Great lengths: Summers shorts go long on style

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, July 4, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Wear your shorts long.

The added length is perfect for this summer and it will carry you into fall.

Longer shorts are flattering and can be worn with confidence, says Michele Casper, senior director of public relations for Lands' End. They also are a great alternative for their versatility and can be styled to be appropriate for work and social occasions.

For the office, think of the long short as a skirt alternative, she says, and pair it with the appropriate accessories to make the look professional.

“Most women will be happy to see long shorts back in style,” says Lindsay Huggins, senior fashion market editor for Self magazine. “We were seeing so many short shorts for such a long time that it is nice to see some knee-length options. Wearing a Bermuda short and matching jacket with heels is super chic.”

The longer short was featured on runways, says Marissa Rubin, senior market editor for People Style Watch. “If you go with a longer short, it is best to pair it with a higher heel,” she says. “The short suit is also a wonderful option for the office ... when worn with a blouse and appropriate work heels, and then you can take the jacket off and change up the shirt to an embellished top and fancy sandal for a perfect outfit for the weekend getaway.”

These shorts come in various fabrics from silk with drawstring waists to leather-coated (or pleather) material, Rubin says. Some options can carry over into your fall wardrobe, she says.

“This season, there are so many flattering styles, and color is certainly everywhere,” Casper says. “The trend in bright colors and bold prints in pants has transcended over into shorts. Ginghams, large-scale florals and bright, solid colors add a refreshing option from the standard khaki short. When wearing a printed short, select a shirt that is more classic in cut and color.”

City shorts, as they can be referred to, are appropriate for some work environments when worn with a jacket or silk shirt and a mid-level heel,” says Lisa Converse, senior vice president of design at White House Black Market. “However, not all work environments would consider a short appropriate for work. If there is any doubt, a good rule of thumb is to save city shorts for a polished casual day event or summer night out with a glamorous top and paired with a wedge or pump.”

A great, dark denim short is a must-have for this summer, says Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director. Shorts are no longer being paired only with T-shirts; they also can be dressed up.

“Shorts today are a little dressier looking and have a 1950s feel to them. And you can often cuff your shorts, so that gives you two different looks. With so many colors, prints and patterns, shorts can add some intrigue to a wardrobe.”

Go with a bright, poppy color in a short suit, Huggins says. When pairing it with heels, go for a wedge because a pump can look trashy, she says. The height will help elongate the legs versus wearing a flat.

Some of the silk options might look nice, but, she cautions, they might be tougher to wear in extreme heat, because they might cling to your body. And they might be see-through, so try them on in good light.

There is finally a trend in flattering, longer shorts, says Natasha Pace, style expert. She says the variety of shapes is what makes this short modern.

“There are straight legs, tapered looks, relaxed fit and even culottes,” she says. “Since this style is universally flattering, we can definitely expect them to become a new wardrobe staple, much like capris are now.

“The really fun part will be how designers interpret them,” she says. “Expect to see amazing denim washes, pretty floral prints to downright cool digital camo prints. And rest assured, in a few months everyone will be wanting one of the ultra-cool leather ones coming down the runways.”

The most popular short inseam will vary by your personality and end use, says Josh Saterman, Macy's fashion director.

“The key is to have a rolled option,” Saterman says. “Because then you can roll the hem. The rolled hem is both fresh and fun. Bright fun colors are the way to jump into this trend. This is the new way to wear a short.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

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