Shorts are a warm weather staple that allows women to flaunt their legs while still looking stylish. As shorts have exploded in popularity over recent years, the options available have become more varied than ever before. While having lots of choices is great, it can also make finding the right pair of shorts feel overwhelming. The key is to find shorts that fit and flatter your specific body type.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through how to choose shorts that complement your shape. You’ll also learn the answers to all your burning shorts-related questions. Arm yourself with the knowledge, confidence and shorts that make you feel comfortable and confident when temperatures rise.
The Best Shorts Styles for Any Body Type
Shorts come in an array of styles, ranging from ultra short-shorts to knee-skimming bermudas. With so many options, how do you even begin to choose? Start by identifying your body shape. Once you understand your silhouette, you can look for shorts styles specifically designed to flatter and complement your unique curves.
A-Line Shorts for Pear Shapes
If you carry more weight in your hips and thighs than your upper body, you likely identify as a pear shape. The goal when dressing a pear shape is to balance the lower body while accentuating the slimmer waist. An A-line shorts shape does exactly that.
A-line shorts are shaped like the letter A, fitted at the hip and gradually widening toward the hem. This creates the appearance of shapely hips balanced with fuller thighs. Meanwhile, the shorts nip in at the smallest part of your waist, drawing the eye upward.
When shopping for A-line shorts, look for a high waistband that emphasizes your slimmest point. A-line shorts should reach somewhere between upper thigh and just above the knee, depending on your comfort level. Mini A-line shorts also look great on pear shapes. Just pair them with dark tights or leggings for more coverage.
High-Waisted Shorts for Apple Shapes
As an apple shape with more weight around the midsection, your goal is to draw the eye both up and down to create the illusion of a defined waist. High-waisted shorts accomplish this beautifully.
Look for shorts reaching 1-3 inches above your belly button. This will elongate your torso while showcasing your legs. Aim for shorts hitting mid-thigh since this is the most leg-lengthening spot.
High-waisted shorts should fit snugly around the waist and hips to emphasize your curves. But the leg opening should not cling tightly, or this can create unflattering bulges at the thigh. A slight flare or boot cut works well.
Dark denim and trouser style high-waisted shorts are perfect for dressing up your look. Just pair them with a tucked-in blouse and heels. For casual days, try destroyed denim or cotton shorts with a tucked tee or tank.
Loose Shorts for Hourglass Figures
Lucky hourglass figures have an evenly proportioned upper and lower body with a cinched waist. When picking shorts, you want to show off those signature curves in all the right places.
Avoid super tight shorts which can create unflattering bulges around the hips and thighs. Instead, look for shorts in soft fabrics like stretch cotton or linen with a relaxed, loose fit in the leg. These will drape smoothly over your hips and thighs.
Mid-rise shorts that hit just below the belly button are great for hourglass figures since they highlight your shapely waist. Boyfriend style loose shorts offer comfortable coverage while still showing off your hourglass shape.
Pair looser fitting shorts with form-fitted tops like camisoles or slim cut t-shirts. This contrast showcases both your waist definition and fuller lower body.
Bermuda Shorts for Rectangle Shapes
As a rectangle shape with less defined waist curves, the ideal shorts will add shape by cinching in at the waistband. Bermuda shorts sitting 1-3 inches below the belly button do just that.
Bermuda shorts hit anywhere from the top of the knee to just above the knee. This longer length creates the illusion of curvier hips while showing some leg.
Aim for structured shorts in medium to heavyweight fabrics like denim or twill. The weight of the fabric along with seaming details will further define the waist and hips.
Pair longer Bermuda shorts with a tucked in blouse to emphasize the waist. Heels also help create balance between the elongated lower half and slimmer upper body.
How to Choose the Most Flattering Women’s Shorts
Now that you know which silhouettes work best for your figure, let’s talk about the elements that make up your perfect pair of shorts. Follow these guidelines when browsing the racks to find shorts that fit and flatter your body just right.
Find the Best Length for Your Body
Shorts range dramatically in length, from booty-skimming hot pants to knee-grazing bermudas. The most flattering length for you depends on your height and proportions.
Petite women look great in short shorts hitting a couple inches below the butt or longer 5-6 inch inseams ending mid-thigh. Shorter shorts help elongate the legs. If you’re on the tall side, longer shorts in 8-10 inch inseams are more proportional.
Higher cut shorts tend to be more flattering on most body types since they show off more leg. But go for the length you feel most comfortable rocking. Try on a few different lengths to see what feels best.
Focus on Fabrics That Feel Fantastic
Nothing ruins a cute pair of shorts like an uncomfortable scratchy fabric. Focus your search on shorts made from soft, breathable fabrics.
Natural fiber fabrics like linen, cotton and rayon feel great against the skin and offer cooling ventilation. Lightweight cotton blends and stretch linen have just the right amount of give to move with you.
Denim and chino shorts look polished while twill fabric adds structure. Just be sure to try them on, as stiffer fabrics can sometimes feel restrictive.
Find the Right Rise for Your Shape
The rise refers to how high the shorts come up on your waist. Low, mid and high rise shorts all create different proportions.
Low rise shorts sit below the belly button, usually around 3 inches down from the waist. They elongate the legs which is great for petite figures. But lower rise shorts may not be as comfortable if you carry more weight around the stomach.
Mid-rise shorts strike in the middle, hitting around 1-3 inches below the belly button. This versatile rise works on most body types.
High rise shorts end 1-3 inches above the belly button. They emphasize your waist and elongate the torso. High rise is perfect for apple shapes.
Look For the Best Fit
No matter your size, shorts should fit smoothly without tightness or gapping. Look for shorts with a bit of stretch or sizing options that allow you to go up or down a size for ideal fit.
The waistband should be snug enough to stay up without digging in. Make sure there’s no front gaping which signals the shorts are too big.
In the hips and thighs, shorts shouldn’t be painfully tight. With movement, well-fitting shorts will skim over curves, not cut in.
Try on shorts when you initially buy them and be prepared to break out a tailor for small adjustments. Properly fitted shorts will be your best friend all season long.
Answering Common Women’s Shorts Questions
You’ve got the shorts that fit your frame flawlessly. Now here are the answers to your other pressing shorts questions:
What Underwear Should You Wear?
Visible panty lines are the enemy of cute shorts. Seamless thongs and briefs are your best bet. Look for nude shades that match your skin tone. If you don’t love thongs, seamless cheeky briefs also prevent panty lines.
When wearing loose shorts, you can get away with smooth seamless boyshorts as long as they don’t peek out beneath your shorts leg. Avoid any underwear with thick seams or bands around the legs.
How Can You Prevent Chafing?
The dreaded chub rub is real, folks. When your thighs rub together, the friction can lead to painful chafing. Brands like Megababe and Body Glide make anti-chafe balms that create a barrier between your thighs. Apply it to inner thighs and anywhere else prone to rubbing.
Spandex shorts and boxer briefs worn underneath your outer shorts also prevent skin-on-skin contact. Look for moisture wicking fabrics to keep friction at bay.
How Should You Wash Shorts?
Check the fabric care tag before washing. Most everyday cotton, linen and denim shorts can handle a machine wash cycle on cold water. Stick to mild detergent, never bleach.
If shorts have special details like embroidery or distressing, hand washing preserves the details. Make sure to read individual care instructions.
Either machine or air dry shorts to prevent shrinking. Never put shorts in the dryer, which can distort the shape over time.
Can You Wear Shorts to Work?
During summer, shorts become a tempting option for office attire. But you have to tread carefully. Denim and athletic shorts are a definite no-go in conservative offices.
Your best bets are structured shorts in polished fabrics like twill and lightweight wool. Aim for tailored Bermuda shorts or knee-length walking styles. Pair them with a blazer and heels for a pulled together business shorts outfit.
If your office dress code is business casual, dark wash denim shorts with a nice blouse can work for Friday wear. Ask your manager about guidelines if unsure.
What Shoes Go With Shorts?
One of the best parts of shorts outfits is showing off cute footwear. Sandals, from flat slides to wedge espadrilles, complement shorts perfectly.
Loafers and oxfords add a tomboy vibe to both dressy and casual shorts. Sneakers keep sporty denim shorts ultra laidback.
Strappy heels dress up high-waisted shorts for evening. Wedges and chunky block heels work for daytime shorts outfits.
Just steer clear of skechers-esque athletic shoes which clash with shorts’ relaxed vibe.
I hope this guide provided you with all the tools to find your new favorite pair of shorts this season. Remember to look for the right silhouette, rise, length and fit to complement your body shape. Focus on soft, breathable fabrics so you stay comfy. And rock shorts with confidence knowing they fit you beautifully.
With your perfect shorts, a cool tank or tee, and cute shoes, you’re ready to take on summer in style. So get out there and embrace the fresh air in shorts that help you look and feel your best!