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Tips for wearing shorts: Find styles that flatter

Unless you work in the landscaping industry, you probably keep them tucked away in your bureau until after hours. But when we get home, or on the weekends, shorts help us beat the heat.

For many, however, it’s more difficult to find a flattering pair of shorts than it is to find the perfect pair of jeans, but summer is the time to get down to an often difficult business, says fashion stylist Jennifer Niehouse (

“The needs are endless,” she says. “First, they have to be comfortable. Second, they need to be a flattering length. They have to sit just right around the waist. And they can’t make the thighs look big.”

The thigh area seems to be a sore spot for many, says Niehouse, adding that companies like Lands’ End have tools to help women find the right fit.

“I always come back to the word ‘taper' to describe ways to help people flatter the legs,” she says. “Many shorts might fall straight or even flair, which may not be a good look.”

Length is another consideration, says Bridgette Raes, style expert and author of “Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want” (

A structured shape that is slim and long, like a tapered Bermuda is a great style, she says.

“Short shorts are so limiting for most shapes and ages, and older women often feel dowdy in wide walking shorts,” Raes says. “A slim Bermuda that hits right above the knee seems to appeal to most women.”

If you’re thin in the legs and hips, you can get away with cuffed shorts, shorter shorts or those with soft, swishy fabrics, she adds.

But for those not gifted with slender legs, look to longer styles, and consider your shoe choice, Raes says.

“I’d stay away from very flat shoes, ankle straps and dark shoes, all which shorten the legs and make them look heavier,” she says. “A slight heel will make the legs look lean.”

Note the word “slight,” she says. “A spindly stiletto rarely does (work), unless you are under the legal drinking age.”

Ask Sofia Wacksman, vice president of trends for Kohl’s department stores, what’s selling well this time of year, and she offers a few trends.

“Try white head-to-toe with a pop of color with bright accessories,” she says. “We loved the classics – like denim, rolled or frayed – paired with your favorite T.”