A Guide to Shorts

From my office here on College Avenue right across the street from the University of Delaware, I’m treated to a daily fashion show by all of the college-age fashionistas who pass my door. Good, bad, cute, ridiculous, I have seen it all, often in the space of a single class change.

Now that the temperatures and the hemlines have shot up for spring, I’m seeing a whole lot more. Frankly, it isn’t pretty. The “What Not To Wear” team could film a whole season of shows after spending just five minutes on campus.

So what’s wrong?

Well, lots. But since this issue is about shorts, let’s focus our attention there. Many of the gaffs I’m seeing apply readily to women of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and can be easily remedied with just a little bit of information.

All bodies are not created equal, and nothing drives home that point more than the minimal clothing worn in warm weather. So if you want to look like you have a good body, even if you don’t, choose your pieces carefully.

Here are some guidelines on selecting the best short styles for you, from least amount of coverage to greatest amount of coverage.


Sometimes referred to as “Daisy Dukes” depending on where you live, these short shorts look best on bodies with thin hips, long, thin legs, and no cellulite.  Their box shape widens and shortens, so on bodies that have wide hips or thick thighs, they’ll make them look wider and thicker.


The general name given to shorts that hit approximately mid-thigh, classic shorts (also known as Jamaica shorts) look good on a variety of body shapes – provided the leg of the short is the same shape as the leg of the wearer.


Featuring an elasticized band and typically soft, drapey fabric, relaxed shorts in a classic length tend to flatter many body shapes – again, provided the leg of the short is the same shape as the leg of the wearer.  Relaxed shorts are only appropriate for the most casual of affairs, and are a favorite for exercise and sports. 


Bermuda shorts are those that hit just above the knee.  A favorite of the over-50 crowd because of how they cover, Bermudas look best on trim thighs and long, thin legs.  Because of where they hit, they tend to make short and heavy legs look shorter and heavier.

Since the classic mid-thigh length tends to be the most flattering on the largest number of people, look for shorts in that length.  Also opt for plain styles with simple hems.  Cuffs, pockets, pleats, etc., all tend to add unwanted bulk, so be cautious when considering styles with those design elements.

Also, remember that your shoe choice will have an impact on your overall look, so opt for shoes that further elongate the leg, like minimalist sandals, flip flops, or closed-toe shoes that blend well with your skin tone.

So what if you’re the type of gal who wouldn’t be caught dead in shorts?  Try Capris instead.  They’re summery AND modest. 

Finding the best shorts for your body type is easy when you know what to look for.  Opt for styles that offer adequate coverage, fit well around the waist, and have a leg shape that matches the shape of your leg. 

Stylish and comfortable:  it’s the only way to beat the heat!

Wardrobe MagicNeed some more help in determining which shapes of clothes suit you best?  Download a copy of WARDROBE MAGIC,


to see how easy dressing well can be.


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