Friday, July 1, 2011

Gail Carriger Talks About Getting Retro in Shorts

I know some of you are experiencing winter right now, but up here, after a brief dabble with June rain ~ really, California? I mean to say, really?! ~ it has now jetted up to the usual swelter of summer. Parasols, check!

For those of us in the good old US-of-A it is Independence Day. (Yes, the movie has been playing incessantly. Yes, I have to stop and watch it every time. Argh. I have the same issue with Con Air.) Where was I? Oh yes, the Fourth of July. I've always been mildly supicious of anything that began with the waste of a great deal of perfectly good tea, but, I digress. What does it really mean? Sun, parades, fireworks, watermelon, yadda yadda, and . . . BBQ! Which in turn means the dreaded . . . shorts!

Minnie Mortimer Fall 2010

It took me a long time to come around to shorts. (I also didn't wear jeans until high school, but that is a different story. I still don't wear jeans much. Witness the AB's recent comment, "You own jeans?!" We've been dating nearly 2 years. I digress . . . again. You see what heat does to my brain?) Then I discovered shorts can have a lovely retro overtone to them.

Anjelica back in the day, street fashion shot from a month or so ago, and Leslie Caron.

And retro shorts are fashionable right now, might was well take advantage. Leslie (pictured above in 1955 just before Daddy Long Legs) could walk out of that picture and down the street and be totally on trend. So could Anjelica for that matter. Ah, Anjelica, the original Alexia.

But shorts are difficult. The thing to do, I've always felt, is find the right length for your body type. For me this means ones I'm comfortable in but that show enough leg not to foreshorten me too much.

Here's my current favorite pair. Shown with the shoes I'll be wearing with them for the 4th. I got them at a thrift store in San Francisco for about $20. I like them because they are a thick stretchy cotton, have sailor details, and are the right length. I'll probably also pair them with my big white straw hat.

Left is from 1958 sears posted on Tuppence Ha'penny by Charlotte, right is Liv Tyler photographed a few weeks ago.

Mine are a touch baggy. Because I am larger on the top then the bottom, I feel this balances me out. I will probably be wearing them with the kind of top shown below, although I reserve the right to change to a stripe instead.

Funny story with these shorts. Wore them just the other day, all day, and near the end of it I discovered I had a great big hole in the seam at the back! Yes, right over my butt. Luckily, I was wearing undies of exactly the same color blue. Moral of the story? Always try to match your undies to your shorts (unless white, in which case, wear nude).

If your bent isn't in the sailor direction there are a few more fun trends around, like flowered.

I just got a pair like those on the left from H&M, lovely & cool, on the right is YSL Cruise 2012.

Or if you feel like a real risk taker you could try velvet. Hard to imagine shorts as elegant but with a pussycat bow they have a certain class. So there it is, Fashionable Reader, I hope you have the most lovely of weekends. And whatever you choose to wear, please don't forget sunscreen!


  1. I abhor shorts. I don't know if I'll ever come around to them.

  2. I dislike shorts as well, but have found that if I find a pair that's long enough (just above the knee), they don't set off my since-junior-high (grades 7-9 here) hatred of my thighs. (horseback riding and bicycling will develop a lot of muscle there...)

    Like our host says, the length must fit the person wearing them. Then, for me at least, they become tolerable.

    Note that I have admired how awesome many _other_ people look in shorts!

  3. Previous years I've been sporting english knee length trousers but this summer I drank the 1970's inspired koolaid and have been rocking the high waisted light denim along with tailored sailor shorts. If only I could end the love hate relationship with my knobby knees (many teenage years misguided by skateboarding makes me self conscious of scarring).

  4. Anything with Will Smith kicking alien butts and Jeff Goldblum... being around is certainly worth watching. ;)

    Ugh, shorts. I think my legs haven't seen daylight for 20 years, and the world will thank me if I keep it that way.

  5. I am not a big fan of shorts either, and largely prefer skirts - but sometimes skirts are impractical. I like cuffed shorts that hit about mid-thigh, and I will wear a patterned pair if they're flattering. I live in Australia but I only own four pairs of shorts - pinstripe, floral, khaki and jean.

  6. My biggest beef with shorts is with the ride-up factor. I have yet to find a pair of non-lycra shorts that don't bunch up between my thighs. As I refuse to traumatize the general public with my lycra clad thighs I gave up on shorts and wear skorts. I buy the ones with knit shorts so there is no ride-up factor. And I can be confident that if the skirt pulls up I am not flashing my underpants to the world.

  7. It's 100F here, and feels like 107F. It's shorts weather.

  8. I love Shorts. It's pretty, comfortable, very feminine and praticale : no one can see your underwear ;)

    Your sailor short is very very cute !

  9. I didn't realize there was so much hate for shorts. If they're tailored they look so wonderfully classy and not at all sloppy. Plus there is nothing that will make your legs look miles long than a pair of crisp shorts paired with wedges or heels. I've only got a few of pairs (a dark blue sailor-inspired pair, a knee-length camel colored pair and, yes, a dove gray velvet pair), but I love them all.


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