Short Circuit

MORE's fashion features editor, Susan Swimmer, blogs about the fashion matters that really count.

by Susan Swimmer
Photograph: J.Crew

I’m pretty sure the last time I wore a pair of shorts was in the late 1970’s, when I attended camp each summer for seven weeks. I loved them—they were brown, cotton and cuffed, and they were festooned with eight little buttons, four on each side. It was all part of an old-fashioned camp uniform. It didn’t occur to me then but as I think now, they really were very chic (although you never wanted to be in urgent need of a bathroom, as those buttons were a time consuming detail that stumped many a camper).

But that was a loooooong time ago, and in recent years I just never saw the need for shorts, outside of exercise garb. I’ve worn short skirts, and short dresses…but shorts? Not so much.

Wouldn’t you know, shorts are having a major fashion moment this year. It started a season or two ago, when designers suggested shorts be worn in winter (with tights under them) and all summer long as a dressy alternative to, say, a skirt. I have resisted….until now. My thinking is this: Sometimes you want the look of a skirt but need the ease of…pants (or a close proximity thereof). Sometimes a skirt feels too grown up, too office-y, too dressy. Shorts can be fun and playful for sure, but also, when done right, totally appropriate for a summer party. Almost, dare I say it, skirt-like. So I went shopping, and I tried a LOT of shorts, and this is what I learned:
1. Go for fabrics that have a bit of structural integrity so they stand away from the leg instead of cling.

2. Go for dressy fabrics (taffeta, brocade) if you want to wear them in the evening.

3. Embrace color, and also prints so they look sufficiently stylish and not at all like casual weekend wear.

4. Wear them with heels—not the sky high variety, but something in the 2 to 3 inch range—in either a wedge or a traditional style. Honestly, your legs will look so much better.

5. Use self-tanner and MOISTURIZER. When showing that much skin, make sure that skin glows.

Go! Buy! Be Chic!

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First Published June 17, 2011

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