These looks will have you saying, "Ugh, why didn't I think of that?!"

By Avery Matera
Apr 13, 2021 @ 5:38 pm
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Shorts Outfits
Credit: Streetstyleshooters/Getty Images

Shorts are a mainstay in nearly everyone's summer wardrobe, but they've definitely developed a reputation for being too casual, and sometimes even labeled inappropriate for various warm weather settings. However, that's a rumor that needs to be put to rest. After all, why should your only summer outfit options be flowy sundresses or wrinkly linen pants?

You heard it here: Shorts will not only keep you cool on a scorching day, they're also fit to be styled for morning, noon, and night. In other words, you can still wear these babies in a formal setting and look elevated and pulled-together, since the key is actually how you style them. So, whether you're headed for a morning coffee run, a mid-afternoon meeting, or after-hours drinks, there's a sleek shorts look for you, using what's already in your closet.

Don't just take it from us. Get inspired by the 12 women ahead, all of whom are serving up effortless shorts outfit inspiration like the pros they are. Whether it's the addition of a blazer, a bodysuit, opting for Bermudas, or finding the perfect top, there are countless ways to give these bottoms a boost — but we're sticking with 12 for now.

Break Out a Bustier

Go structured with your shorts, but then switch things up on top by pairing the tailored style with a lingerie-like bustier, providing balance and a bit of fun. Then, add some edgy charm by slipping into chunky moto boots to finish things off.

Opt for Bermudas

If your goal is to cover up a tad more than Daisy Dukes allow, consider slipping into a longer pair of Bermuda shorts. This style tends to be more tailored as well, which gives you plenty of room to play around when choosing a shirt. You can even embrace that casual-yet-luxe look by wearing them with a basic cotton tank or tee.

Add a Belt

A little accessory play goes a long way, so tuck in your top and add a bold belt. It will give you that extra-polished air that you so often seek — especially when you want to make a tailored pair of shorts work for more dressed-up settings.

Embrace All-Black Everything

There's just something about black that instantly makes everything look elevated and fashion-forward — and the same rule applies when you're wearing shorts. Invest in a black, pleat-front pair, then give them a subtle yet statement-making twist with a matching sweater and knee-high boots.

Think Vintage-Inspired

When you want to make a denim pair of short look intentional rather than on-the-go, style them with pieces that are vintage or vintage-inspired. The craftsmanship on knit cardigans, embroidered tops, and the like are a great pairing for that heavy cotton weave.

Layer Like a Pro

When it comes to styling your shorts, don't forget about layering. Go retro and preppy by pulling a knit vest over an embroidered puff-sleeve blouse, using tailored bottoms to bring it all together. To finish things off, add personal touches with accessories and shoes, such as chunky combat boots and an oversized bow, which will make the look your own.

Go Floral

Denim shorts no doubt look great with any old tee, but if your goal is an outfit that feels more feminine and sweet, try pairing them with a ruffled or floral blouse before finishing off the look with a seasonal raffia or wicker bag.

Stick to Suits

Turn your notion of suiting on its head by reaching for a set consisting of a longline jacket and structured high-waisted shorts, instead of the more traditional skirt or pants.

Try High-Waisted

Even when you're wearing nothing but a bikini, consider using a pair of high-waisted, pleat-front shorts as a coverup, which feel a lot more elegant than your go-to stretchy option or oversized tee. With a look like this, all you need is a pair of espadrilles to take it from the beach to the bar.

Paired with Structured Tops

Balance out the off-duty vibe of denim cutoffs with a top that's expertly constructed and normally fit for a night on the town. Not only will this make your shorts seem dressy enough for that dinner date, but it will help keep your fancy shirt from feeling too over-the-top, allowing you to wear it during the day in casual settings, too.

Bring On the Bodysuit Trend

Shorts bodysuits have been popping up on celebrities and influencers alike, but the struggle to style them past the gym is a real one. An easy trick? Throw on a longline blazer and let only a bit of your spandex onesie pops through. As for shoes, everything from a pair of kitten heels to Audrey Hepburn-inspired ballet flats will make this ensemble complete.

Make It Matchy-Matchy

If you're sick of sweatsuits, swap them out for a matching pair of shorts and button-down shirt, which might be more your speed. This coordinating look couldn't be easier to throw on yet still stands out, whether you're going for a subtle neutral pairing or prefer a bright color palette for warmer days.