When summer hits, hemlines hike up, clothing loses its opacity, and shorts run rampant. And while classic worn-in denim cut-offs are perfectly acceptable for casual weekend hangouts and shoreside excursions, they lack a degree of polished sophistication, to put it mildly. These days, shorts are treated as an alternative to mini skirts, an alternative that's not exclusive to women in their 20s, either—and we have the proof to back that up.
This summer, stars—from 25-year-old Taylor Swift to 42-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow—are wearing chic shorts. It's a warm-weather staple that not only works for all age groups, but also for a wide range of occasions. (Street-style outing? Red-carpet affair? Yes and yes.) We broke it down by decade that prove structured shorts work for essentially everyone.
1. Stars In Their 20s
If there's anything to learn from this group of 20-somethings, it's to have fun with shorts. Try a graphic print, like Swift's, or play with texture, like Lovato's scalloped pair. And if you're really daring, then a matching crop top, a la Delevingne. For a more appropos look, a shorts suit or blazer can instantly take them to the next level.
2. Stars In Their 30s
An eclectic bunch, but it all works the same. Beyonce dialed up the drama with her hot pink leather pair, while Monaghan kept her look sleek and smart in a red Zac Posen shorts suit. Ground prints with a dark top, like Jones and Clooney, or opt for the same print, like Witherspoon. Or, top off your shorts with an oversize jacket for a Cotillard-inspired Parisian-chic vibe.
3. Stars In Their 40s
Who says you can't wear shorts over the age of 40? There's definitely a shift toward neutrals, like Lopez's pleated white pair or Blair's tailored black one that hits mid-thigh. But that's not to say prints are off limits (see: Pinkett-Smith). But if upper-thigh grazing hemlines aren't your thing, copy Paltrow who recently sported a playful knee-grazing printed Mother of Pearl pair.