If you like to show a little leg, this spring is your chance to do it. And we're not talking about gym shorts or shorts to wear to the beach. Runways are filling up with shorts of all lengths. Stacy London from TLC's “What Not To Wear” has the long — and short — of this hot fashion trend.
For years, fashion stylists and magazine editors looked down on the concept of “shorts.” They were right up there with velour leisure suits and polar fleece hoodies as a major fashion “don't.” But this season, they have come into their own as a major look on the runways. So the question is, can regular people wear shorts too? Is it just for the young and super skinny? Are they just for casual wear? How do you find flattering shorts? The idea is to find shorts the same way you'd find a great pair of pants: the cut that works for your body type in pants will also work in a pair of shorts. Always fit the widest part of your lower body first, and look for a leg line that is tailored, not tight on the body. Variations depend on height and shape of the individual.
When to wear shorts? Whenever you'd wear skirts! Shorts are great for weekends, fun evenings out, and they can even be worn to the office. Here's your guide to the best of what's out there.
Pleats: This season, pleats have become a trendy calling card of young darlings of the press, a la Nicole Richie, Mischa Barton and Lindsay Lohan. This trend does work best on a thin, petite frame, as pleats add volume to the body. So, if you have larger hips or thighs, stay away from pleats. Top: Anthropologie, $98; shorts: BCBG Max Azria, $98; shoes: Aldo, $19.99
For all ages: You can do shorts at any age because it's all about the cut and the length. If you're of average height, the shorts should be above the knee or to the knee. Shorts look great with a classic summer cashmere knit top. (Many designers are doing summer-weight cashmeres that are much thinner than their cold-weather cousins.) I like to think of this look as walking on the beach in East Hampton with three dogs, then throwing on espadrilles to get fresh corn at the market. For this look, consider the length of a sweater or top, especially if you are bigger in the hip, booty or thigh — covering your tush with a loose-shaped sweater will only m ake you look bigger. It's also best to stay away from cuffs, which interrupt the line of the leg. Sweater: J. Crew, $138; shorts: Vince, $195; shoes: J. Crew, $118
For tall women: Taller women will look great in a longer Bermuda short, that is, one that covers the knee. This length is a long short but still not a capri. Capris generally cover the knee but narrow as they get longer. Any tapered leg line makes your hips and thighs and even your upper body look bigger. If you have an athletic frame with broad shoulders, keep the leg line wide enough to keep your body in proportion. Top: Acrobat @ Lord & Taylor, $38; shorts: Banana Republic, $68; shoes: Betsey Johnson, $155
Suits: Short suits were a huge trend this season. If you're petite, keep the lenght above the knee. Shorts with a large cuff work when you have a smaller hip and a thinner thigh, to give the legs some volume. I'm not saying everyone should run out and get a short suit, but if you think about it, this is just as put-together as many skirt suits — a tailored, very classic look. We saw this on the runways in not only tweeds but in printed suits as well. Depending on your body type, you can wear this with a great high heel or a flat. Clearly if the short suit isn't ready for corporate America, it's ready for casual Fridays. Jacket: Zara, $59; shirt: Esprit, $29; shorts: Zara, $39; shoes: Naturalizer, $69.99
Evening: Shorts are perfectly acceptable for evening as long as the rest of the ensemble says evening as well. Do a great high heel, get some sheen in the short or the top, and add great sparkly jewelry and an appropriate bag. Top: Allen B. @ Lord & Taylor, $210; shorts: Kenneth Cole, $74; shoes: Aldo, $79.99