I’ve been known to say on more than one occasion that my time for wearing shorts has come and gone and that ship had long sailed. I was pretty content living in Bermuda shorts and capris in the summer months and figured my thighs would probably never again see the light of day, and I was okay with that. It was an age and comfort issue as well as a style choice.
For a while there, capri pants and Bermuda shorts were stylish, and mid-length and shorter shorts, well, weren’t. I mean, shorts always have their place, I suppose, but suddenly they are very much on trend. Now you see shorts for almost every occasion. In fact, they are even fashion-forward when worn with a suit jacket.
Which begs the question . . . who should wear them and who shouldn’t, and what shorts are appropriate for a conservative housewife who is trying not to lose her sense of style along with her waistline?
As with most trend topics, I would say these answers depend on your lifestyle, location, comfort level, and body shape. Let’s break it down.
First, let’s talk about the dressy shorts trend. A couple summers ago, I started noticing dressy shorts worn with heels and a cute top for a night out. For some reason, I loved the look. It just was fresh and new and fun, and I finally got bold enough to try it.
I bought a pair of white dress shorts at Ann Taylor before a blogging conference and wore them for the first time with wedge sandals and a cute black top with ruffle detail to daytime conference events. At first I felt awkward, but I loved the look so much that I soon got used to it and found myself using any opportunity to wear the outfit. Before I knew it, I was wearing the look for date nights and even business dinners.
I think dressy shorts can be age appropriate and stylish if they’re the right length and they fit well. If you don’t think you can pull it off with heels, feel free to wear a pair of dressy flat sandals. You will still get the same effect, and it’s always important to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing.
For the record, in the photos above, I don’t feel that the coral shorts are nearly as flattering as the white ones. They weren’t as good quality, for one thing. The thinner fabric wrinkles easier and doesn’t hold its shape as well as the thicker fabric of the whites ones. Every woman has different proportions, but for me, I feel best in shorts that are what I’d call a mid-length. They hit about halfway up the thigh. If they were any longer, they would look dowdy, but if they were shorter, I’d feel like a hoochie mama (ha!) You can get away with shorter shorts if you’re wearing flat shoes, and/or if your legs are on the shorter side.
Not everyone will feel comfortable in dressy shorts, and that’s okay. I do think at some level you have to like your legs. It’s a fun option, and if you want to try it, I say go for it. Just make sure you pay attention to fit.
The first pair of shorts I bought that weren’t knee-length were a pair of khaki cuffed shorts at Banana Republic. I believe I got them about three years ago. I remember that it felt like a big decision. Was I really willing to go back to shorts? Nearing 40, a woman starts to think about these things. Can I still get away with them? These were pretty modest and a good place to start. Not too short, not too tight, they were easy to wear and very comfortable. I wore them for a couple of seasons before adding anymore shorts to my wardrobe.
Then last summer I got really brave and bought a pair of denim cut-offs. I’ll admit, I felt pretty silly wearing them at first. I almost didn’t buy them, but once I tried them on just for kicks, I loved them so much, I decided to give them a try. They seemed perfect for lazy summer days at home. I ended up wearing them about three times a week all summer long.
After that I added a few more shorts to my wardrobe. I didn’t want to spend a lot so I bought most at Old Navy. I ended up wearing them a ton. Shorts and tops are now pretty much my casual summertime uniform.
Shorts: Getting the Right Fit
Again, fit is important. You don’t want your shorts too baggy. I don’t really like the ones on the far right for that reason. They are actually a size larger than the other shorts, because I was trying to find the right fit for the waistline.
Then again, you definitely don’t want your shorts so tight that they ride up in unfortunate places, ahem. (Make sure to check out your rear view, ladies!!) I actually had to ditch a couple pairs of shorts because the rear view was not a pretty sight.
If you’re a mom and carry a bit of extra volume in the middle as many of us do after carrying babies, you may have to work a bit harder to find the right fit. It takes some trial and error, like most things.
Again, the proper length will depends on each woman’s proportions as well as the height of heel you’re wearing. There is some range you can work with. I clearly have some that are shorter than others. I actually think the shorter ones are more flattering, but I’m more careful where I wear them, and those I only wear with flats.
The Right Top
The other thing to consider when wearing shorts is your top. You don’t want it too long, as that will create irregular proportions. I also find that I’m more comfortable in tops that aren’t as tight as I might wear with jeans or longer shorts.
You may find that it works better to tuck your top into your shorts. This was new to me, as I haven’t been a tucker for years, but as usual in the world of fashion, what goes around comes around, and tucking shirts in — either all around or just in the front — is on trend again.
Shorts for Moms
If you’re in the market for shorts this summer, here are some you may want to try. Banana Republic has a large selection of shorts, and they are a very nice length — not too short but not too long. Ann Taylor has a few shorts styles right now, and from my experience, they are very good quality, especially if you want a pair of dressier shorts. Check Gap for more casual shorts styles. They have some boyfriend roll-up shorts, printed shorts and lots of choices for denim shorts — both short and long, and every shade of wash under the sun. Target has a lot of cute styles too!
Do you wear shorts? What are your best tips??