A Shorts Story


Short stars: (from left) Kate Bosworth, Paris Vogue’s Geraldine Saglio and Kate Moss do the short thing: tucked, belted and (for Saglio and Moss) blazered.

A man should never wear shorts in the city. Flip-flops and shorts in the city are never appropriate. Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or on the beach.” Tom Ford toAnOther Magazine, March 2011

Okay, Mr. Ford may have been speaking to “men” on the surface when he made that statement that caused Tommy Bahama shares to plummet instantaneously, but we all know he really meant it for women too. Ironic, yes, that I submit a piece about “how to wear shorts” and begin by saying we really shouldn’t…in the downtown core of the city.  There is never a time when skyscrapers and shorts should mix. However, the burbs, weekend destinations beyond city limits, errand runs, resorts, and music festivals simply cry out for shorts. Stick to a few simple guidelines and you have a look as sleek and cool as a Rocket Popsicle on a hot day.
Let’s start from the bottom up: the shoes to go with. Gladiators, ballet flats, flat sandals and modest wedges were made for shorts.  Another new addition to the fashion front that works well is the pistol boot as offered by Isabel Marant, Acne and Rag and Bone. Heels do not work with shorts. They look nothing short of tacky and you risk being mistaken for an extra from a Nair commercial circa 1980.

Left, Olivia Palermo in a fuller cut short by Parker paired with ballet flats. Right, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley does Christopher Kane floral shorts with pistol boots at Coachella 2012.

Consider proportions at all times. If your shorts are tailored, your top can be blousey. If the shorts are a fuller cut, the upper should be tailored. In breezier environments, a lightweight knit pullover paired with shorts is perfection. And let’s not ignore the new peplumed tops – with shorter fitted shorts you’ve got a winner.
As at the drive-thru window, there are certain short and shirt combos that always work as closet go-tos. The oxford shirt, half tucked, sleeves rolled and belted with flat front shorts or denims is a classic. The fully tucked sleeveless top with an over-the-shoulder cardi and head or neck scarf is very South of France. Denim shorts with a blazer, fully tucked blouse and belt will always satisfy.

Mischa Barton does a double short no-no: high-waisted and shorteralls.

What to avoid? Unless you are pin thin and walk on runways for a living, polka dots can be tricky. Same for brocades and horizontal stripes. High waisted shorts are hard to pull of without looking dorky. Finally shorteralls: never ever a good idea outside your Kindergarten grad photo. Even then, you might ask mom what exactly she was thinking.

You may also like

Leave a Reply