I don’t know about any of you, but once the Fourth of July hits, I consider it officially summertime, stylistically speaking. Which means shorts rock my wardrobe world until sometime through September, even into late October. I tend to wear them mostly on weekends and in casual situations, but the rules have shifted around this leggy option, and I find myself drawn to dressier and more sophisticated interpretations.
Today’s shorts story is a disco-ball mirroring of that ‘70’s trend, the hotpants. I’m not suggesting the super short length that defined those early iterations. I’m talking about the places they made the scene—Studio 54 for instance (on the likes of Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall) and so many places other than the gym or the tennis court or a picnic.
Not Your ’70s Hotpants
Fast forward to now and shorts (in the right style) can be worn to cocktail parties and to the office. Let me repeat that. To. The. Office. And not just fashion-centric workplaces. At corporations. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I hadn’t been practicing the office life daily myself, on staff and onsite five days a week, 10 hours a day.
I see a whole range of gorgeous styles: lace, eyelet, wrapped, ruffled, wildly printed, canvas, linen, silk, denim, destroyed. Shorts have definitely preempted skirts as the summer sartorial style choice of the cool. Many millennials at my office wear shorts almost every day, even during winter, with winds whipping off the East River and icily skimming our tip of Manhattan.
The rules have shifted around this leggy option, and I find myself drawn to dressier and more sophisticated interpretations.
While a lot of women think they can’t wear shorts at an older age—even Helen Mirren quipped “I wouldn’t be seen dead in shorts,” adding, “only very secretly and privately but never in public” —our set IS getting into the gam game. And, off course, while we LOVE Dame Helen, we quite respectfully disagree. Maybe she just hasn’t seen the current crop of shorts.
If you feel shorts are just too, um, short, try the skort, a popular fashion lovechild: shorts bred with a skirt. You’ll still feel all the freedom of shorts tempered by the modesty of that skirt panel.
Check the Mirror
Now, I’m not saying that if you’re in an office environment you should make shorts your go-to. But with so many styles and lengths, why let anything hold you back? Except maybe your, uh, backside. A friend once told me, “Women should never wear spandex unless they have a full-length mirror in which to view themselves from behind.” The same could be said for shorts. It’s imperative to know both what’s coming and going when wearing them.
Shorts have definitely preempted skirts as the summer sartorial style choice of the cool.
That doesn’t mean you should 86 all pants options with hems above the thigh. I merely advise caution in trying and buying the right style for your comfort level. Here’s my, ahem, short list of options for working the look this summer. The best part? Most are sale priced right now!
Shorts for Older Women: The Short List
WEAR: Cuffed denim shorts, a fun throwback to younger days. Anthropologie. $68
WHERE: Farmer’s market, walking the dogs, dressed up or down for Summer Fridays.
WEAR: Ole! Embroidered shorts look lovely and exotic. These by Mango. $29.99
WHERE: From office to out for the night!
WEAR: An embroidered eyelet gingham check wrap skort. So many trends, all in one style! Zara skort. $25.99
WHERE: Afternoon garden party, dressy backyard BBQ, sales numbers meeting review.
WEAR: Sarong shorts. Eileen Fisher. $158
WHERE: Lunch with colleagues, impromptu meeting with the boss.
WEAR: High-waisted postcard print shorts from J.Crew. $60
WHERE: Bruch, cocktails after work.
WEAR: Ruffled scallop hem shorts. Talbots. $48.65
WHERE: Summer Fridays to the office then out to play for the rest of the day.
WEAR: Trouser-cut shorts or Bermudas, the most classic and demure of the bunch. By Chico’s. $39
WHERE: To dinners out on date night with the hubs and the office for a meet-and-great with the new company president. No fear of looking inappropriate!
Wear: Knee-length tie waist shorts with pockets. From Cos. $89
Where: Garden party, wedding, lunch with clients.