How to Find the Right Style of Shorts for Your Body
Yes, you can wear shorts. Whatever your shorts phobia—from exposing knobby knees to calling attention to your thighs—we’ve got you covered. We’ve found 16 flattering, grown-up styles you’ll actually be excited to wear.
Up-to-here shorts are universally flattering: They make legs look longer and can either hide a belly or lend curves to a stick-straight figure.
These trouser shorts are so sleek (thanks to the booty-skimming lining), they look polished enough for the office.
Buy: jcrew.com, $70
The lightweight linen has just enough structure and will keep you cool.
Buy: bodenusa.com, $70
If you don’t have a lot of curves, create the illusion with front pleats that help frame your body.
Buy: zara.com, $40
Date Night Approved
Your kid’s thought bubble when you wear these leather-look belted shorts: “Mom still has an edge!”
Buy: White House Black Market, whbm.com, $84
Skorts give you the comfort and practicality of traditional shorts (no chafing thighs!) with the polish of a skirt in the front. Plus, they let you pull off a shorter hemline without fear of flashing anyone!
A row of buttons leading up to the high waist makes your legs look roughly a mile long. (When this one goes missing, check your daughter’s room first.)
Buy: Finders Keepers, us.fashionbunker.com, $120
Stretch It Out
The faux wrap and crepe fabric make it mod; the deep pockets and elastic waistband make it all-day comfortable.
Buy: Babaton for Aritzia, aritzia.com, $128
The skirt is made of stretchy lightweight material, while the built-in under short is extremely breathable—and it’s UPF 50+ to boot.
Buy: athleta.gap.com, $69
The scalloped hem instantly dresses up this tech-fabric skort. Pair it with a tank on the weekends—and a blouse for 9 to 5.
Buy: vineyardvines.com, $98
Wide-leg styles are (lovably) loose and free-flowing—a welcome relief in summer humidity. Better still? They’re forgiving around the hips, butt and thighs
Legs for Days
Vertical stripes can make you look almost as tall as your bean-pole son, and the smooth, pocket-free side seams will be your hips’ new BFFs.
Buy: lulus.com, $39
Show Some Flare
The drawstring waist highlights the smallest part of your body, creating an hourglass silhouette, no shapewear required.
Buy: JW Anderson x Uniqlo, uniqlo.com, $30
This crisp cotton option is full like a gathered skirt—but, being shorts, won’t lead to any Marilyn Monroe peep-show moments.
Buy: French Connection, lordandtaylor.com, $98
Leave the Daisy Dukes to your teen daughter. These splurge-worthy denim shorts are decidedly more grown-up, with roomy pleats and a tie waist that accommodate real-woman curves.
Buy: dl1961.com, $169
If you need to baby-step into this whole shorts thing, go for Bermudas. They’re slim through the hips, with lots of coverage on your thighs (hiding cellulite, pesky spider veins, etc.). Just think of them as capris...only a little shorter.
Not all cutoffs need to look like they got caught in the lawnmower (like, ahem, your daughter’s pair). These are long and comfortable, with the subtlest amount of distressing.
Buy: mavi.com, $78
You know how you crave the comfort of yoga leggings at the end of a long day? You’ll get the same feeling from these stretchy—yet dressy—pull-on shorts.
Buy: Lisette-L Montreal, lisettel.com, $114
Pastel colors take denim shorts to the dressier place—so go ahead and wear them out to brunch.
Buy: jjill.com, $64
These 10-inch chinos provide all the upper-thigh coverage you want but still show off the rest of your legs.
Buy: llbean.com, $55