How to Wear Denim Cut-offs without Looking Like a Festival-Goer

I feel like I'm known for extremely, almost unnecessarily, long titles, but I think this one may win first prize for largest number of characters in a single post title.

And the abundant amount of words really works with the subject I'm about to bring up -- it took me an entire month to plan this. Well, at least subconsciously.

Whether we like it or not, we're likely to look like festival-goers if we slip on a pair of denim shorts. Not of the knee-length, or even mid-thigh, variety, but the kind that fall from the beginning of your thigh to maybe the 1/3 mark of your thigh. Technicalities aside, they are a festival necessity. Which makes it that much harder to get dressed in the morning without looking #coachellaready.

I tried this a few days ago, and I thought that sequins would make any outfit more formal and festivals are the furthest away from formal. But then the sequined tank I paired with the shorts you're about to see in a few short (pun intended) moments made me look like I was going to Shaky Boots, aka the country music festival in Atlanta that I never ever want to resemble or attend. Attempt 1: failed. In the beginning of this experiment, I wanted to wear one of those Victorian, long-sleeved blouses, maybe like this one by Alexa Chung's new collection, which I desperately need but have not been able to purchase just yet. 2/2 attempts failed. I don't like the sound of that.

Then I thought, maybe, just maybe, if I paired something that one would never wear with shorts, especially of the denim-material, I wouldn't look like a festival-goer. And maybe it should be an item that one would never even think about wearing to a festival because it could a) get destroyed b) have too much excess material or c) cause too much body heat due to previously-stated excess material. Like, a dress, maybe?

Shorts by Gap. Shirt/Dress by Urban Outfitters (or try something like this). Tank by Gap. Shoes by Steve Madden (similar here).

Or just a shirt-dress-type-thing, that is too long to be a shirt but too long to be an actual dress? Even better. I've worn this item hundreds of times, usually under sweaters or dresses or even over a turtleneck and under a sweater at the same time (the things we do for NYC winters...). This piece has gotten me through a lot, so I thought it'd be fitting to bring it back for this fashion experiment I was obviously struggling with. And do I look like I'm going to a festival in this? 

Absolutely not.

Anything that actually travels past the hem of your shorts would just be silly for a music festival, and also, why would anyone want to wear more than two layers (do you see my tank from Gap peeking out through the sheer material?) to an event where you'll probably strip off the top one in the first five minutes? 

A success rate of 1/3 is better than 0. 

The key to this method is to preferably get a dress/long shirt that has buttons all the way from the top to bottom so you can play with tucking in different sides, showing off the shorts, or showing the under layer on top if you'd like. This one from Madewell would also do the trick. I simply buttoned half of the top, then left the bottom unbuttoned so I could tuck in one side to the shorts and leave the other side hanging below my cutoffs. Playing with dimensions and looking like you actually tried further takes away from that care-free festival feel. 

Figuring out which shoes to wear is also a crucial part in making a non-festival look. Stray away from comfy sandals or Adidas or anything that would be comfortable to stand in for ten hours straight. I went for my chelsea boots, and not the kind that also act as rain boots because those would so work for a rainy festival day.

Even though these shorts from Gap have floral embroidery on them, which seems to define festival fashion in one clothing item, the way I styled them created the opposite of festival fashion. I mean, they were covered all day due to the dress, but you get my point. It's a bit funny because I plan on wearing these to Shaky Knees Festival in May and even showcasing them on the blog to show how to wear denim-cutoffs to look like a festival-goer. This is proof that practically every item in our closets can transform into new styles depending on how we wear them. In fashion, it's not the what, it's the how. 

Tip: wearing shorts with dresses makes it possible to jump without accidentally flashing anyone. How practical. 

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