When you hear that it’s “shorts weather” do you celebrate or run screaming? I used to do the latter, but lately, I’ve found a few summer shorts that make me feel comfortable and confident. Here are some tips for buying shorts and how to style them so that you can look your best…
P.S. If you were in the “run screaming” category, take a look at this post for an alternative summer staple.
How To Pick Your Summer Shorts
Pick The Right Rise For Your Body
If you have a sculpted body and toned thighs, go ahead and wear those low-rise 3″ cut-offs! If you have a thicker waist, then low-rise short styles may create that muffin-top look. Mid-rise shorts work for most body types.
If you’re tall or have a longer waist, high-rise styles can be flattering too.
Find The Perfect Length
The length of your shorts depends on your personal preference, but also consider your height and body type.
Bermuda shorts (10″-12″ inseam) look great on taller women. If you are petite, regular Bermuda shorts may end at your knees, and look frumpy. Consider a petite size with a shorter inseam, or have them tailored.
Ann Taylor’s Boardwalk Short comes in regular (11″) and petite (10″) and they also have a curvy option.
Mid-length shorts (5″-8″) flatter most body types. I’m wearing the 6″ Metro Shorts from Ann Taylor. They’re classic and clean, so they work with cropped tops, tucked-in t-shirts, as well as looser tops. Since I have a pear-shaped (curvier on the bottom) body, these gape a tiny bit in the waist, but not enough for me to pass them up!
What about short shorts (“booty” length – 4″)? If you’re over 40 or self-conscious about shorter lengths, look for a clean mid-rise style (rather than distressed denim cut-offs).
Keep in mind that shorter lengths can make your legs look longer. I was very surprised when I tried on Banana Republic’s Mid-Rise 4″ Denim Shorts last year, as they looked better on me than some of the longer styles.
If you’re looking for athletic shorts, take a look at Athleta’s Run With it 3.5″ Shorts. The wide waistband hugs your belly and looks smooth under a t-shirt.
Try Them On And Sit Down!
Many retailers have extended their return windows, so consider buying a few different styles of summer shorts to figure out what suits you best. Look at yourself from all angles. Sit down to make sure that they don’t gape at the waist, or feel tight anywhere.
Summer Shorts To Buy This Year
There are a few styles that I’m loving this summer:
I’m wearing the Marina Tie-Waist shorts from Ann Taylor in Bright Geranium. Wear this style with a cropped top or a t-shirt that you can tuck in. If you want to wear a longer top untucked, remove the belt (or swap it for a thin leather belt).
Paper Bag Shorts
Paper Bag shorts have pleats in the front, and a wider leg opening. If you have heavier thighs or just want a loose fit, consider this style. Like tie-front shorts, you’ll want to wear these with a t-shirt that you can tuck in or a cropped top. Both Banana Republic and Ann Taylor have some cute paper bag waist shorts.
Pull-on shorts are the summer version of your favorite joggers or sweat pants. Take a look at J.Crew’s Seaside shorts in linen or Anthropologie’s Amaya shorts in cotton/lyocell. For a longer style, try Athleta’s Farallon Bermuda shorts. All three are casual, cute, and comfortable. Wear these with your graphic t-shirts, easy tank tops, soft blouses, or knit tops.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of summer shorts that are available right now. You’ll also find denim shorts, chinos, and linen shorts and a variety of others. Just keep in mind that even though summer has just begun for most of us, for retailers it is already coming to a close. Before we know it, back-to-school and fall merchandise will start trickling in, so buy your summer shorts now while they’re still in stock.