Spring is in the air, which means summer is soon to follow. Therefore, it’s time to put away the winter-weight sweaters, fleece sweats, and wool pants and dig out the capris, short-sleeve tops, sundresses, and shorts.
If you’re a petite-size woman, the thought of wearing shorts might feel discouraging—full-length pants are great when it comes to creating an illusion of height, but how do you do that with shorts? It’s just a matter of length and style. Read on to learn more about the best shorts for petite women.
Although “long shorts” may seem like a contradiction in terms, it not. “Shorts” refers to any type of pants that hits above the knee. Long shorts just happen to be close to knee length, hence the term; they’re also known as Bermuda shorts. Petite long shorts are a good option because the extra length can help your legs look longer. Be sure to choose a pair in a solid color. Wear your shorts with sandals, flats, or sneakers. However, if you’re wearing the latter, stick to no-show socks so you don’t visually cut off your feet and make yourself look shorter despite your long shorts. You can even wear your long shorts with heeled sandals for a dressier look.
High-waisted shorts come up to the natural waist, which is generally just above the belly button. This style of shorts is flattering to most women, not just petite women. The higher waist makes it less likely that there will be skin bulging over the edge of the waistband—the dreaded “muffin top” effect. If you’re a petite woman, you want to avoid this because you want the attention drawn upward, not at your middle.
One popular style of petite high-waisted shorts is paper bag shorts, which get their name because the top of the shorts is gathered at the top and resemble the way a paper bag looks when someone clutches it. Paper bag shorts are meant to be worn with a belt which give them a polished look but with the comfortable, loose fit.
They often come with a matching fabric tie belt. These shorts look especially cute when worn with a cropped top or sweater so that just a bit of skin shows. You can also wear a cute petite scoop neck top—just be sure to tuck it in. Otherwise, you will have uneven bulges in the waistband area.
Sailor shorts are a variation of high-waisted shorts characterized by a double row of buttons down the front, and get their name from the pants members of the navy wear. These shorts flatter petite women because the buttons draw the eye upward, especially if they are set at a slight angle inward. Sailor shorts should be worn with any top that can be tucked in. Try wearing these shorts with a striped petite boatneck top and deck shoes for a look that is simple yet classic.
Using vertical stripes to help give the appearance of height is a tried and true fashion trick. It works just as well with shorts as it does with pants. Stay cool in the heat of summer with a pair of seersucker shorts. Seersucker is usually made from cotton. The threads used to create the material are woven in such a way as to create the puckering effect for which seersucker is known. This textured fabric is usually found as a pastel on white stripe, making it a good style choice for petite women. Pair your seersucker shorts with a white crewneck or V-neck top or, if you prefer, match your top to the pastel stripe. Finish with a pair of white sneakers or flats for a timeless look.
If you want a casual but polished look, your best bet is a pair of petite chino shorts. Whether as paints, Capris, or shorts, chino material is usually wrinkle free, making them a good choice if you want to look as neat at the end of your day as you were at its start. Much like denim shorts, chino shorts look good with pretty much anything, from a simple T-shirt to a button-down camp shirt or sleeveless blouse. Add a pair of cute loafers to complete your look.
Some final thoughts: No matter what style shorts you choose, pay attention to where the bottom of the shorts hits you in the thigh. You want to make sure it’s not at the widest part of your leg. No matter what your height, that’s not where you want a viewer’s eye to be drawn; the resulting look will not be flattering. Also pay attention to patterns. Large patterns (think cabbage flowers) will draw the eye right to the middle. Generally, you’re better off sticking with solid colors when it comes to shorts, or, if you’re set on a print, keep it to something small. If you want to wear more vibrant patterns, be they florals or geometrics, save them for your tops to draw the eye upward. Given some thought to color and length, you’ll find it easy to find shorts that flatter your petite frame.