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Alternatives to basic summer shorts

 / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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We may be in the middle of the “dog days” of summer, but that is no reason to sacrifice looking pulled together.  This season, replace the boring — and sometimes unflattering — basic shorts look with a fashion-forward style of shorts, miniskirt or dress. Emily Richeda shares smart alternatives for those who want to look hot but still stay cool this season

Bermuda ShortsShorts create instant horizontal lines across the thighs, and women with shorter legs risk looking “stumpy” when they wear the wrong cut of shorts.  Avoid baggy styles with large cuffs because they draw attention to legs, rather than elongating a woman’s silhouette.  To elongate legs, try a slim-fitting neutral-colored Bermuda short style that hits just above the knee.  In addition, wearing something bright or patterned on top draws the focus to your face, giving the illusion of being taller.Outfit:  Diane von Furstenberg Navy Bermuda Shorts, $190 (DVF the Shop, 874 Washington Street, New York);Diane von Furstenberg Printed Top, $175 (DVF the Shop, 874 Washington Street, New York)

City Shorts
Keeping cool while still looking professional can be challenging in the middle of July.  Although comfortable, capris can be unflattering if the pants’ length cuts directly across the calf.  In addition, the mid-calf length works against elongating the figure.  This summer, try city shorts as a modern and stylish alternative to a skirt or pants; pair them with a feminine blouse, a structured bag and heels to dress up the look. Outfit: Banana Republic Martin wool-blend textured short, $78 (); Banana Republic silk dot-print flutter top, $68 (); Banana Republic Somerset large satchel, $228;  Bracelet: Alexis Bittar Silver Lucite bangle, $125 (www.alexisbittar.com)

Miniskirt
Women blessed with great legs should absolutely show them off this summer!  While short shorts are a bold choice, they can draw attention away from a complete look especially if they are too form-fitting or paired with a top that is too long.  Women should try a miniskirt, such as an A-line style that sits a few inches below the navel and fits well across the hips.  Paired with a short-sleeved top, women can achieve a smooth, figure flattering silhouette.

Outfit: Old Navy Pleated Wrap Mini, $19.50 (); Old Navy Square Neck Top, $19.50 (); Shoes: Tribeca Wonder Wedge, $69 (Nordstrom stores);

Patterned Shirtdress
Patterns are a great trend this summer; however, it is important to remember that the eye is naturally drawn to a busy or colorful print.  Printed shorts can accentuate the thighs and hips.  Instead, spread the pattern out with a simple shirtdress silhouette.  This feminine take on the menswear trend is a flattering way to wear a busy pattern.  Women should remember that length is key and a shirtdress should hit just above the knee – any shorter and it will look like you stole your boyfriend’s shirt!

Outfit: J. Crew Sparkle Plaid Shirtdress, $160 (); Mossimo for Target Strappy Wedge Heels in Brown, $24.99 (); Earrings: Alexis Bittar small gold Lucite horn earring, $125 (www.alexisbittar.com)

Bright Jewel Tones
Women too often are afraid of making a bold statement or standing out by wearing colors, so they opt for a short and top in muted pastels or khaki.  This summer, be brave and embrace bright jewel tones.  Casual dresses are replacing the standard shorts and T-shirt look and are a fresh, breezy look for the season.  The best way to show off sun-kissed golden skin is to wear hot colors like yellow, orange or pink paired with metallic flats or sandals.

Outfit: Victoria’s Secret Eyelet Smocked Dress, $58 ();

Additional accessories: Models' watches by TAG Heuer; Jewelry by Alexis Bittar.

About Emily RichedaEmily Richeda is a New York City-based fashion and style consultant.  She has appeared on national and local programs, including “Today,” “Today in New York,” and “Rachael Ray,” discussing the latest trends, how-to’s and tricks of the trade for fashion, style and beauty.

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