September 1 2014

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The Great Cutoff Debate


Another day, another fashion dilemma. Over the past week, I have murdered several pairs of my jeans, trying to create the perfect pair of cutoffs. These were not jeans in my regular wardrobe rotation—I’m talking fat jeans, ill-advised thrift store purchase jeans, boot-cut jeans in a dark rinse that I attempted, to the permanent disgrace of my bathtub, to bleach down. You know the jeans I mean. We all have them piled up in the back of our closet. I didn’t mind sacrificing these jeans to the cutoffs cause—and the experimentation made me feel handy, thrifty, and eco-friendly. I even managed to make myself one serviceable pair. But this pair of cut-offs is not perfect, the way, say, Current/Elliott’s rolled, stretch denim cutoffs for Spring are perfect, with their perfect cut, their perfect soft fade, and their perfectly subtle distressing. “Buy them!” cries my heart. My head says: $187 for cutoffs? Are you nuts? Which brings me back to the bathtub, and the pile of jeans in the back of my closet (yes, there’s still a pile left over), and the X-Acto blade. How much is too much to pay for cutoffs? Is any price too high, if you have a bunch of long-unused denim hanging around the house, just waiting to be chopped? And while we’re at it—how short is too short, when it comes to cutoffs? Once again, I find myself attracted to a pair by Current/Elliott, but they are hella tiny; the interior hip pockets are visible nipping below the hem. Should this look be attempted by anyone other than Erin Wasson? Comments, please.



Photo: Greg Kessler




  1. rockinfashion101 says:

    i really do not like this outfit… its just shows way to much… you can do something to jeans but dnt cut them to short…its just not my taste…

  2. DELAUGHTER says:

    Just because they sell it doesn’t mean you buy it. If she payed anything for these it’s a damned shame. $187 for cut of jeans, what is that really about?

  3. NotMod says:

    The C/E cut is perfectly do-able – just leave some skinny strips to fleece the waft off and a bit of an outward slope to roll up. No trouble at all. Not sure what the point is though…

  4. fashionite says:

    I think Levi’s makes the best cut offs and they are less than $100. Paying over that for cut offs is really just pointless.

  5. katieabbo says:

    Too short is less than a three inch inseam. I like to cut mine a little long and then snip up and make them into dolphin shorts. More leg, less pocket.

  6. Valerio says:

    What has this to do with fashion?? You can also buy a pair of cheap jeans and cut it off. It’s a terrible look when you cut your jeans to short and that all for the price tag of $187. It are only casual clothes, worn by a lot of highschool or college girls. But for the more sophisticated and stylish woman not at all weareble. It would be a shame if everyone would walk around with this kind of cutoffs. Arriverderci

  7. mikeijames says:

    kudos to you for putting in words something that we’re all facing in this economy: how to take fashion risks on a budget! with the likes of balmain to alexander wang all doing the destroyed denim thing, one has to debate whether or not to copy the look with a $200+ knock-off or go the DIY route.

    i say, match the DIY shorts with your most fab pair of summer sandals and j’adorable top and have fun with it. then, get the current/elliot because you won’t stop thinking about it and wear the hell out of them. they’re the perfect bikini coverup if nothing else.

  8. scissory says:

    I think this outfit looks a bit tacky. The shorts being so short that the pockets dangle just below the hem is a MAJOR faux paus in my book, and I would not dream of spending $187 dollars on a pair of cutoffs.

    I say make your own, all you need is a pair of scissors, a pair of jean and maybe, if you’re skilled enough (or your friend is…) a sewing machine. Your cutoffs are guaranteed to fit you perfectly and you’ll have some bragging rights when your friends ask where you got those great shorts.

  9. dusturbance says:

    If you make sure that your legs are as good as Erin’s, the price of cut-off jeans becomes irrelevant cos any darn thing’s gonna look great on pair of long, lean sun kissed pins.
    If you don’t have a pair of perfect legs, the price of cut-off jeans is of the less importance again, cos not even the most expensive pair of shorts is gonna make up for the lack of them.
    So, do you have a pair of pins like Erin’s ?

  10. Valerio says:

    ^we didn’t talk about the legs of Erin Wasson we where commenting about the to short cutoffs in general. And it’s my pleasure to hear that you are so fond of her. I’m also a big fan, but dislike also sometimes the clothes/pieces she wears. I’m not addicted to her I’m only addicted to fashion and especially the Italian fashion industry, arriverderci

  11. cait3186 says:

    I think spending that much money ruins the “cool factor” of denim shorts. This should be a DIY. Just don’t forget to do a stay stitch after you cut them so that they don’t fray too much. Otherwise they will keep getting shorter shorter.

  12. Appollonia says:

    @cait3186, good advice! That’s how you do it. At last someone who knows what to do…pfff….
    What a trend? People wear cut-offs since the 60′s/70′s. I don’t get the fuss about such a mediocre summer look at all…

  13. CharlieGirl says:

    I got a pair of boy carpenter jean shorts from Levis. They were dirt cheap on sale. I managed to deconstruct and reconstruct them nicely. See what I mean

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