Friday, June 24, 2011

How to shop for women's shorts

Shorts shopping can be hard and stressful. Some people just don't wear them at all, but I think that is a mistake. There is a shorts shape and length out there for you somewhere, and you will be much cooler than in pants, and you'll be able to sit cross-legged in a park unlike when you are in a skirt.

Here are some tips to make shorts shopping a little less daunting:

The proper length for women's shorts:
The goal is to get shorts that cover the part of your thigh that is the widest, and have the seam come down enough so that below it, your leg is just tapering. What you don't want is something like this (sorry anonymous internet bottom-half woman):

Because while this lady has nice legs and isn't showing cellulite or butt cheek, the shorts cut her too high and her thigh is still getting thicker below the bottom of the shorts. (We won't say anything about her pockets sticking out, which is a clear sign you've cut too far)
Her legs would look a lot better with something like this:

With just an inch or two more of inseam, legs look a lot leaner. I tried to pick short shorts and similar legs to illustrate this.

I stick to 3" and above as a safe rule.
Stick your index finger in the crotch of the shorts (when they are on the rack, not on a person or you will get sued and hit). If your finger doesn't reach from the bottom of the shorts to the crotch seam, they are too short for you. 
I made up that rule, but I am sticking to it.

The right color
Bright colors are in right now for shorts, and that can be fun. Before you buy some, ask yourself if you want to draw attention to your hips, waist, and butt, or if you'd rather draw attention to your legs.
If you want people to notice your legs, you are better off with dark colored or denim shorts.
If you want to show off your booty, full steam ahead on the bright colors.

And btw you don't have to be a stick figure to wear bright shorts. I am most definitely an hourglass shape and I got some purple ones and red ones this year.

With colored shorts, you have to be extra careful to make sure they don't look like underwear or bathing suit bottoms, so I suggest ones with a long enough inseam and cuffs or scalloped edges so people really know that you meant to do that.

Here's one good pair:
$39.99 Urban Outfitters Lucca Chiffon scallop short
 Flattering wide waistband, scalloped bottom, long enough for her legs

Shorts shapes to try
There are a bunch of kinds of shorts, and the ones that look good on you are probably similar to the type of skirts and dresses that look good on you.

If you have wide hips or want to hide your thighs, then shorts that flare out and have extra room in them like an A-line skirt might be for you.

Try culottes, they look good on pretty much everyone. They are what happens when shorts and skirts are all grown up and spend some private time in a room together. Culottes look like a skirt until you notice that the woman wearing them isn't freaking out about crossing her legs the whole time.
The key to culotte success is finding a non-hideous pattern and making sure they hit mid-thigh.

 If you want to play up your curves, choose shorts with a similar profile to a pencil skirt- clingy and a little longer.

If you want to show a little more skin, try cutoffs or a higher rolled cuff.

Shorts shapes to avoid
It is hard to look good in loose shorts that go past your knees, especially cargo ones that have lumpy pockets that make you look like you have goiters.
These make you look stumpy and you lose your whole figure in them.

It's also hard to look good in super small hotpants unless you are a teenager or blessed by the heavens. They are so short that they leave nothing to the imagination, and all your buttsweat, lumps, and thigh rubbing is out there for everyone to see.

Anything made out of lycra or any thin stretchy fabric. When you reach the age of (whatever, it differs for everyone) and you start having bumps and underwear lines and stuff you'd rather not show, fabric matters just as much as cut. I have some light and thin silk shorts, but they are flowy and loose. The worst is thin and tight. The thicker the fabric, the less every bulge will show.
This is one reason why shopping at Forever21when you are no longer 21 is good for accessories and tee shirts, but not for bottoms anymore.

What to spend
 Expect to spend more than $20 on a nice pair of shorts. I personally can't stomach paying more than $40 or $50, but it's hard to get a nice cut and quality that make you look good for under $25. See above for the F21 warning. You can't go to teen stores for shorts if you don't have a teen bottom half.

Any questions?

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