How to Wear Shorts and Look Effortlessly Chic

How to wear shorts and look really good? It's not as hard these days as it once seemed. It'd be easy to save shorts solely for days at the beach, and yes, there was a time when shorts only fell within the remit of the seaside and festivals, but recently they’ve taken on a new identity—one that’s elegant, classic and most importantly, city-suitable and therefore work-appropriate.

Let’s be clear: it’s not about reclassifying shredded jean shorts as formalwear. That won't ever happen. It’s about looking at the alternatives designers and high street stores are offering, like tailored silhouettes, smart cuts, strong colours and luxe denim versions. Take those and then further elevate them with some styling nous, et voilá, you have yourself a very classy set of ways to get your pins out this summer. To find out how to make shorts chic and shop for some of the best, keep scrolling.

Rule #1: Embrace the Midi Short

Photo:

Kirstin Sinclair / Getty

We all know midi dresses and skirts continue to have their moment, but why not extend the idea to shorts? Do so and you arrive at the halfway-house between the skirt and the trouser—a comfortable place to be.

In pinstripes or dark colours—black, grey, navy—it has all the attitude of the trouser suit and more. It says risk-taker, forward-thinker, and it’s board room-appropriate when paired with tailoring and smart shoes (no flip flops) for sure.

Rule #2: Opt For a Short Suit

Photo:

Kirsten Sinclair / Getty

If you want to go for shorter tailored shorts you'll find that a matching jacket goes a long way to looking pulled-together. Where you may run into trouble is with certain patterns—gingham, for instance, would be a bit hard on the eye. Not so for monochrome combos, so make like Aimee Song and pick one flattering hue.

Rule #3: Think About Longer Layers

Photo:

Vanni Bassetti / Getty

Shorts show off your legs more so than skirts and because of which, they are decidedly more risqué. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear them to smart events, just take care to style them thoughtfully. Team them a high-neck top or a silk shirt and layer with a longer jacket. The overall look says sensible, yet sassy.

Rule #4: Go Androgynous

Photo:

Wayne Tippetts/REX/Shutterstock

Masculine-feminine dressing has forever been the epitome of sophistication and just because it’s often associated with oversizing, there’s no reason a more snug pair of fitted, knee-length shorts can’t fall into this remit. Take a shirt, tuck it—chino shorts would work well—and complete the outfit with a pair of brogues. Tomboyish but totally doable.

Rule #5: Be Bold and Colour-Block

Photo:

David X Prutting/BFA.com/REX/Shutterstock

Colour-blocking works well with shorts as it diverts attention from the leg and draws the eye towards the garment itself. Reds blue and white suggest a touch of Parisian style—immediately elegant—whilst brighter hues will conjure up instant holiday vibes even if you're stuck in the Big Smoke.

Rule #6: Choose High-Waisted

Photo:

Vanni Bassetti / Getty

Just wearing a high-waisted cut is an easy route to smartening up shorts. Balnce out that waist-nipping with an off-shoulder top or a billowing blouse. Here, it is possible to wear denim and still look chic; but veer away from rips and distressed, faded washes—a dark indigo denim will always look more polished.

Ahoy matey! These nautical-inspired shorts are just so cute.

Trust Isabel Marant to bring a statement to the simplest of tomboy shorts.

The A-line cut of these make them very friendly on the thighs.

Add a white shirt, blazer blazer and smart shoes for a work-ready look.

White denim can be a great option on those really hot days.

We hope you've got a party to go to, because these are a great option.

The rope belt gives these a very S/S 16 vibe.

These chicest denim shorts we've seen, by far. And they're on sale.

The side panels here are deceptively leg-slimming.

How do you wear your shorts? Let us know in the comments box below.