Top 5 Ways to Find the Best Shorts for Your Body

{By Lana Jackson}

BBQs, baseball games, beach trips—however you plan to spend your summer; it will likely involve wearing a pair of shorts. The conundrum for us ladies has to do with, the M word—modesty. But finding cute shorts in modest lengths (depending on your height and body type) does not have to be the crisis situation you would imagine.

Here are my 5 of my top picks and tricks for summer shorts that are heavy on the style content and light on the thigh cleavage— you know what I mean.

best summer shorts

Tactic #1: When in doubt about a length that is modest for your body type and height, ask yourself: Is it fingertip length?

best summer shorts

Some of you will remember this age-old maxim from your grade school days. You know, when you got busted in the hallway at school for suspect shorts? We’ve all been there. You’re standing there, innocent until proven guilty as an administrator asks you to place your hands by your sides. If your shorts were above your fingers they were too short, if they met your fingers or went past them you got a green light.

I remember many a girl or two in class that didn’t make it past homeroom for failure to pass the fingertip test, but hey that doesn’t have be you. High school is over but this method doesn’t have to be. I’M TELLING YOU IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FINGERTIPS. This method will keep you from shorts that look too short or are too long and look matronly on your frame. The example in the photo perfectly demonstrates this. See how the shorts meet her fingertips—boom. Perfection.

I just scored these awesome distressed, boyfriend shorts from Ann Taylor LOFT that magically hit at the right length for my sister and I even though she’s shorter than me. No, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants jokes—please.

Tactic #2: From time to time, wear shorts with flats or kicks

modest summer shorts

Now some people may disagree with me [you’re welcome to], but this is worth mentioning. If you can, it’s a good idea to wear shorts with a closed toe shoe; especially at church or some other semi-formal situation. The reason for this has to do with proportion. A closed toe shoe comes up higher on your feet or ankle; this foreshortens the distance between the top of your thigh and the top of your shoe—thereby making you show less leg, meaning less skin [see also the photo from Tactic #1].

Also, in both photos, the women are wearing longer sleeved tops; this is great for those cool summer nights or buildings (i.e. classrooms, church, and malls) that have their air condition set on frigid for some crazy reason. So, when you put it all together: shorts + longer top + closed toe shoes = less skin overall. This is a trompe de l’oeil [a trick of the eye, in French] that balances out the amount of skin you’re showing.

Tactic #3: Choose shorts that pull away from you a little or a lot

summer short styles

Skin tight = immodest. Try to look for shorts that have some volume or drape to them, so that that they do not cling too tightly to you. Ann Taylor LOFT also has a pair of shorts similar to the one pictured. If you’re having a hard time finding shorts like this or you are curvier search for culotte, wide-leg, or boyfriend shorts in fabrics like chambray or crepe de chine, ASOS is a good place to find these types of shorts.

Drapey shorts also make for a great going-out look when you pair them with a sophisticated blouse, clutch, and wedges. When everyone is wearing the standard issue fit and flare dress with pumps you’ll stand out—of course for the style of your outfit, not the length of your shorts.

Tactic #4: Wear Bermuda shorts with strappy, high-heels

how to wear Bermuda shorts

The length of bermuda shorts (shorts that are 7 inches or longer) can sometimes make you look very matronly or frumpy, especially if you’re under 5’4”. A great way to add some flair and wake up boring bermuda shorts is to wear them with a heel, preferably a starppy, higher heel. This goes back to proportion. Normally, you shouldn’t wear shorts with a heel because a heel is meant to elongate the leg.

When you wear heels with shorts you’re creating more leg space and therefore showing more skin. But since the majority of your legs are covered with bermudas you can wear the highest heel you can stand. Just make sure you find a bermuda short that is more tappered (tighter) at the knee, if there is too much volume at the bottom it will make the look too frumpy. This is also a great evening look with a silk camisole or with a blazer for worK— if your office dress code will let you rock it. Banana Republic has nice one here.

Tactic #5: If you must wear shorter shorts, wear one with a pattern

best summer short styles

The best range to be in terms of the length of your shorts (across all heights and body types) is usually in the 5 inch to 7 inch range. But every now again us girls like to go a little shorter to the 3 inch range especially for the beach or the pool. If you must, try wearing a shorter short that has an artsy pattern. Patterned shorts look less vulgar than tiny denim cut-offs or solid colored shorts. The illusion of the pattern can help to distract from the length. J.Crew always has great designs and fabrications for pattern shorts.

Enjoy trying out these tactics when you’re on the hunt for summer shorts! Don’t stress if you can’t find these options in stores. Do your research online before you head out. Websites like Shopstyle and Pinterest can be great allies to find the look and fit you need for your height and body type.

Dress to glorify,