28 Summer Styles That Will Turn You Into a Shorts Person

  • 5208

Temperatures are rising, masks are coming off, and after what has felt like the longest winter on record in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is finally—finally!—here.

As desperate as I am to get outside, summer dressing has always felt particularly challenging—especially in a hot (and humid) city like New York. How does one manage to look pulled together while wearing as little as possible, taking into account not only the sweltering heat of the subway platform but the subzero blast of air conditioning waiting just beyond the threshold of every store and restaurant?

While dresses are, of course, never a bad idea, there’s something about their more structured summertime counterpart—I’m talking about shorts here—that has always felt just a tiny bit, shall we say, unappealing.

I suspect it has something to do with the gruesome options available to me as a teenager in the early 2000s: unthinkably low-rise denim cutoffs, which were paired with Ugg boots; thrice-rolled Soffe shorts worn by cool-girl volleyball players everywhere; and, of course, the men’s board shorts I was led to believe were stylish by Michelle Rodriguez in Blue Crush. (Let me be clear: Rodriguez pulled them off; I did not.)

Thankfully for all of us, shorts have evolved since 2004, leaving me with what feels like a much more expansive array of inclusive styles that suit every occasion. And not a moment too soon—as many of us embrace a more relaxed post-pandemic aesthetic, shorts no longer feel like a weekend-only wardrobe staple. Ahead, the summer shorts I’ll be wearing to keep cool this season.

The Lounge Short

I’ll be working from home this summer, meaning structured waistbands have little to no place in my summer wardrobe. Think of these lounge shorts as the grown-up version of the rolled-down Soffe.

Staud Bungee cotton-terry shorts

$125

MATCHESFASHION.COM

Suzie Kondi organic-cotton-terry shorts

$115

NET-A-PORTER

Aerie Real Good Fleece-of-Mind high-waisted shorts

$35$26
AERIE

A.L.C. Wrenn cotton-terry shorts

$150

INTERMIX

The Knit Short

A close cousin of the lounge short, these knit versions look just a tiny bit more dressed up when paired with an oversized button-up, cropped tee, or matching chunky sweater.

Alanui Cacti knitted shorts

$496$347
FARFETCH

Skims cozy knit shorts

$58

SKIMS

Shona Joy Willow knit shorts

$240

INTERMIX

St. Agni Spencer knit linen shorts

$160$112
MODA OPERANDI

The Tailored Short

Despite my best efforts to avoid waistbands this summer, these ultracomfortable tailored styles have changed my mind. They offer all the polish of a pair of trousers without all the extra fabric.

Wilfred Anthem seven-inch high-waisted trouser shorts

$98

ARITZIA

Dries Van Noten high-rise cotton-blend shorts

$465

MYTHERESA

Madewell linen long pleated shorts

$75

MADEWELL

Zara pleated shorts

$36

ZARA

The Retro Rec Shorts

Retro rec shorts are here to make you feel like you might go running at any moment. You probably won’t. But you might.

Patagonia women’s Baggies shorts

$55

PATAGONIA

Acne Studios running shorts

$260

ACNE STUDIOS

Collina Strada collage-print track shorts

$370$259
FARFETCH

Adidas by Stella McCartney Truepace shorts

$75

BANDIER

The Denim Short

No summer wardrobe is complete without a pair of wear-everywhere denim shorts. Whether you prefer a finished hem or a classic cutoff, these flattering A-line silhouettes will come as a welcome relief to anyone who lived through the micro-denim trends of yesteryear.

Ganni high-rise denim shorts

$205

MYTHERESA

Everlane the A-Line denim shorts

$60

EVERLANE

Agolde Riley cut-off denim shorts

$128

INTERMIX

Citizens of Humanity Naria organic-cotton denim shorts

$200

MODA OPERANDI

The Bike Short

I’ll be the first to admit I was confused when bike shorts first appeared on runways a few years ago. But thanks to their ubiquity (and coziness), I’ve since come to embrace the ease of dressing like a competitive cyclist.

Girlfriend Collective high-rise recycled-fiber cycling shorts

$48

GIRLFRIEND COLLECTIVE

Rag & Bone Sunny cotton shorts

$150

RAG & BONE

Leset Ali bike shorts

$88

VERISHOP

Nike Sportswear essential bike shorts

$35

NORDSTROM

The Statement Short

Thanks to their length, shorts present an excellent opportunity to experiment with colors or patterns you might not consider in full-length pants. These bold styles pack a punch without overwhelming your entire look.

Dolce & Gabbana pleated crepe shorts

$825

NET-A-PORTER

Zimmermann poppy tie-dyed silk shorts

$350

INTERMIX

Marni high-rise cotton and linen shorts

$500

MYTHERESA

Sandro Mario crochet shorts

$145

NORDSTROM