The long and short of it…

The long and short of it…
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The 20 wintery-summers I spent in San Francisco did not make for a plentiful shorts collection. Yet my disparity of shorts mattered little in a city that frowned upon wearing them (as much as Paris does). Sure, I would occasionally spot a pair of running shorts jog by on the Marina Green or short-shorts on a regretful teenage tourist down at the wharf. However other than instances of exercise or hubris, donning a pair of shorts was as much of a San Francisco novelty as a warm summer night.

In Marin County, CA, that’s not so much the case. A move to San Anselmo (average summer temp. 89 degrees) in mid-July changed things for me in the short department. I had to get serious about how to wear shorts. Luckily for me, the timing was right. Shorts were starting to make a fashion comeback. This summer that comeback will be at its peak. Marin clothing stores will be exploding with shorts of all lengths, styles and fabrications. So to help you sort through which pairs flatter, here are some “short” considerations:

Fancy (short) Pants Adjustable boyfriend Clubbing it
PacSunShortsJC1 PacSunShortsGAP2 PacSunShortJC4
J.CREW-Collection sequin shorts with 3” inseam; Style Notes: The newest take on shorts. Pair with a blazer and heels. GAP1969-destructed sexy boyfriend denim shorts unrolled to 7” inseam; Style Notes: Adjustable inseam make shorts body type versatile. J.CREW-Floral foulard shorts with 3” inseam; Style Notes:Print gives shorts a classic appeal.


Short Consideration #1: Your Leg Shape and Tone – If you have shapely and/or toned legs, almost anything goes short-wise, so why not experiment with a variety of short lengths, styles and fabrications. However for those with less definition, it’s best to stick with short lengths that hit mid-thigh or at the knee to camouflage a lack of muscle tone.

Short Consideration #2: Your Leg Length – Long-legged ladies look great in most lengths. However short-shorts (inseam shorter than 2.5 inches) can be tricky, as little shorts on a tall lady can appear tween-sized. Short-gammed gals should steer clear of crop pants (yes, they are considered shorts), baggy or cuffed, and Bermuda-styled shorts, as they will visually make diminutive legs appear shorter.

Short Consideration #3: Your Age – Balance your short choices with your age. It’s a fine line for middle-aged women—she can appear desperate to look younger in a pair of short-shorts, or just two steps away from the retirement community in a pair of pleated Bermuda shorts. Shorts with a 4-inch inseam are long enough to provide coverage while short enough to still be sexy.

Short Consideration #4: Your Short Size – It’s a little-known fact that sizing-up one size in the short department will make you appear thinner. On the contrary, smaller shorts with an uber-snug waistband will induce a muffin top and make you feel larger.

Short Consideration #5: Your Short Style and Formality – Short styles can range from modern to contemporary to classic to retro to romantic to cultural. Buy and wear pairs that reflect your unique personal style. Likewise, all shorts are not appropriate for all occasions—even if the weather permits. Given this, it isn’t appropriate to wear sequined short-shorts to your company’s softball game, nor cropped yoga pants to dinner at the club.

Originally featured in Pacific Sun