Are Short Shorts The Most Surprising Fashion Trend This Summer?
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We’re at that exciting time of year when the seasons are changing, and designers are well into launching their collections for the coming spring/summer months. For the fashion-conscious amongst us, this is the best time to get ahead with a look at what’s to come and some advanced summer purchases. 

And this year’s trends certainly won’t disappoint, with catwalk shows to date highlighting a focus on things like white summer dresses and high-rise trousers. But, one upcoming summer trend that’s got us all talking is the short short. 

From the opening of Gucci’s new-look show, short shorts stole the show in Milan. More recently, short shorts were also storming down Chanel’s catwalk show in Paris. And, these aren’t just any short shorts, either. These are seriously short shorts or ‘micro shorts’ as they’ve been termed in some circles. 

As unexpected as this shift towards tiny shorts might seem, anyone who’s seen these shows will know that these short shorts have a lot to offer. From sleek black short shorts to a more raunchy black leather option, it seems we’ll all be ordering an extra portion of leg this summer. 

The question is, what are the origins of short shorts, and how can you ensure that they’re the right look for you when the weather changes?

Short shorts: An origin story

First seen in the 30s, short shorts were originally designed for the sake of sporting pursuits by women who, in many ways, were still seen as somewhat controversial for wearing a ‘masculine’ item of clothing. 

By the 50s, shorts were finally a mainstream fashion option for women and boy, did we take advantage of it? Here, the ‘short’ short was really born, with ‘shorties’ that sat well above the knee and had 6-inch inseams. Though most commonly worn on the beach, you started to see short shorts in the streets around this time, though largely in more ‘rebellious’ groups. 

However, when it comes to defining the decade of the ‘short’ short, we’ve got to look to the 70s. There was no such thing as too short in this age of hotpants and Daisy Duke-style denim cutoffs. And, the trend didn’t end there. In the 80s, a focus on brightly coloured athletic wear saw us reaching for bright, short-fitted pants. 

Since then, though, while not ‘out’ of fashion exactly, short shorts have been far less prevalent on our streets. In recent years, especially, fashion retailers have largely focused on sales of longer Bermuda-style shorts. 

But things are about to change. Even before this year’s trends, short short sales were up as much as 196% last year. And the trend only looks set to grow.

‘Short’ short styles to look out for this summer

Whether you’ve delved into the world of short shorts in the past, or are brand new to the micro shorts trend, there are some great short styles to try this summer, including – 

  • Daisy Dukes: Named after the style of Daisy Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard, Daisy Dukes are denim short shorts with a low waist and a cuffed hem. 
  • Hotpants: Yes, you heard it here first – hot pants are very much hot again. In fact, from black leather hotpants to a satin velvet option, things have certainly been hotting up on the catwalk. 
  • Double layer shorts: Largely intended as an activewear choice, double layer shorts, or ‘2-in-1 shorts’ are short shorts that come complete with a less fitted outer layer for ease of movement and discretion.
  • Colourful short shorts: All of the short shorts that we’ve seen on the catwalk this year have been colourful, fun, and a little bit wild. Forget blank block colours seen across short shorts of old, we’re talking pink patchwork, emerald green, and everything in between. 

And, we’ve got some top tips to help you integrate each of these short styles seamlessly into your summer wardrobe!

# 1 – Seek cuffed seams

‘Short’ short styles to look out for this summer
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Admittedly, of the short shorts we’ve seen on the catwalk recently, stark, sharp lines seem to be something of a trend. But, in true Daisy Duke style, it’s worth seeking a cuffed seam when you’re new to short shorts. As well as adding a point of interest, this softer edging can help to keep you comfortable, and feeling less exposed. Cuffed hems are also great for ensuring a generally better fit on shorts that might otherwise be at some risk of cutting into your leg. 

Generally speaking, most denim short shorts will offer the option of a cuff. You may also prefer to go for a jagged edge, which can work as a cuff in its own right, and can stop short shorts from feeling quite so limiting. 

# 2 – Consider your colours

As mentioned, the sheer amount of colour choices on offer is one of the most exciting things about this year’s short shorts comeback. You name your colour of choice, and you can probably find a pair of micro shorts to match. 

To make the right colour choices, think about the outfits you’re working with, and where you intend to wear your shorts. For instance, if you’re pairing these shorts with a patterned crop in a casual setting, a plain colour choice like light denim or white might work best. Alternatively, if you’re pairing it with a white shirt for a more formal work outfit, plain black might be the most striking. 

Whatever you do, avoid choosing colours that are too similar to your skin tone, like beige, pink, and some browns.

Consider your colours
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# 3 – Use short shorts as a layering piece

Enjoy the full potential of short shorts by using them as a layering piece. Remember, these shorts were initially designed for use at the beach, and they can work great over the top of bikinis or swimsuits for easy access.

Equally, ‘2-in-1’ shorts could be considered a layering piece in their own right and would work well for adding texture and flow to your outfits. If you’re going for a sporty vibe, you could even think about layering athletic-wear short shorts over the top of some complimentary leggings to set your whole outfit off with a quirky, eye-catching bang. 

# 4 – Stock up on cropped tops

High-waisted short shorts can look great, as we’ve seen on the catwalk. Typically, though, fashion experts recommend against tucking your top into your short shorts, as this can disbalance body proportions. So, a cropped top is typically the best pairing.

Great for highlighting those short short styles and making your leggy outfit look its best, tops with varying degrees of crop are especially great for highlighting the smaller waists of individuals with naturally pear-shaped bodies.

# 5 –  Don’t let it all spill out

Modesty might not be the first thing you think of when you look at short shorts, but micro legwear is no reason to lose your dignity. You’ll want to look for short shorts that land on your leg at a place where you’re comfortable (and not at risk of flashing the full business!). 

Dignity when wearing short shorts also relies a great deal on what you’re letting hang from your midriff. Ideally, because short shorts are drawing attention to your waist area, you’ll want cuts that offer plenty of support up top. 

# 6- Think about footwear

Your legs will very much be the stars of the show when you’re flashing those short shorts, so you need to make sure that they look the part. And, this includes your footwear. 

While there are no hard and fast rules about which shoes should go with which shorts, thinking about your overall outfit and finish will help here. Generally speaking, for instance, lace-up shoes don’t tend to pair well with short shorts unless you’re going for a sporty workout vibe. Equally, over-the-heel sandals can work great for adding luxury to a beach outfit, while slim-line boots can go well with short shorts if you’ve got long legs. 

Think about footwear
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What not to do when styling short shorts

By their nature, short shorts are an unforgiving and exposing fashion choice. Styling them in the right ways is key, but it’s also important to avoid crucial short styling mishaps, which include – 

  • Going too tight: Tightness is a prerequisite with short short styles like hotpants, but it’s important to know your limits. After all, as well as cutting off your circulation, shorts that are too tight will end up creating bulges in all the wrong places. To be sure of fit, think about things like leg opening styles as well as waist sizes. 
  • Pairing with the wrong accessories: Short shorts are the inevitable centrepiece of any outfit, but they also rely on accessories to bring things together as a cohesive hole. If accessories like your jewellery or bag clash with or generally fail to complement your shorts, then you may end up looking less fashion Goddess and more fashion ‘oh my goodness, what was she thinking?’ 

Shorts are back baby, but are you ready to make the most of this summer trend?

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