Short order: The best shorts for women

Ellie Goodman

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28 July 2022

Let your knees feel the breeze in these airy shorts, perfect for summertime styling

28 July 2022 | Ellie Goodman | If you purchase something via our website, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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f you’re in the UK right now, you’ll doubtless be aware that it has been almost unbearably hot as of late, and the heatwaves are set to keep on coming. And while we’ve all become much more grateful to have office air-conditioning at our disposal, nobody wants to face their commute without some serious airflow. Thank goodness, then, for shorts.

Once the reserve of precocious schoolboys and festival-goers, shorts have made their way back into our wardrobes in a big way, cropping up everywhere from the workplace to summer nuptials and beyond. According to styling service Stitch Fix, searches for shorts have increased by 256 per cent since April 2022, and the style set have been leading the way; Meghan Markle recently sported a pair of smart Bermuda shorts from Dior to lunch with Gloria Steinem, and Emma Watson has been spotted in her own pair of khaki cargos. So why shouldn’t you get in on the action?

From suave tailored styles to denim cutoffs and borrowed-from-the-boys boxers, these are the best shorts to buy this summer…

 
 

The best tailored shorts

Loup Charmant Sundowner high rise linen shorts, £348, matchesfashion.com
Nanushka high-waisted pleated tailored shorts, £265, brownsfashion.com

Just a few years ago, the prospect of wearing shorts in the office would have been entirely unthinkable, but in a post-lockdown world where formal dress codes have been somewhat relaxed, a pair of smart, tailored shorts is much less likely to raise eyebrows around the coffee machine. For truly scorching days, Loup Charmant’s breezy linen shorts will keep you cool as you flit between meetings, as will Nanushka’s pleated pair. Style them with a coordinating blazer and a crisp white T-shirt for an easy transition once the clock strikes 5pm.

Self Portrait layered button embellished tweed shorts, £250, net-a-porter.com
Diane von Furstenberg pink Shiana crepe shorts, £290, harveynichols.com

Got a full calendar of garden parties and al fresco galas to attend this summer? A pair of cheerfully coloured shorts will do the trick. Self Portrait’s tweed pair are playfully layered for a trompe l’oeil effect, and embellished with shiny gold buttons, making them ideal for more glamorous occasions. Alternatively, wear Diane von Furstenberg’s fuschia pink pair with some vertiginous platform heels for sharp, party-ready style.

 
 

The best denim shorts

Re/Done ‘70s denim shorts, £185, net-a-porter.com
Mini embroidered denim shorts, £215, ganni.com

A good pair of denim shorts are an absolute summer essential, whether you’re headed to a music festival or a picnic in the park. Beloved by style starlets including Dua Lipa and Sienna Miller, Re/Done’s retro-inspired cutoffs are guaranteed to look great when paired with a graphic T-shirt and your best vegan trainers; or amp up the vintage rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic with a chic suede jacket and a pair of Chelsea boots. Or if you’re after some shorts with something extra to offer, Ganni’s shorter-than-short embroidered pair will do just as nicely and will look great when paired with your best bikini on holiday.

Isabel Marant Natalina denim bermuda shorts, £345, mytheresa.com
Reformation Alyssa high waist denim shorts, £90, brownsfashion.com

For an elevated take on the denim cutoffs and T-shirt trope, opt for a pair in black or white. Throw on your best white trainers with Reformation’s pair and you’re good to go, or for a more modest look that will still keep you cool, Isabel Marant’s high-rise Bermuda shorts will certainly have you covered.

 
 

The best printed shorts

Zimmermann Jude floral-print shorts, £375, farfetch.com
Calix high-waisted shorts, £250, shrimps.com

For a feminine touch, a pair of pretty printed shorts are a simple way of zhuzhing up your look, and, thankfully, there are options a-plenty from which to choose. Take, for instance, Zimmerman’s pair in a delicate pink and white floral print. They’re made from a breezy cotton-linen blend and pair perfectly with a simple white vest. Or if you’re after something a little more laidback, Shrimps’s luxe silk pair, in a playful Hawaiian print, make summer dressing seamless.

Cara Cara Whittaker belted printed linen shorts, £270, net-a-porter.com
La Double J shell-print silk shorts, £375, matchesfashion.com

With their relaxed, paperbag waist, Cara Cara’s tailored linen shorts, in the brand’s take on a Toile de Juoy, are ideal for days spent aboard your charter yacht, while La Double J’s shell-print silk shorts make for a brilliant beach day look.

 
 

The best boxer and track shorts

Blue check silk shorts, £510, burberry.com
Tom Ford satin shorts, £175, net-a-porter.com

For a relaxed, off-duty look this summer, take style cues from west London It girl Camille Charriere and plump for an airy pair of boxer shorts, worn with an oversized Oxford shirt. Burberry’s silk shorts in an oversized blue check are ideal for a cool borrowed-from-the-boys vibe, while Tom Ford’s slightly sexier pair are trimmed with velvet for an added touch of luxury and, when worn under an oversized blazer, will look endlessly chic when you hit the bars.

Frankie Shop Perla shorts, £110, brownsfashion.com
Pucci terry striped track shorts, £415, farfetch.com

If boxer shorts are a step too far for you, a pair of thigh-skimming track shorts – inspired by 1970s running gear – make for a sporty alternative. Keep it simple with Frankie Shop’s sleek satin pair, which come in a rainbow of shades, or go full retro with Pucci’s playful terrycloth pair. Whether worn with your best bikini top, or a simple white tank, you’ll certainly look the part as you explore the cobblestoned streets of your seaside destination.

Read more: Beautiful summer dresses to buy now