How to Shop for Shorts by Body Type

I haven’t always known how to shop for shorts that flatter me.  In fact, in high school, I began thinking that shorts were no longer flattering at all on the adult body with which I was just beginning to become acquainted.  Avoiding shorts in the midwest worked out fine because the air conditioning in public places was always full blast during Summer, so you were constantly oscillating between sweating through your t-shirt or turning into an actual human Popsicle.

Living in Arizona, I realized that year round pants cannot be avoided.  The air conditioning is kept at a much more comfortable temperature inside businesses because it’s expensive and it’s just plain rude to assault customers who braved the 110° heat with a 68° polar vortex.

My legs are muscular and I’m short with a muscular build.   Given my size, shorts can easily divide my legs into smaller sections and make my legs look stubby.  Nothing ever seems to fit and most of the time, I feel like the shorts are squeezing my legs in an unflattering way or riding up and exposing areas that I would rather not.  Don’t hear me wrong, I love my legs and I have never taken issue with showing them; I just never felt as though shorts were doing me any favors.

How to shop for shorts by body type:

Universally Flattering

  • Mid-Length is middle ground.  Mid-length shorts are generally considered to be universally flattering, so if you aren’t sure what will look good on you, these would be the style to try first.   Take a few snaps of yourself in a mirror with different hem-length shorts and looking them over to see which is most flattering.

Shop Mid-Length Shorts:

Shorts for Shorties

If you’re short, the rule is that you should go with a shorter hem.  This has always troubled me; I don’t like the look of shorts that are too short, however, longer shorts divide my legs visually into different sections and can make me look loads shorter.  Instead of going for the teenage rebellious hem length, wear “short” shorts that make you comfortable and preempt the proportion problem by wearing a lower cut shoe that shows your ankle.  High tops and ankle straps will always make you look a bit shorter.

That’s not to say I never break these rules, but sometimes when I feel I don’t look my best, I check my proportions and that’s usually the culprit.  The color of the shoe matters as well; you’ll get the most hight out of your look if your shoes are nude (close to your skin color) or match your shorts.

Notice the difference it makes when I change color and the height of the shoe on my ankle.How to style shorts properly. Pin now, read later.The look that makes my legs look longest is the neutral shoe that shows the most ankle.  I still wear all of the shoes with these shorts, however, if I’m concerned about looking my absolute best, I’ll go for the longer legs.

Shop Short Shorts:

Too tight is too bad.  You’ve seen the shorts that are way too tight to be flattering in any way.  You know what I’m talking about.  Keep them loose enough to move comfortably.  Looser shorts and shorts with pleats and other interesting details around the hips add volume and center the focus on your hips, keep them slimming and body skimming without being tight, avoid patterns/ prints (they draw attention too) and go with darker colors.  Shorts with closures (zippers and buttons) in the back or sides will also slim your midsection because the fabric lays flat and the look is clean and sleek.

Shop Slimming Shorts:


Shorts for Smaller Hips

Women with smaller hips benefit from the exact opposite of the above selection.  Looser flowy shorts add volume.  Prints, patterns, darts and pleats will be your friend, as they focus attention and add detail.


Shorts for the Long Torso:

Proportions play the biggest role in balancing torso and leg length.  Women with a long torso will look best in high waisted shorts.  The higher the waistline, the shorter the torso appears and the longer the legs appear.

Shop High Waisted Shorts:

Shorts for the Short Torso:

Gals like myself with a shorter torso look best in hip skimming shorts.  Look for shorts that sit just on the hip bones because a shorter waistline will elongate the torso and create more distance between the bust and hips.

Shop Shorts for the Short Torso:

Another tip for balancing out the short torso is to add a longer layer (unbuttoned).  You’ll still see the shorter waistline, but the eye is drawn downward and the torso elongated.

How to shop for shorts by body type. Pin now, read later.

What a difference the jacket makes!  In hotter months, I throw on a looser blouse instead of the blazer.

Good luck shopping for shorts!  If you have any questions, feel free to message me or comment below.


The Luxicon

Kate Thakkar

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