Lately it seems like everywhere I look on the internet, people are talking about “jorts” in a disparaging fashion. Why, just recently on this very blog, a whole post was dedicated to mocking the many jorts of Coachella, some of which were legitimately bad, but some of which, like Behati Prinsloo‘s, were totally fucking fine as part of a spot-on perfect ’90s grunge look. One which could double as “Sexy Kurt Cobain” come Halloween, which I do not happen to see as a downside:
It seems to me that while it’s possible to find examples of jorts done wrong, as with any type of garment, jorts receive the kind of hatred that is usually reserved for peplums or mullet dresses, like there’s something inherently bad about them. Wither this negativity, when “jorts” is simply a stupid name for shorts made out of denim? What are bloggers going to decide they hate next? Jeans? Denim jackets? Pants in general?
I hold that a lot of the negativity comes from the word “jorts” itself. I don’t know whose idea it was to call them this (maybe someone working for the skirt industry?) but branding is definitely more than half the battle. Just try to say the word “jorts” out loud without letting a bitter tone of mockery creep into your voice. You cannot, because that word is ridiculous.
There’s also the issue of the cut-off jean short, a subset of jorts which was first innovated when someone realized it was too hot to wear jeans anymore, but had no money to buy shorts, so he or she cut the legs off some old jeans for better aeration. Other people thought that was a good idea, so they copied it, until the look had made its way up through the gutter punk alleys and into the Urban Outfitters catalog. One no longer need sacrifice a beloved pair of jeans to get the “cut-off jean shorts” look when all manner of pre-distressed short-shorts are available for a mere $50 plus shipping and handling.
And therein, I think, lies the problem for a lot of people. While it’s generally pretty clear who sews patches and puts studs on their jackets themselves, and who buys mass produced ones from Hot Topic, jorts technology has advanced to such a frightening degree that it’s no longer possible to judge a person’s sartorial “authenticity” by the character of their shorts. Did Behati Prinsloo love those shorts to pieces, or did her stylist pull them fully formed from a YSL rack? To some, jorts are the final frontier in the appropriation by the fashion industry of everything cheap, trashy, and punk rock. It was fine when Daisy Duke did it, because she was a character of the people. But Audrina Partridge, Chanel bag in hand? That’s simply a bridge too far.
So as it turns out, there is a certain kind of logic to at least some of the “jorts” hatred out there. So how do you avoid becoming a victim of it? For starters, I suggest that if you are going to wear some beat ass looking jorts, you should refrain from washing your hair for at least two days prior, and make sure the rest of your outfit costs no more than $50. Now if you will excuse me, they are having an online jorts sale at Urban Outfitters, and those jorts are not going to purchase themselves.