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Shorts for every body shape

woman wearing blue jean shorts with embroidered flowers on leg and white crochet top

Finding a pair of casual shorts that flatters your figure and highlights all your best assets is tricky. Unlike your favorite pair of skinny jeans that fit like a glove, shorts tend to ride up against your thighs, showing off parts that you may not actually want on display.

Instead of walking around with chaffed legs or avoiding shorts altogether, we’ve put together a formula to help women like you shop for a pair that plays up your body type.

Here are four styles that will flatter your figure:

1. Short

For all you petite gals out there, elongate your bottom half with a slightly shorter (but appropriate) pair of shorts. This will create the illusion of longer legs. But don’t go too short, as you want to make sure your bum isn’t on display. Go for a pair of tailored shorts with clean hems. This creates a more polished and professional look, as opposed to an overly frayed pair of jean shorts. Slip on some wedges or strappy high heels to give those petite legs of yours even more length. Balance out your look with a short tank or button-down blouse that is tucked in.

woman wearing blue jean shorts with embroidered flowers on leg and white crochet top
Woodstock Short

2. Mid-length

When in doubt, go with a pair of mid-length shorts. This style is middle ground, so keep this rule of thumb in mind to avoid choosing a pair that is too short or too long. They won’t ride up your thighs and will successfully provide full coverage. Additionally, mid-length shorts are universally flattering – you’ll never go wrong here. If you want some extra flair find a pair of shorts that are slightly distressed. Pair it with a basic T-shirt and your favorite spring sandals for a casual yet fashionable look.

woman wearing white shirt and teal, button leg knee-length shorts
Button-Leg Bermuda Short

3. Low-waisted

If you have a short torso, you’re able to pull off a low-waisted pair of shorts more fittingly than any other body type. This style bottom creates the impression of an extended mid-section, so steer clear of high-waisters – those will make your torso appear even shorter. To give the illusion of more length, tuck in a fitted camisole or T-shirt and cinch your waist with a leather belt. Be sure your shirt isn’t too short, or you’ll be walking around with a bare midriff. Cover up with a jean or leather jacket.

woman wearing black, button leg capri pants, white shirt and black and white slip on wedges
Button-Leg Capri

4. High-waisted

Ladies with a long waist and short legs look great in a pair of high-waisted shorts. This style provides balance and helps proportion your body a bit more. High-waisted shorts will give you legs for days and shorten your torso a bit. Tuck in a long-sleeved blouse, and add a belt to complete the look. Wearing heels can be a bit much with those shorts, so slip on a pair of flats instead.

woman wearing black knee-high boots, black gaucho pants and zebra print top
Trouser Waist Gaucho

Four general rules to follow:

  1. Simply focus on areas of your body you want to elongate. This helps illustrate the style and length of shorts you should go for.
  2. If you have a straight frame with narrow hips, wear a pair of flowy shorts with detailing like pockets or pleats. Ladies with love handles, steer clear of this – it will add extra volume around your hips.
  3. Side zippers will make your hips look slim, so if you’re on the curvier side, stock up on this style.
  4. Your top should be proportional to your shorts. Avoid wearing a long blouse with short shorts and, conversely, refrain from wearing a short top with a pair of high-waisted shorts.

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Published on Feb 24 2021

Last Updated on May 24 2021

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