When dressing in the summer, simplicity is key. With the sun beating down relentlessly and the beach calling your name, the last thing you want to think about is whether your skirt matches your top or how you’re going to accessorize. Thankfully, the heavens have given us an answer and it comes in the form of chic, beautifully distressed denim cut-offs. A Fashionista long ago must have uncovered this secret because we have relied on denim shorts to answer our summer wardrobe pleas for as long as I can remember. Denim cut-offs emanate the relaxed, Cali surfer girl vibe we all pine after and are as easy as that to slip on on any given July day. Dressed up or down, worn with a loose knit or a bikini top, denim shorts are the answer to your Fashionista in distress moments from May until September.

This Fashionista took denim shorts from the beach to the city and added an urban element to her cut-offs. Paired with a black, graphic muscle tee, this look would work seamlessly at a summer barbecue or backstage after a concert. Her adorable yellow quilted cross-body bag channels vintage Chanel while adding a pop of color to her ensemble. A top knot finishes off the look and is the perfect way to throw your hair up when the sun gets too hot.

There are a million ways to wear denim cut-offs, but here are a few of my favorites. First, try this pair with the perfect combination of rips and color. To make it nautical, pair it with a heavyweight, cotton striped boat shirt, some gold jewelry and a brown leather tote. Or, to take cut-offs from the harbor to the beach, use them as a cover-up over a printed bikini and top with a straw fedora┬áto keep your hair in place. Add a pair of shades and you’ll look easy and breezy, even in the unforgiving beach elements.

One of the greatest inventions since eyelash curlers and Sally Hansen DIY manicures, denim cut-offs are every Fashionista’s answer to our least favorite summer question: What do I wear when it’s too hot for anything but a bathing suit? I promise that adding these to your closet will open a world of possibilities that are equally fashionable as they are cool.

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