The Best Shorts Style for Every Body Type

We used to be super intimidated by shorts. They just always seemed hard to pull off, you know? But things became much (much) easier when we figured out what kinds work with our body type. So we’re passing on that knowledge to you, with these six tips for finding your most flattering pair.

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If You're Boyish...try Loose, Pleated Shorts

The goal here is to create curves, and that end is achieved by choosing shorts with some kind of pleating, which adds volume to slim hips. At the same time, shorter lengths show off your toned legs for a doubly flattering effect.

Get the look: Mango ($50); Splendid ($88); Alice + Olivia ($265)

If You're An Hourglass...try Paper-bag-waist Shorts

When your proportions are pretty much the ideal, it’s all about flaunting your natural shape. Highlight your small middle with shorts that have some sort of detail—like a paper-bag tie—at the waist. The length is pretty much up to you, but stick to a loose silhouette that moves. And whatever you do, tuck in your top to maximize your pair’s waist-flaunting powers.

Get the look: Gap ($20); J.Crew ($70); Club Monaco ($130)

If You're Apple-shaped...try Distressed Boyfriend Shorts

Many apple-shaped gals are blessed with great legs, making them the perfect candidates for denim cutoffs. Where the waist is concerned, look for a rise that hits your narrowest point and smoothes everything out, and go with pairs with some kind of distressing or detail on the lower half, drawing the eye away from your midsection.

Get the look: Topshop ($55); Lucky Brand ($70); Rag & Bone ($195)

If You're Pear-shaped...try Flared Shorts

Think about this style as the shorts version of a midi skirt—a go-to silhouette for pear-shaped gals. These should have a higher waist, be perfectly tailored and float away from the body as they go down, offering lots of leg room. It’s all about balance: choosing shorts that are more voluminous at the bottom, which plays nicely with wider hips and backsides. For an added slimming effect, tuck in your top.

Get the look: Minkpink ($59); Draper James ($200); Tibi ($395)

If You're Petite...try Short Shorts

If you're on the smaller size, your shorts should be, too (within reason, of course). Showing more skin creates the illusion of longer legs, so stick to inseams of around three to five inches, which is long enough to cover your upper leg but short enough to add a few extra inches onto your height. Also, be sure to stick to pairs with a more relaxed fit since your hemline is higher, since short and tight can be a little much.

Get the look: Old Navy ($14); White House Black Market ($33); Ann Taylor ($49)

shorts for body type tall

If You're Tall...try Bermudas

Unpopular opinion: Bermuda shorts get a bad rap. Whereas this length can look awkward on shorter ladies, those with long legs can pull it off in a way that's sophisticated and chic. The key is fit: Tailor these closer to your legs so they don't read sloppy. And pair them with delicate flats—never with heels.

Get the look: Tommy Hilfiger ($30); Talbots ($60); Theory ($245)

sarah stiefvater
Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
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