We explore why we’re seeing the patterned short trend everywhere this summer.
There is a moment during every summer when you realize that something you’ve been seeing a little bit here and there—maybe a look or even a song—has become the thing. It’s gone from something you’ve noticed to something you absolutely can’t stop noticing.
We’re here to tell you that this summer that thing will be patterned shorts.
We’ve been telling you about all of the varieties of shorts for a few weeks, and there are so many incredible styles out there right now that it was hard to guess which one would be the fan favorite. It seems hard to choose between all of the options—from classic Bermudas to flirty tie waists, smart hikers to reimagined boxers. Still, patterned shorts in virtually any style are making the biggest impact we’ve seen this summer.
Why Are Patterned Shorts So Hot Right Now?
This isn’t just a normal summer: we’re coming out of two years largely spent in our homes, a detention wrought by a global pandemic, cancelled events, capacity limits at parks and beaches, and work-from-home culture. Our days have been ruled by joggers and yoga pants, cozy hoodies and our favorite t-shirts. It was fun at first for sure—who doesn’t love a commute that is only a few steps away? Still, as time went on it seems like most of us started to miss fashion and the fun, whimsy, and expression it offers. Is it any wonder that now, as the world gets back to life, we are going for what’s bold?
In the fashion world color is popping—literally—everywhere. Bright periwinkles and cracking pinks, lush apricots and grassy greens, we’re living in a moment much like Dorothy encountered when she finally landed in Oz—everything is in technicolor, and everything is worth exploring.
That’s especially true of patterns—from our favorite bright camo to thick, attention-demanding stripes and trippy, tropical florals.
This Summer’s Flattering Women’s Shorts Styles
This summer is notable for its universally-flattering, super inclusive styles, with easy cuts like straight legged and A-line and an abundance of chic details like cuffed hems and paper bag waistlines.
This summer’s best women’s shorts can be dressed up or down, paired with a white twill button-down shirt and a trim blazer for an office-ready look or kept simple with a classic white tee. Add heels, wedges, flip flops or your favorite sneakers to just about any shorts style—you absolutely can’t go wrong.
Our tip for any and all of these women’s shorts styles: enhance your natural shape by keeping shirts (including tanks and tees) tucked in, or try a French tuck so your shape really shows. If you’re opting for a layer on a cool summer night, try a cardigan that hangs open and runs the length of your shorts to add a streamlined silhouette, or a cropped denim jacket to further accentuate your curves
Patterned Shorts 101: How to Pick Yours
If you’ve been wearing a lot of black this winter (we know what that’s like), wearing a bold and bursting pattern can feel a bit overwhelming. Here’s how to make it work for you.
First, choose a color that you like, one that you find flattering for your skin tone. If you’re partial to pinks, make that the most significant color in the pattern you choose.
Next, opt for a pattern that’s got larger graphics—they’re eye catching and feel less busy, while still giving you the fresh look of a pattern.
If you’re not sure you can jump right into florals or other graphics, try a simple stripe. They’re classic, always on trend, and offer a streamlined line that draws the eye gracefully down.
Finally, start your patterned looks with a solid top to tone them down. That is, until you’re ready for the next step.
The Next Step: Patterned Sets
The only thing bigger than patterned shorts this year is a patterned set. You know what they say, go big or go home. These sets can’t help but command the spotlight, so be ready: they’re all about attention, style, and making an impression.
There are two great ways to wear patterned sets: You can wear them as they are, together, giving a look that invokes dresses and rompers but is decidedly easier. Or, you can break up the patterns with a solid color top underneath the patterned one. Try black, white or a complimentary pattern from your look, and wear the top open like a cardigan.