Many 40 plus women avoid shorts because they simply don't know how to choose (or style) a pair in a chic and flattering way. Knowing how to successfully wear the latest shorts can add to your signature style because shorts can be elegant, upscale and modern. Here are ideas, styles and ways on how to wear shorts that fit and flatter the 40+ woman of any shape.
How to pick the right pair of shorts for 40+ women
If you're wondering how to find a pair of shorts that would be flattering for your age and figure, let's go over 3 things:
Most women are one (or sometimes a combination) of 5 different body shapes: apple, pear, rectangle, inverted triangle and hourglass. If you don't know your body shape, read one of 40+ Style's most popular articles on how to find your body shape.
Certain shorts will work better on one shape over another. Keep your shape in mind when looking at the styles below.
Height can also add to the variable of how to pick the right shorts for your body shape. Petite women should be more careful of how much fabric the shorts have in the form of bows, pleats and other details, which can overwhelm the frame.
Regardless of height, always consider if the shorts you're trying on are the right length for your height. If they're too long, hem them. Too short? Choose another pair.
Legs are probably the top reason most women won't wear shorts. Being self conscious about cellulite, scars or other issues are valid but there are solutions. Choose longer short styles to hide imperfections that may make you self-conscious like cellulite.
Why not wear a pair of lightweight stocking under a shorter pair of shorts like below? It's a fashion-forward look and some tights or stockings like the ones Spanx makes will also conceal veins or scars and smooth the body fat in your legs. Give this look a try for Spring or Fall.
What shorts are most flattering for each body shape?
Let's break shorts down into 4 current styles and who they're best for.
What they are: Bermuda shorts are slightly fitted, straight up and down in cut, are longer (falling around 1 to 2" above the knee) and can be worn rolled up or with a cuff. Many companies call any short that is mid-thigh length or longer a bermuda.
What woman should wear this style: The rectangle or hourglass shape woman would find this style flattering, because they aren't cut for the big hips or curves of other shapes. The other body shapes should avoid them, since they would feel too tight around the hips, waist and/or butt area. Most women would then try to buy them in a bigger size and then end up with improperly fitting bermudas.
How to wear bermuda shorts: Depending on your style, bermuda shorts can be dressed up or down. They are versatile enough to be worn with a t-shirt and sandals, in which case you can roll them up, or if they have a nice fabric to them, dress them up with a blouse and wedge heels. I especially love this style with a loose, wrap cardigan, mid-size belt and slip-on flats or sneakers.
Here is a selection of women's bermuda shorts for sale now:
High waisted flare shorts
What they are: High waisted flare shorts look like a skirt because of the flared legs and fitted and defined waistline. They're often shorter in length, around mid-thigh. This style is on trend right now and is fresh, flirty and feminine.
What woman should wear this style: It's the perfect style for pear, apple and inverted shapes because it cinches and accentuates the waist, tucks the tummy in and flares at the leg, sort of like an A-line skirt. Although any woman of any shape would find this style flattering of they want to accentuate their waistline! Especially those looking for a pair of shorts that tend to conceal your thighs and hips by draping softly around them.
How to wear high waisted flare shorts: Get your girly game on, because this style is great with feminine accessories. A heel, wedge or dainty mule or sandal would be a great shoe option. Because of all the attention around the waist from this style, keep the top clean, minimal and tucked in. Layering with a shorter cardigan adds polish to the style.
Here is a selection of women's high waisted flare shorts for sale now:
In the style image of 4 shorts, the two on the right are:
Zimmerman Meridian Sailor Shorts
What they are: A pleated short style has some type of pleat detail to the front of it. The length on this style of shorts can vary. Pleated shorts can be tricky, so the important rule of thumb is to look for a pair without too many pleats, folds or other ornamentation.
What woman should wear this style: This style can be worn by all body shapes. The pleats on the legs are roomy enough to hide imperfections or downplay larger thighs. The shape of pleated shorts is wonderful for petite or rectangle women who may want a little extra volume. The cut is more like a structured skirt. It's the perfect shorts style for the 40+ fashionista.
How to wear pleated shorts: The secret to this style is to choose a quality fabric and the right fit. A longer, pleated short is a fun and feminine style. But fabric that is too bulky or a pleated short that is too tight or loose can be highly unflattering. For a fashion-forward, avant-garde look, choose a longer knee length style, urban colors like blacks, greys or bold tones and pair with bold accessories.
Here is a selection of women's pleated shorts for sale now:
What they are: Trouser shorts for women are perhaps the most flattering style of all. They're essentially well-tailored trousers. They vary in style from very short to 1" above the knee. They are similar to the bermuda short but dressier and often constructed in finer fabrics.
What woman should wear this style: Any woman can wear this style. Even the length is a matter of preference! It's a myth that petite women should wear shorter shorts and taller women should wear long shorts. Go with what you like and feels right for you.
How to wear trouser shorts: The trouser short is so nicely constructed, you'll want to tuck in your top and add a belt. This is a great dressier style that can be paired with a lightweight silk sweater or a jacket for a short pants suit.
Here is a selection of women's trouser shorts for sale now:
Tips on how to wear shorts for women of any shape
I leave you with some final do's and don'ts when wearing shorts:
- If you're petite, aim for shorter lengths unless you're confident in your style.
- Don't be afraid to invest a few dollars to have your shorts hemmed to the proper length.
- Don't do short and tight together. If you choose shorter shorts, choose a baggier, looser style. And the tighter the shorts you choose, the longer they should be.
- An easy proportion rule of thumb on how to style shorts is: balance short shorts with a longer top and longer shorts with a shorter (or tucked in) top.
- Try tights under your dressier shorts for a polished, elegant look. A high boot or dressy flat finishes the look.
- Flat-front shorts are great for hiding your belly, as long as the fabric is supportive.
- When in doubt about length, go with a mid-thigh or just-above-the-knee length.