How to Style Shorts


how to style shorts so you don't look shorter

It’s summer here in Australia and I’m seeing lots of shorts when I’m out and about. I’m wearing them myself too!

Now shorts can be a tricky garment to wear and feel that they flatter you. Sure I’ve got shorts that I wear to go running and shorts that I wear to do gardening, but they certainly aren’t the most glamorous shorts, more a functional rather than dress short.

But on a hot day, a pair of shorts can be a great garment to choose No problems with thighs rubbing uncomfortably (cos seriously, who actually has thigh gap?). You want the comfort and convenience of shorts but how to wear them?

How to Style Shorts

1. Shorts are, shortening, elongate with colour. They are basically a garment that is almost always wider than it is long (which tends to have a widening effect). So what you wear with them can make a big difference to whether or not you appear shorter and wider, or taller and slimmer. Slightly longer shorts can help in this equation, but my favourite way to wear shorts is with a column of colour.

how to style shorts - use a column of colour

Here I’ve teamed a white top with white shorts to create that elongating column of colour.

2. Go for a lower contrast between top and bottom.  Here I’ve created a quasi column by wearing a lower contrast top in colours that relates to the shorts, without creating a strong horizontal break between the garments. Remember if you need to add contrast you can do so with jewellery, layers such as a cami under, or a third piece over.

how to style shorts for summer so you don't look short

3. Wear a wedge or flatform shoe.  This helps to make your legs look longer (and face it, there aren’t too many of us who don’t want longer legs).  This is particularly important if you don’t want to wear a low vamp shoe (such as a ballet flat, or low vamp sandal) which are other shoe options.  The height of the wedge or flatform will help to give your legs back length that the high vamp cuts off.

Accessorize with necklaces

4. Don’t forget to accessorize.  Just because they’re shorts doesn’t mean it has to be a sloppy outfit.  Yes shorts are a more casual garment, so don’t wear all your sparkly jewellery with them, but some polished stones (like my turquoise beads) or a wooden necklace will create a finished outfit, or alternatively a lovely light summer scarf could be a great option.

Now I know that many of you will be asking “But Imogen, what length short should I wear?” To answer that, on the whole, somewhere between mid-thigh and above the knee, your leg shape will partly dictate what suits best, and that is not related to body shape.  Go and try some on.  Just remember, the wider the short, the wider you look.

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Linking this post to:  Top of the World, My Refined Style,  iwillwearwhatilikeVisible MondayLet It ShineMonday MingleStyle SessionsTurning Heads TuesdayTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayBrilliant Blog PostsThrowback ThursdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday’s Fab FavouritesStyle Stories, FlatbumMumThe FABulous Journey,Mummy’s Got Style


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Great suggestions. I struggle with shorts the most out of any other clothing item. Of course we are in winter, but good information to keep in mind as Summer is the only part of my wardrobe I need to examine and rework.

  • I’m with Tracey. I haven’t worn shorts for years, opting instead for capris or skirts in the summer.

    Imogen, you talk about leg shape dictating what length of shorts look best. Are there any general guidelines for what style of shorts looks best with what shape? I am a short hourglass type with Jessica Rabbit-esque legs, but without the length! I vaguely remember a style of shorts about 20 years ago that had an A-line shape and was flattering, but I haven’t seen those for years.

    On a related note, why is it harder to find flattering shorts than flattering skirts? Is it simply that there are more choices in skirt styles, or is it because shorts have a seam down the center?

    • Shorts often have pockets on the thighs – either creating extra bulk from the extra fabric, or if they are patch pockets, extra horizontals. They are already a short garment – shorter than most of the skirts we might wear past our teens and early 20s, which also can have a widening effect. Plus you have the issue of the rise (which like pants) makes them much harder to fit – so purchase.

      I will try and do a post on leg shape – that is really important – as are proportions (more than body shape).

  • “I will try and do a post on leg shape – that is really important – as are proportions (more than body shape).”

    Yes please, Imogen! As an x shape and dedicated skirt wearer, I am feeling gloomy about my upcoming annual school camp transition into ‘frumpy shorts-wearing teacher’.

    • My friend is a teacher and she found some perfect sporty dark denim shorts at Jeans West – enough coverage and a flattering cut . I suggest looking at their “boyfriend shorts” but they also have shorts in “curvy”.

      If you’ve got any suggestions for size 14 summer dresses for teaching please let us know – so hard to find one which is not mini, suitable for wearing in front of a class all day and comfortable for moving around in.

      • Can I suggest you look at Leona Edmiston’s range of dresses – they are wash and wear, need no ironing and you are covered up. They are sold through Myer as well as her own stores.

  • Imogen, I just wanted to mention how stunning you look in the second photo with your hair up. Its amazing how much a hairstyle can change one’s appearance. It took a moment for me to realise that it was you!

    • Thanks Beth – funny the other day I had my hair in a ponytail and my ex-husband asked my kids (he was driving them home in the car and passed me walking down the street) if I had shaved my head!

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