How To: Select Some Shorts

Having spent my formative years in the 80s, I tend to be drawn to anything that boasts an alligator, polo horse or Nantucket Red. Tretorns? Had them. Benetton rugby shirt? Check. Polo shirts with the collars up? Yep. I even wore two at a time. In the summer. The New England summer. The hot, humid New England summer. All of which culminated in one of the proudest moments in my life – when I was voted “Preppiest” in my 8th grade class. Boy, was that awesome!

Well, I still have a healthy dash of preppy in my system, which is why I’m loving shorts this summer. I’ve found so many deliciously preppy shorts – kelly green, baby blue seersucker, soft violet – that I feel like I’ve fallen back in time. But without the Aquanet hairspray, of course.

But picking the right pair of shorts isn’t always easy, especially with so many different lengths from which to choose. So let’s talk shorts shopping!

Flat’s Where It’s At. First, go for flat front shorts. Similar to pants and skirts, pleated shorts added extra bulk to waist area. Flat front shorts are more slimming, and allow you to pair them with shirts tucked in or out. I love these flat-front Old Navy shorts in cobalt blue.

Old Navy shorts

Not Seamless. Shorts come in a variety of inseam lengths, so it’s important to try a variety of different lengths to find the one that looks best on you. Here are a couple rules of thumb:

  • Aim for the hem to end above or below the widest part of your leg to avoid making your thighs look larger than they really are. Since my thigh shape starts wider near my torso and gets narrower by my knee, I go for a 5″ or 7″ inseam.
  • Don’t forget to take a seat while trying on those shorts. Make sure you are comfortable with where the hem lies when you are standing up and sitting down. And that’s why I avoid all 3″ inseams!
  • Very in-tune with my preppy roots, here’s a great pair of Lilly Pulitzer 5″ inseam shorts, in a very fun hot pink.

Lilly Pulitzer shorts

Choice Choice. Shorts come in a myriad of styles, so you have lots of choice when it comes to finding the perfect fit. Bermuda, Board, Cargos, Jean, Culottes, Running, Cut-offs…the list goes on and on.

  • Again, remember the hem when trying different styles. Take into account your entire leg as you try on different styles. Since I have athletic calves (and am proud of them!), I stay away from Bermuda shorts because the hem comes to my knees.
  • My favorite short style – the skort!  You get the flexibility of shorts but with a more refined look, so an easy way to transition from a hike to high tea. I love this LL Bean skort (nothing says preppy like LL Bean) with its little bit of flounce.

LL Bean Skort

What’s your favorite style?


July 20, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . How To.

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