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Layering 101: Women's Shorts in Cooler Weather

If you’re thinking about extending the life of your shorts beyond the summer months, you’re in luck. Wearing shorts is one of the biggest fashion trends for fall and winter....

If you’re thinking about extending the life of your shorts beyond the summer months, you’re in luck. Wearing shorts is one of the biggest fashion trends for fall and winter. Not only are shorts the ideal transitional piece, but with a bit of styling, they can be perfectly cozy and fashionable, even when the temperature continues to drop. Here are some layering tricks to make you look amazing in shorts in cooler weather.  

Put on Some Tights

The best way to keep your legs toasty when wearing women’s shorts in cool weather is to throw on a pair of tights. It’s a great way to add warmth to an outfit without adding bulk or fabric, and you can easily layer them underneath your shorts. On days when the weather is mild, think about wearing sheer tights in neutral colors or ones with fun patterns. Doing so will keep your legs protected from cool breezes and give you some extra coverage. 

In the winter, though, make sure to wear thick, opaque tights underneath your shorts. Ideally, your legwear should be made of merino wool to keep you warm. This type of wool is one of the softest wools around, and they’re not itchy or uncomfortable at all. However, this material can be somewhat pricey, so choose microfiber tights if you want a more affordable option.

Tights made of thick microfiber can be just as warm and cozy as ones made of natural merino wool. Make it a point to choose ones with a high denier count– the higher the number, the more opaque the tights. 

If winters in your area are particularly brutal, you may need to wear tights lined with polyester fleece. They’re warmer than ordinary tights, so they’re perfect to wear even under the shortest women’s shorts. 

Throw on a Pair of Leggings

Need something warmer than tights? Try wearing leggings underneath your shorts. Leggings come in all types of materials and prints. What’s more, you can choose affordable ones or treat yourself to luxe leggings made of cashmere or merino wool.

The ideal pair of leggings for cold weather are lined with fleece to lock in heat and help you withstand freezing temperatures. Look for something like this if you plan to wear leggings under shorts in winter. You may also want to look for leggings with no side seams or logos for a clean, streamlined look. 

Add a Jacket or Coat

No fall or winter ensemble is complete without a jacket or a coat. Pick long coats or sleek jackets made with wool, leather, or suede to give your shorts a fall or winter vibe. Choose outerwear in neutral colors like beige, black, or gray for a chic look. However, don’t shy away from prints– a coat with a houndstooth, tartan, or plaid print will look festive with shorts, especially if they’re in vibrant colors like red or green. 

Bring Out the Boots

Every fashionista knows that a fall or winter look isn’t complete without a great pair of boots. Women’s shorts look amazing when paired with boots, so take your pick from ankle, combat, biker, knee-high, or thigh-high boots during the cooler months. Look for boots with chunky heels or a platform style instead of pencil-thin heels to give you more stability, which is important when walking on snow-covered ground. For added warmth, see if you can find boots lined with faux fur or ones that are waterproof and insulated to keep your feet dry. 

Putting it all Together

Now that you’ve got the right pieces, it’s time to combine them for a fashionable winter look. Start with your undergarments and wear a sleeveless thermal top, then tuck the thermal into your tights or leggings for a sleek look. Layer a top over your thermal, then slip on your shorts, add some socks, and then your boots. Throw a jacket or coat over your entire ensemble, then accessorize with a bag and some minimal jewelry. A scarf and some headgear can be added if you need more warmth.

Outfit Ideas

For a fashion-forward look for autumn, wear a black turtleneck with beige mid-length wool or chino shorts, then add a brown leather belt. Make sure to layer sheer black tights under your women’s shorts for warmth. Add a black leather jacket, black mid-calf boots, and a black leather purse with a chain strap, and you’ve got an outfit that will look right at home in the streets of NYC or Paris. 

Leather Details

To create a classy fall look, pick leather or faux leather shorts with an A-line cut. Wear it over sheer patterned tights, then add a crewneck sweater. Finish the look with knee-high boots and a quilted purse. You can also transition this look into winter, but replace the sheer tights with opaque ones or wear sheer tights with skin-colored fleece underneath. Throw a long coat over your outfit, then finish with a beanie to keep your head warm. 


To take your denim shorts from summer to fall, wear semi-opaque black tights, then pull on some long shorts without distressing or decorative elements. Roll the cuffs so that they end just about an inch above the knee. Wear a black top and a black peacoat or duffle coat, then add knee-high boots and a newsboy cap. 


As an alternative to shorts, consider wearing a skort during cooler months. It enables you to have more freedom to do activities while giving you a feminine look. Wear leggings or tights under your skort and pair them with a button-down top, a sweater, a plain tee, or any type of blouse. Add a trench coat and thigh-high boots for a classy look. For a cohesive and fashionable look, consider wearing pieces in the same color family or opt for a mix of neutrals like oatmeal, beige, and olive green. 


While women's shorts might traditionally be linked with summer vibes, they've confidently found their place in the cooler months' fashion scene. The versatility they bring, combined with the right layering techniques, offers both warmth and style. By experimenting with various fabrics, cuts, and colors, you can curate standout cold-weather outfits. The beauty of fall and winter fashion lies in its adaptability, and with shorts as a core piece, the possibilities for chic, cozy ensembles are endless. Don't shy away; embrace shorts as a pivotal component of your fall and winter wardrobe.

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