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Shorts – once relegated solely to backyard BBQs and Summer beach parties – have taken a suddenly chic turn and become a standby for both dressy and casual attire. I vividly remember refusing to wear shorts from about the age of 15 to 21 (my mother thought I had completely lost my mind), but I finally gave in when the Atlanta heat proved too powerful for my feeble attempts at keeping cool in rolled up jeans and cropped pants.

I don’t know what prompted my very strong aversion to shorts, but in the same way that I stubbornly stopped eating bacon for 4 years only to later question why in the world I would give up something so tasty, I too have now embraced shorts and look back at my years of covered legs wondering what the heck I was thinking.

How do you feel about shorts? Before you make up your mind for good, know that there are lots of options in a variety of lengths and for a range of different body types. While I now own my fair share of kick-around shorts, I am also drawn to more tailored, dressy options that work just as well with a nice blazer as they do with a comfy tee. See a few ways to style one of my favorite BurdaStyle shorts patterns and let me know how you rock (or why you don’t rock) your shorts!

Option 1: Tailored for the Office
Last week I pulled together a post highlighting a few fashionable suggestions for the workplace and while I didn’t add a shorts option, a sleek version paired with a tailored blazer is an office-appropriate way (depending on your job, of course) to give your shorts a professional twist.

Blazer – 3.1 Phillip Lim, blouse – Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, bracelets – Buckle, bag – Michael by Michael Kors, shorts – Theory (used throughout), shoes – Rupert Sanderson.

Options 2: Fun and Funky
As easily as shorts can be casual and laid back, they can also be fun and fashion forward – it’s all in what you pair them with. A bright purse, a bold statement necklace and a trend-friendly lace top are all great ways to give your shorts a fresh kick.

Top – H&M, necklace – Jensen Conroy, bag – Kate Spade, sandals – 3.1 Phillip Lim.

Option 3: Casual Cool
For a quick weekend getaway, toss on a boyfriend button-up, desert boots and a perfectly broken-in denim jacket to give a casual, tomboy twist to chic shorts.

Jacket – American Eagle, shirt – Thom Browne, scarf – All Saints, weekender bag – Les Prairies de Paris, boots – Dolce Vita.

Shorts popped up in more than a few designers’ Resort and Spring collections….

Tailored for Spring:
From left: Spring looks by Jason Wu, Akris, Bottega Veneta and Erin Fetherston.

Fresh and Funky for Resort:
From left: Resort looks from Prabal Gurung, Brioni, Jason Wu and No. 21 by Alessandro Dell’Acqua.

Even a few celebrities have been snapped wearing their shorts out on the town…

From left: Olivia Palermo, Gwyneth Paltrow and Daisy Lowe in virtually the same outfit!

And of course some of our fantastic BurdaStyle members have put their own unique spin on shorts with their sewing projects….

Clockwise from top: Chrysanthemum Shorts by macoskrm, Karl Lagerfeld Skirt Turned Shorts by ajtak7171, Laced Shorts from a Thrifted Top by remostar and Mossy Bow Shorts by nettevivante.

Now it’s your turn. Take a few of my favorite shorts patterns for a spin and see what you think..
From left: Ruby Shorts, Bermuda Shorts, Bow Shorts and Back Pocket Shorts patterns.

So now you tell me: shorts or no shorts. What’s the verdict?

All images via and Google images. Mood boards made via Polyvore.


  • 9b29a4f58b36ca6753ba71f2d8e4608547cc02dc_large

    Jun 30, 2011, 07.09 AMby sunnydays212003

    i love shorts, I wish I looked good in them though…lol!

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    Jun 30, 2011, 07.09 AMby sunnydays212003

    i love shorts, I wish I looked good in them though…lol!

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    Jun 29, 2011, 12.54 PMby tungufoss

    I like the bow-shorts the best. They’re definitely on my to-do list!

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    Jun 29, 2011, 09.57 AMby floreedith

    I tend to disagree shorts can be worn to work, but they have to be of a decent length and figure skimming also (not tight and provocative) about 2inches above the knee with matching jacket. This style is nothing new, used to wear those (silk shorts) to work in 1990’s with a matching jacket – boss was a muslim and he had no problems with it ….by the way I only wear heels minimum 3inches – standard wear is 4.5 inches…so there! Its all about style and how you wear things! Currently I have a set that I have done for a fashion show without even investigating what is going on on the Catwalks….I go with instincts when I create since starting my own business.

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    Jun 27, 2011, 03.06 AMby cooi

    Shorts to work… well that’s an interesting idea. I wish I could do that but I suppose it takes a less corporate environment to allow that. It would be nice to see some suit shorts on here that could actually be worn to work.

    1 Reply
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      Jun 28, 2011, 08.33 PMby mdiez

      I agree. I never wear shorts to work, no matter how nice they look on others. I always think they are more suitable for a beach holiday! How about a nice cool dress instead?

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    Jun 27, 2011, 02.31 AMby runningwithscissors1

    I find it hard to realistically think of wearing shorts for more than yard work or camping when you show pictures of stick legs in shorts (ie, the ones in the “fresh and funky for resort” section). That just isn’t realistic. I can’t say I find a number of these pictures inspirational. I am of normal weight, but have larger thighs, so shorts don’t sit well on me unless they are longer. As a result, I have been wearing capris or skirts more in summer for the past few years. Not sure I really want to go back to shorts much right now.

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    Jun 26, 2011, 11.19 PMby variantvi

    Thank god for shorts patterns like these. Shorts these days seem slutty….

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    Jun 26, 2011, 05.37 AMby ndimi

    As I have very heavy legs, I’ve always been a little wary of shorts.

    However, I adore the top you have in Option 2 – do you have a pattern for that? Gorgeous! I may even be tempted to wear shorts with that top! :)

    2 Replies
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    Jun 26, 2011, 01.30 AMby susanthegentle

    Yes to shorts, but I do prefer them in the longer (think “walking shorts”) lengths. Flatter shoes seem to work better with shorts to me, too, though perhaps that’s just because I wear them when I can’t wear skirts?

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    Jun 25, 2011, 11.27 PMby Shalyn McFaul

    I’m still eagerly waiting for a Burda pattern for a nice pair of (truly) high waist short. And by ‘truly’, I mean ones that actually hit at or just above the natural waist, not an inch or two shy of it…which just looks awkward to me.

  • Missing

    Jun 25, 2011, 06.56 PMby Talia B

    shorts are great, but you cannot wear them with heels above 2".

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    Jun 25, 2011, 03.04 AMby freakusbzzz

    I just bopught sme red tartan wool to make a pair of shorts.

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    Jun 25, 2011, 12.03 AMby likejersey

    I’ve been anti short for years, but i think I might have figured out how to finally fit and style them to work for me. I’m working on a pair of shorts (with my first full fly front ever) right now and just have to hem and figure out a top closure (button?). For me I’ve always been concerned that they’re too tight around the thigh and create a too form fitting silhouette. I’ve heard other tall girls sometimes feel like they’re showing too much leg. On the shorts I’m working on now I’ve widened the bottom of the shorts so they stand away from the thigh—although i may need to make it even more for the next pair—and a more voluminous top or one with long sleeves helps counteract the brevity of the shorts.

    1 Reply
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      Jun 25, 2011, 05.47 AMby nouvellegamine

      “On the shorts I’m working on now I’ve widened the bottom of the shorts so they stand away from the thigh”- my shorts are totally cut like this & it looks great. it’s also a lot comfier than tight shorts.
      good luck & please post a pic of them when they’re done!

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    Jun 24, 2011, 08.38 PMby glorialavonne

    I once made a pair of shorts in satin and put lace inserts at the bottom edge. Then I made a little top and layered it with gauze and lace. Then I added a clutch purse to the mix. My youngest sister was going to a party and wanted “something fancy” to wear. This was in the late 70’s and she was a hit.

    Shorts a versatile, if you vary the styling and the fabric . I have several pair of shorts in different styles for different things. [Why shouldn’t we? We sew.]

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    Jun 24, 2011, 05.50 PMby groovymama

    Oh yes, shorts. Love ‘em. Great post. I’ve just finished a pair for my youngest….perhaps I should make some for myself now ….or my oldest daugther. She would love the bow shorts.

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    Jun 24, 2011, 05.29 PMby wzrdreams

    Great post. The examples you pulled together are really spot on. I’ve got some shorts patterns and fabric waiting in my queue as well. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1 Reply
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      Jun 24, 2011, 05.33 PMby themisslinds

      I should have snapped a picture of your awesome shorts at Renegade!

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