- you look fab. The important thing is becoming more comfortable & June is the perfect time to showcase them to yourself too.
Thank you for your super sweet observations on shorts & me - I'm planning some vintage fitted shorts & maybe your encouragement will mean they get worn out more than just for camping & at the beach!!! And perhaps I should be a bit braver & wear shorter skirts - but for me in my 40s that's where my head gets in the way!

Debi said...

Fabulous shorts!! Love them...Thanks for the comments on my blog! Here's the link to the profile pic outfit post: http://fashionsfromthepast.blogspot.com/2010/02/perfect-day-for-new-outfit.html

And I really want to come to Brighton but my sister is arriving that weekend so I need to see if it can all work out...I really, really, really want to come!!!! It would be soooooo much fun!

Alessa said...

Well, the pics look fabulous and you definitely rock those shorts! Maybe you just need to wear them a couple of times to feel comfortable... (though to be honest, I only ever wear shorts when on holiday...)
I think they would look fabulous with suspenders/braces!

Zoe said...

Thanks for all your positive comments on my Thoughts on Shorts post. It was really interesting to hear that so many of you can relate to those conflicting emotions of feeling uncomfortable and unsure in something, but knowing there’s no good reason why you shouldn’t feel fine in them!

I LOVE the idea of a official shorts day where we all give them a go! problem with that is weather though, I'll probably wake up one morning and check out the window to see if shorts-day or not.

Also, I would LOVE to be able to share my pattern, but unfortunately, because I made the pattern at work for our range, it is technically the property of the charity I work for. But I've been seeing some similar shorts styles or trousers that could be adapted in vintage patterns on ebay recently. Check out your national ebay and see what you can find. Plus, as Sølvi noted, that Burdastyle mag has a similar style in it right now.

happy shorts making/wearing!

Zoe xxx

Tilly said...

Shorts are good and look great on you - I also love the ones you were wearing on your birthday in that photo with Harriet.

I used to wear a pair of black shorts with black tights to work, but I do think I'm a bit old for that now. To wear them to work, that is. I wouldn't dare wear them without tights as I have lots of wobble and Polish knees. But they look awesome on you!

christina said...

I'm a bit late to this party but here are my two cents: as the others stated - you look great in both shorts. Could the difference between Spain and Britain be that it feels more natural to you to wear shorts in a southern country?
I'd love to have a pair this summer, too, but only for casual use like a picknick or a day in the park. Otherwise I wouldn't feel properly dressed, too. Perhaps that's the age: I'm 31 as well.

quietandsmalladventures said...

both pairs look fantastic on you! as for age limitations, i say the hell with that! if we as sewists were looking for limitations then we'd shop at stores that had swipe cards to check your age before you could buy. but we don't. my major objection to the high-waisted shorts craze for me was that i have a short torso with a short wiast, so high-waisted things tend to look like empire waisted things on me. but when i made them, they fit well enough that i've just been waiting for warm weather to wear and document them :) besides, if you need to work up to it, you could always wear fitted tops not tucked in to them, then progress to tucked in tops... either way you'd look fantastic!

Anwen said...

The shorts (and you) look adorable! I am 32 and if I could find some similar shorts/a pattern and the gumption to make some I would totally wear those, and I'm not nearly as slim as you...

Maybe you could wear them with some awesome patterned tights and tell your self that you aren't wearing short shorts, you're showing off your amazing tights?

jessica said...

I like Sigrid's advice =). Maybe you should throw a shorts party with your crafty friends in Brighton and that'll get you over the hump! Really though, I think both pairs look great and that you look great in them!

OR you could try pairing them with a really ostentatious, crazy top and then you will spend the whole time thinking about the blouse instead! Instead of cognitive dissonance fixing, it will be desensitization! (Hm, that doesn't exactly work, but you know what I mean).

toboldlysew said...

You MUST wear these shorts - you look great! I particularly like the current shorts + wedges look, and also shorts + opaque tights, although we're just about out of season for that one now.
Go for it in June!

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

sweetheart you're hotness personified! Course you can wear high waisters at 31 I think it's absolutely the perf age for it :) I intend to make myself some sequinned hot pants and wear them with a tail coat in my 31st year :) xxx

Anonymous said...

Those shorts look great on you, especially the denim pair! High waisted shorts are super flattering and you're definitely not too old to wear them.

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