Shorts can be a stylish option, but I know that for lots of women, the thought of sporting them in the summer is anxiety-inducing. Polling our fashion team, it quickly became clear that shorts aren’t everyone’s idea of chic summer style, with the majority dismissing them as unflattering – and that’s before we even got to the subject of short shorts, which are a different category altogether.
Sienna Miller stepped out in New York yesterday wearing such a pair: hers were bottom-skimming cut-off denim shorts that have long chimed with the boho aesthetic she is well-known for, and she teamed them with a printed blouse, a khaki jacket and leather thong sandals.
The sunny temperatures in the UK are mimicking those in the Big Apple, so it’s not completely outrageous to suggest they enter your heatwave wardrobe here, too.
As someone who owns several different styles and turns to them for everything from office dressing, to weddings to picnics, I regularly wax lyrical about how chic and grown-up shorts can be, but even I have my limits. My own go-to pairs hit just above the knee – (vital) inches longer than Sienna’s pair.
While hers may look stylish, the amount of leg on show can feel daunting. Fear not, as there are a few style tricks you can employ to help you feel more confident in short shorts:
Fabric is important
Sitting down in a pair of loosely tailored Bermuda shorts is one thing, but a pair of rigid denim cut-offs – which won’t stretch when your thighs inevitably spread – is an entirely different ballgame.
If you’re going super short, it’s for that reason I’d advise against denim options like Sienna’s. Instead, linen, cotton or Lyocell options are much more forgiving, easier to make stylish and are infinitely more comfortable and practical.
If you can’t be swayed from denim, try sizing up for comfort, and opting for a looser, A-line fit and slick dark wash.
Go modest up top
Note that Sienna sported a utility jacket and a long sleeved blouse with her pair which is no coincidence. Of course, the lack of coverage is the short shorts’ most noticeable property, so having your top-half covered feels far less risqué. A long-sleeved oversized cover-up like a shacket or blazer will create balance, but in heat like today’s, a long-sleeved lightweight linen shirt is the perfect partner.
Styling is key
If you’re sporting shorts, the styling makes the biggest difference, so ensure everything else is sleek and grown-up. Rather than a slogan T-shirt and canvas trainers, a pair of chunky leather sandals and a shirt will create the perfect contrast and sharpen up your look.
Fake it till you make it
If, after a year in lockdown and no holidays abroad, your legs are a little paler than they typically would be, a DIY tanning session could make all the difference. Vita Liberata’s Organic Self-tanning Mist (£12, Feel Unique) is foolproof, and offers a subtle glow for all skin tones that can be topped up gradually.
That dusting of bronzer or fake tan will also hide a multitude of those ‘sins’ that might have initially sprung to mind when you first began reading this. It could be the key to feeling confident in short shorts, which is ultimately all it takes to carry them off.