Shorts are one clothing item that I rarely wear. For years I didn’t even own a single pair of shorts. Earlier this year, I bought a pair as part of a costume, and I have worn them a lot since then. As it’s summer here in the Southern Hemisphere, shorts are cropping up all over the place. While some people wear shorts very stylishly, others seem to miss the mark. Even though shorts might seem like an easy, breezy garment, there are a couple of rules that come with them.
For starters, I like to employ a rule that if my bottom half is on display, then my top half should be relatively covered. I call this the “legs or boobs’ rule. Basically, if you’re wearing shorts, and you’ve got your pins out for everyone to see, it’s best to avoid plunging necklines or midriffs. I tend to think it looks a lot sexier to show off one body part at a time, rather than putting all your goods in the store window. If you show off too much skin, it’s easy to look a little bit skanky. As shorts can be quite revealing, it’s best to wear them with a long tee shirt, a sweet blouse or even a tunic-style top. Shorts also look good with longer-sleeved tops. Shorts and crop tops don’t mix. I can’t count the number of girls I’ve seen lately strutting around wearing bum-grazing shorts and miniscule off-the-shoulder crop tops. It looks cheap and awful. Ditto those singlet tops with the low-cut neckline and armholes so massive you could pass a watermelon through them with no effort. If you’re going to show off your legs, you don’t need your boobs poking out through your sleeves or your tummy on display as well. There’s a limit to how much skin you can show before you start to look a little like a hooker.
Shorts look great with most styles of shoe. I tend to think that denim shorts look best with flat sandals or sneakers, as they are more casual. If you wear heels with denim shorts, you run the risk of looking like Daisy Duke. Flat boots also look great with punk-rock ensembles, and a low wedge heel can look sweet when paired with denim shorts and a cute tee shirt. Tailored shorts are a bit dressier, and will look classy when paired with ballet flats. You can wear heels with shorts, but only if the shorts are tailored and well-fitting, and if you cover up your top half. If you choose a pair of heels in a similar colour to your shorts, it will make your legs look longer.
I tend to steer clear of shorts because I feel strange with my legs exposed. If you feel the same, why not add a touch of quirkiness to your shorts by pairing them with some funky socks? You can also layer a pair of printed or coloured tights under your shorts for extra coverage.
High-waisted shorts look brilliant with vintage-style ensembles. Simply add a pussy-bow blouse, a sweet hat and classic jewellery for a look that is reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn. If you are self-conscious of your legs, a pair of high-waisted shorts will give the illusion of longer pins.
Shorts will be most flattering when the hem hits the narrowest point of your thighs. For most women, this point is a few inches above the knee, just before your thigh begins to widen. If you select a pair of shorts that reaches this point, rather than a pair that skims your buttocks, they will be a lot more flattering. If you have wider hips, try a pair of shorts that has a slight bell shape to them, rather than a tapered shape. This will balance out your hips. No-one should go for shorts that are so tiny that your backside hangs out the bottom. Those cutoffs that have the pockets hanging out the bottom seam are also awful. No matter how great your legs are, these styles are inappropriate and dare I say, trashy. There’s something to be said for covering up a bit. These styles are fine for wearing around the house and to the beach, and that’s about it.
Don’t be afraid to embellish your shorts. Add button badges, lace trim, ribbons, brooches or belts to add interest to your outfit. This is a great way to jazz up a pair of basic shorts, and make them look a little bit different every time you wear them.
You don’t have to limit yourself to plain-coloured shorts either. There are some brilliant prints out there. Try polka-dots, stripes, floral or even animal prints for something daring. If you would rather stick to a staple colour, break your comfort zone by buying a pair of shorts in an unusual fabric, such as silk or satin.
Shorts can be worn a million different ways to suit your personal style. If you remember not to show too much skin and choose the right shoes, you’ll always look great no matter what you pair your shorts with.