Summertime brings long, magical nights, sunny, sweltering days and the return of (gulp) shorts. But if the task of finding the perfect pair feels harder than the Sunday crossword, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our five rules for making sure your bottoms really can’t be topped.

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Everlane

Rule 1: Shorter Hems and Dark Washes Highlight Your Legs

Got awesome gams you want to show off? Got a wider middle you’d rather not draw attention to? Go for a short inseam in a dark color to draw the eye downward in a grownup, polished way. We like a high-waisted style which nips you at the middle before widening at the hip to streamline your silhouette.

Get The Look: Everlane ($50), H&M ($25), & Other Stories ($69)

Mango

Rule 2: Bermuda Shorts Should Hit Two Inches Above the Knee

There’s a delicate art to Bermuda shorts and a very fine line between chic and frumpy. In order to nail this look (which happens to be a huge trend this summer) opt for a pair that hits about two inches above the knee and is cinched at the waist, rather than sitting near your hips. This simple rule will save you from feeling swallowed alive if your legs are short, or super awkward if you have long stems.

Get The Look: Mango ($50), Madewell ($80), Shopbop ($195)

Net-a-Porter

Rule 3: Balance Sexy Shorts with Breezy Tops

When grabbing that flowy pair of Bermudas, wear a fitted shirt to even out the look. Or, if you’re rocking your favorite barely-there cut-offs or snug-fitting bike shorts, play with a loose, oversized top to add more dimension above your waistline. After all, in 2021 it’s all about creating a balanced look that won’t leave you feeling too exposed or drowning in a sea of fabric.

Get The Look: Anthropologie ($128), Net-A-Porter ($140), H&M ($10)

Reformation

Rule 4: Say Yes to Pinstripes and Coordinated Patterns

Contrary to popular belief, patterns and colors are your friends in the shorts department. The trick is tailoring said patterns and colors to your personal body type and concerns. If you’re looking for a slimming effect, opt for a pinstripe that will elongate you. If you’re on the short side, stay away from a light top and dark bottoms, which can cut your body in half. Instead, go for a patterned co-ord or a neutral all-over monochrome.

Get The Look: Reformation ($128), Net-A-Porter ($118), Mango ($50)

Revolve

Rule 5: Remember that Rules Are Made to Be Broken

Look, this is your life and you only get to do this once (as far as we know). If your legs are “too short” or “too big” or “too skinny” for a certain style, we say go ahead and buy them anyway and throw all the “shoulds” out the window. Worst case scenario? You throw on a blazer and heels for instant sophistication.

Get The Look: Nordstrom ($49), Revolve ($128), Anthropologie ($98)

RELATED: The 14 Best Plus-Size Shorts to Get You Through Summer’s Heat in Style

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