The Summer Shorts That Are Breaking All the Rules

The Summer Shorts That Are Breaking All the Rules

Summer may be winding down, but that’s no excuse not to lean into the season’s hottest trends. In fact, we think it’s all the more reason to try something new and even break a few fashion rules. One great place to start? Shorts, of course.

For summer 2022, there’s no one particular style of women’s shorts defining the season. And honestly, that’s great, because more variety simply means more (awesome) options in the mix. Luckily, finding a look you’re both comfortable wearing and happy to show off has never been easier.

Viable alternatives to both dresses and skirts, shorts have undergone some serious fashion upgrades lately (think materials, prints, and silhouettes.) Not only are the most covetable pairs cute, but they’re also easy to move in and often quite versatile. So what are some of the most sought-after styles right now? Keep reading!

The best women’s shorts for summer 2022

While you may already have a pair (or three) of tried-and-true summer shorts in regular rotation, there’s no time like right now to tap into something especially of the moment. We’re talking specifically about high-waisted styles, utility and hiker varieties, bold prints, and even leather looks. 

To start: while short-shorts have made a comeback lately, truthfully, they lack the go-anywhere appeal of their sleeker, chicer cousin, the high-waist. Whether they’re cuffed, Bermudas, or simply tailored, high-waisted shorts have an easy polish to them that lends the look to multiple occasions both casual and dressy. They also elongate the leg and draw attention to the waist.

On the more casual side, nothing beats a lightweight hiker style, regardless of whether you’re actually hitting the trails. Like trendy cargos, hiker styles tap into the utility trend, offering lightweight ease and a bottom that’s both functional and fashionable. While tees and tanks are natural hiker-shorts pairings, they can also be teamed with button-ups and breezy blouses for a more elevated look.

Prints, too, are big this season. Often relegated to summer dresses, prints currently cover some of the hottest women’s shorts styles right now, including fluid boxer and pull-on varieties. Though shorts sets, including printed styles, are getting some serious love right now, many women are pairing their eye-catching bottoms with basics, creating a look that eschews matchy-matchy for balance.

New summer shorts trends for 2022

The shorts set trend also dovetails with a yen for boxer and pajama styles, which have been major this summer. Typically light and billowy, these styles can be made more elegant with coordinating tops and bottoms or a heeled sandal. But anyone craving comfort still can’t go wrong with a classic high-top or chunky sneaker.

Speaking of keeping it comfy: baggy shorts are definitely a thing this summer. Building upon both WFH aesthetics and the loose-silhouette momentum from trending late ‘90s looks, these styles aren’t just made for lounging. Styled properly and teamed with proportional tops, they’re great for everyday and arguably the perfect antidote to summer sweat.

As mentioned above, leather, and leather-like materials, are also summer shorts standouts this season. Grab a cuffed pair for extra polish and treat them like you would a leather mini: made to be dressed up or down and perfect for date nights and dressier outings.

Lastly, retro shorts, including Y2K-era cargos, are ultra-popular right now, in keeping with the trend for utility bottoms. And while denim is a perennial, summer 2022 iterations prominently feature the fabric on higher-waisted and distressed shorts styles in addition to classic cutoffs.

How old fashion rules are being broken

We just discussed leather, and while it may be on your radar now, how likely were you to have worn it come summer even a couple seasons ago? Because leather (real and faux) is a typically weightier, richer material more often associated with jackets and pants, it tends to be worn almost exclusively in colder weather. No longer!

The fashion set readily embraced leather and leather-like shorts, and multiple designers and brands followed suit. Now, fashioned from lighter-weight skins or synthetics, leather shorts can meet the summer moment. At a time when many of us are looking for more elevated ensembles as antidotes to constant casualness, leather fits the bill.

Other old school fashion rules are falling by the wayside, too. Baggy’s teaming with baggy, forgoing a classically balanced silhouette in favor of slouchy-chic tops and bottoms. And daytime is the new nighttime—at least when it comes to opting for a pair of pajama-style shorts as soon as the sun rises. 

These summer shorts rules no longer apply

Once upon a time, the idea of “dressy shorts'' seemed fundamentally misplaced. Because of their casual connotations, shorts ostensibly belonged to errand-running, lounging, and leisure and athletic activities. No one would actually wear them on a date, or (gulp) to the office, right? Well, now women can and do. For date nights and more formal occasions, shorts can easily work in lieu of skirts, and are probably much easier to maneuver around in.

The key to making a casualwear staple dressy-occasion-appropriate lies in both materials and pairings. Leather (yep!), silk, or embellished shorts are great for more formal settings that call for elevated attire. Ditch the cotton and denim for something smooth, shiny, or beaded. And of course, keep the level of polish high with ankle boots, heeled sandals, or platforms.

The same goes for shorts at work. It’s still all about the materials. Crisp cotton and linen are top business-casual picks, particularly in Bermuda and high-waisted cuts. Add instant polish with a leather belt, a boxy jacket or blazer, and a tucked blouse or button-up. While flats can definitely work, we love a small heel.

Finding shorts for your body type

Summer shorts are some of the most comfortable bottoms you put on, and it only makes sense that someone would want to feel both ultra comfy and supremely confident in any new pair. Key to both is fit. And while we advocate doing what works for you—remember: break rules—here are some guidelines. If you’re shorter or more petite, it makes sense to avoid overly long shorts styles. But if you love Bermudas, don’t fear. Simply get them tailored and ideally team them with a heel. 

Speaking of, women who carry more of their weight in their hips, or who have a pear/triangle shape, look great in elongating styles like the Bermuda. Anyone with a more athletic body type can easily wear straight-cut silhouettes, along with cutoffs and side-slit shorts, while hourglass figures are made for trouser-style or chino shorts that emphasize the waist. Women who carry their weight through the middle, or who have more of an apple shape, might gravitate towards short-shorts, or anything that showcases a lot of leg.

The best shorts to buy right now

Ready to find your perfect pair? We’ve got you covered! Keep it ultra chic and of the moment with a black faux leather pair that will team as well with a tee and slip-on loafers as it does with heeled boots and a turtleneck. Another can’t-miss cut? A breezy, relaxed boxer-style short in an eye-catching print that seamlessly transitions from pool to party. Lastly, ensure that you have a solid, go-to short for every day that marries casual with cool. Our pick? A pocketed, pull-on style with a slim cuff. This is as versatile as it gets, and cute to boot!

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