This trend must be handled very gingerly. Unless you are at the beach, wearing shorts will, in all likelihood, blow up in your face. Designers have thrown a big red herring at ordinary folk with the ridiculous shorts they put on the runways this season. At the top of the heap are hot pants. These control-top girdles, cut high in the derrière for demi-cheek exposure, can make you the object of derision. If, however, you enjoy dressing like a high-school majorette, this is the trend for you. Substitute black Givenchy stripper wedges for shiny white boots and you have the look.
The key is to dress counterintuitively. Don’t wear a bikini top and swimming cap with your satin-insert Marc Jacobs hot pants; instead, wear everything not normally worn with shorts, such as tailored blazers, scarves and dressy blouses. The idea is to look like you are going to cocktail party or a board meeting but forgot to put on pants. This is an ensemble that got a reaction even from taciturn Bob, a fisherman in a remote village on Vancouver Island where my family vacations. Bob was having a beer in front of the general store when I rolled up in my haute Huggies. “Is that what they’re wearin’ in Paris these days?” he asked with arched eyebrows. Even Bob will tell you that the problem with tucking a silk blouse into hot pants is that it makes it bunchy in the front. So I threw a Derek Lam blazer over it—a short, fitted jacket that was just imploring somebody to pat me on the rear. A boyfriend jacket was a better choice, except that I looked like a lady of the night being availed of a dinner jacket by a chivalrous john.
There’s no way around it: Absentee trousers put a lady at a serious disadvantage, especially when the article replacing them is best left to 1940s pin-ups. This is when I had my eureka moment: a Rachel Zoe faux-fox vest worn open over a black tank top and the troublesome hot pants, finished with Acne stilettos. I looked like I was about to straddle the hog of a Hell’s Angels underling and bomb off to a billiard-hall opening, but I consoled myself with the thought that I wasn’t half-dressed; I was half-fashionable.
The verdict: 2/10
Let’s face it: They’re calling them hot pants, but they’re really just underwear.