Local designers take short cuts this spring
When it comes to shorts this season, everything goes. So whether you’re into drawstrings, bloomers, cuffs, or even high waists, there’s a pair of shorts with your name on it. And you needn’t look any further than Vancouver for a cut that’ll work for you. Just check out some of these sweet styles by a few of our favourite local designers.
Jean Queen This year, lily + jae’s Jude Feller opted for a super soft, versatile denim for both her retro-inspired must-haves as well as her more trend-driven pieces like the jae’s jumper ($178.50 at Fine Finds Boutique [1014 Mainland Street] and Eugene Choo [3683 Main Street]). With a dropped waistline, the loose-fitting top half of this sinfully cute one-piece drapes nicely over the somewhat more fitted bottom half. Pair it with some Keds and a tank top and this casual daytime jumper is good to go.
For a dressier look, Feller offers the Hennessey jean shorts ($126 at the Block [350 West Cordova Street]). To rock these high-waisted, ’70s-inspired shorts in the evening, Feller suggests slipping into a pair of your favourite heels and tucking a nice blouse into them. But if you’re concerned about your ass looking three feet long, you can also just pull a shirt overtop of the waistline.
“On most people, it looks really nice on the back [if you tuck it in],” says Feller from her Railtown studio, before adding, “but I understand the concern about elongating. I mean I don’t exactly want to make my behind look any longer either. But it really doesn’t seem to be a problem with these shorts.”
Beach Beauty If you’re looking for a stylin’ staple to bum around in, Elroy’s Yew Shorts ($98 at body politic [208 East 12th Avenue] and Shop Cocoon [3345 Cambie Street]) might be just the thing for you. These lower-waisted bloomers were made for flip-flops and tank tops. And in keeping with designer Leanne McElroy’s commitment to sustainable clothing, these shorts are either made with 100 percent organic cotton or a hemp blend, depending which colour you choose. But they’re not just eco-friendly. With side slits and drawstring ties on the legs, they’re also trí¨s adorable in a chilled-out sort of way.
“I designed the line while I was on the beach in Mexico,” says McElroy from her Crosstown home studio. “So yeah, the sun, the sand, listening to waves and just being really calm—that’s sort of where I was at.”
City Slicker Designer Allison Smith will be the first to admit that her Allison Wonderland Cruiser Shorts aren’t for everyone. But all is not lost. Riffing on an old-school country-club vibe, these baggy, pleated, high-waisted, seersucker shorts simply require the right iconic inspiration to really work (think Diane Keaton in the ’80s). And keep in mind, there are two ways to pull off these understated urban slouchies ($118 at Dream Apparel and Articles for People [311 West Cordova Street]).
“It’s one of those things that it depends on the size that you get,” says Smith, who sat down with the Straight at her Gastown studio. “You could get a bigger size and let them hang lower in the crotch and then they’d look sloppy—in a good way, of course—or you could get your actual waist size and wear them higher up and tuck in your T-shirt.”
Either way, you can get your post–Annie Hall groove on and stay cool this spring in these high-street bad boys.
Pretty Young Thing At dace, we have the dressier Wilkinson Short. For these ultra-feminine, high-waisted shorts ($144 at Rain Boutique and Salon [1544 West 2nd Avenue]), designer Dace Moore put a lot of emphasis on delicate details: note the brass horse buttons, bottom cuffs, and welt pockets. She sees her blue chambray shorts as the perfect match for a silky blouse and a pair of little vintage leather flats. She also sees them working on many different body types.
“I think a lot of people would look good in these,” says Moore. “They’re a little bit longer and also the waistline goes right go up to the curve [of your hips] and everything is enclosed, so you won’t have any skin hanging over. It’s more of a nice tailored package.”
So in other words: no cake shelf. Nice!
Surfer Girl You don’t have to be a pro surfer or even a boarding betty to appreciate Mia Melon’s Starboard shorts (on the Straight’s front cover, $50 at Plenty [various locations] or twigg&hottie [3671 Main Street]). You just need a strong appreciation for looking pretty damn cute on the beach.
“I didn’t want to do a surf short per se because there’s so many companies that do surf shorts, but I do like the concept of putting surf-short details on shorts in [unexpected] ways,” says Mia Melon’s head honcho, Polly Green, before admitting “so you wouldn’t be able to actually surf in these.”
The most obvious nod to cowabunga culture is the nautical rope woven in on the sides of each pant leg. But what really makes these canvas twill shorts sea-worthy is the eye-popping shade of juicy-fruit green.
As for finding the perfect footwear to match the Starboard short, remember the old surfing adage: no shoes, no problem. “I would definitely put them with flip-flops,” says Green, “or even bare feet, depending on the situation.”