How To Style Denim Cutoffs Professionally

by Eliza Florendo

I live in New York City, which means that in the summer, I live in a swamp—90+ degree weather, humidity on fleek, and subway cars with broken AC's. It is preferred—no—it is necessary to wear minimal clothing like shorts, but first, you have to learn how to style denim cutoffs appropriately for work. There's nothing worse than showing up way underdressed for work, so of course, choose your outfits carefully.

Let me start off my saying: I work at a media company, which comes with a more lax dress code. Of course, if you've an office that promotes more formal attire, this may not apply to you. But for those that have a bit more flexibility, denim cutoffs can be a godsend for those days that you just cannot fathom wearing pants or a skirt. Cause like, sometimes I just can't put on a skirt, ok?

Of course, chiffon and silk shorts tend to be more appropriate for work, but on a casual Friday, why not get your weekend started and throw on a pair? Just make sure they're not too short and cover what they need to, plus maybe an extra inch or two. When it comes to being polished, the textures of clothing tend to matter the most, so since denim is generally very casual, make sure the rest of our outfit is made up of polished materials.

Throw on a blazer.

Theory Gabe N Jacket in Edition, $425,

First of all, never underestimate the power of a blazer. Though it might seem counterintuitive to put on such a professional piece with such a casual one, it actually works really well. Particularly an oversized one, or one that runs a bit boxier, to give a menswear look. Pair with a double monk strap shoes, and you've got an easy, yet trendy look. If you want to up your dress ante, a classic pump or single strap heel will always look chic.

Check your balance.

Merona Women's Long Sleeve Shirt, $24.99,

As always, it's all about balance: so if you're showing off your legs, it doesn't hurt to cover up your arms or bust area. A classic, crisp white button down can always do the trick, or if you've got a chilly office, a chunky turtleneck and a killer pair of booties.

Don't forget your accessories.

Burberry Reversible Animal Print Silk Square Scarf, $495,

This pretty much goes for every occasion, but if you want to look a bit more dressed up and polished, accessories can usually do the trick. Got a camo patterned belt? Maybe a chic bowler hat? These things will always keep you looking polished, and are so easy to throw on. A small silk square scarf with a white tee is so painfully classic.

Layering is key.

ASOS Curve Sleeveless Duster Jacket, $74,

When you layer, you're automatically adding more depth into your look. I love a good long, duster jacket with denim cutoffs, or my particular favorite, layering a cropped tank over a tee, à la Cher Horowitz during the gym class scene of Clueless.

Heels, heels, heels.

Senso Riley IV, $275,

Something about putting on a pair of heels makes me feel like a bad b*tch, no matter where I'm going. I automatically feel like a professional that's on a mission when I hear that *clack clack* against tile. But—be careful. Because denim cutoffs tend to be pretty short, you'll want to pick a heel that's not too high or one that you'd wear to a club. I prefer a chunkier heel (more comfortable anyway!), but if I'm really trying to dress my lewk up, a classic pointed pump is my go-to.

If you're not a heel person, though, pick a shoe that's polished—maybe an oxford, a d'orsay flat, or a loafer.

The bottom line is this: it's hot in the summer. And when I've exhausted all my work dresses, skirts, and pants, sometimes, it's time to rock the denim cutoff to work. With these rules in mind, you'll be cool and office appropriate all summer long.

Images: Theory, Target, Nordstrom, Asos, Senso