Wearing no pants is probably the best feeling in the world, but when that’s just not going to cut it (damn social decorum and its pesky expectations), it might be time to find a worthwhile alternative: hot pants.
Long associated with derby girls, pinup models, ravers, and ultra-glam ’70s groupies, hot pants haven’t always been embraced by the fashion elite. Likewise, the ultra-high-waisted, super-high-cut short-shorts style can be a daunting look to pull off, especially if you feel even slightly skittish about showing an excess of skin. However, there’s something inherently cool about the daring proportions of the cheeky hot pant—and those who have enough chutzpah to wear it.
Designers definitely agreed with this sentiment on the Spring 2016 runways: We saw Marc Jacobs send lingerie-esque satin tap pants down his burlesque-tinged runway (appropriately held at New York’s classic Ziegfeld Theater), while in Paris, Isabel Marant showed sleek black hot pants paired with a ribbed sweater and a metallic trench coat to remarkably chic effect.
But how does a real girl wear a pair of hot pants off the runway and outside the disco? Playing with proportions is key. Pair short-shorts with a long coat, a conservative top or a chunky sweater, à la Marant. Adding tougher, androgynous elements—a pair of low-heeled boots, a men’s button-down, or a leather jacket can help balance the overt sexiness of the pants, too.
If you’re in need for some more inspo, though, we’ve pulled 10 ways to wear a pair of hot pants IRL this spring.