Convert those jeans to a denim miniskirt

TURNING A much-loved, over-worn pair of jeans into a skirt isn't a new idea -- nimble sewers have done it for decades -- but making the results look chic took the happy rediscovery of the mini.

It's a trend that belongs to the street -- jean skirts were the coverup of choice at the recent U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, and of course, the paparazzi are catching model Agyness Deyn and other leggy style leaders wearing them just about everywhere else -- but now, even fashion houses such as Chanel are turning out super-distressed denim minis.

Of course, there are some big differences between the ones that look hot today and the ones that looked hot 20 years ago. Remember those jeans conversions, with a triangle of fabric -- think flowers, tie-dye -- sewn between the legs? Yeah, well, if you do, resist the nostalgia.

Instead, think of the jeans skirt this way: Now that straight-leg boyfriend jeans are chic again, these are the skirt translation. Casual, slung low on the hip, neither jailbait short nor too roomy and unkempt, these minis are like a tomboy's idea of a tolerable skirt. No pleats or detailing, no designer rah-rahs, just the classic five-pocket jean.

And like the old straight-leg Levi's, these skirts like flip-flops, casual sandals, mocs and a plain T-shirt or linen shirt. You want casual, not trashy.

You can use any old pair of jeans, either the ones you've been kicking around in for years or a vintage pair from a thrift store. Levi's have the trim fit and thick, durable weight that you want, as well as the minimalist styling that makes these skirts instant classics.

The trick is to start with jeans that ride down a little on your hips, that are roomy enough to allow for comfortable movement after you're done and that won't require any additional fabric when you're making the conversion from pant to skirt.

Then, it's a quick cut across both legs, a satisfying amount of seam-ripping, some quick stitching, a wash and dry to fray the edges and you're done.

Recalled from your clothes drawer, from their grubby kingdom of shreds and patches, your jeans can live on.

Call it denim reincarnation.