Now that it looks like the sun is here to stay for a little while at least, it is time to get our legs out. For some of us this very idea fills us with dread – not knowing which skirt type suits our body shape, or envisaging embarrassing prevailing wind disasters. Fear no more however, as I may have the answer in the form of shorts. Shorts protect your modesty without being too conservative, are easy to wear and can be dressed up or down, and aside from hotpants, I find it hard to think of a style of shorts that wouldn’t be suited to a particular body shape or personal style – although cycling shorts should definitely be left to cyclists.
For me, I almost always choose a pair of shorts with turn-ups as they make the hem sit slightly away from the leg, which gives an instant slimming effect. The paper bag waist that is created by a pair of linen shorts with a tie-up belt is also very flattering and can give the illusion of an hourglass figure for those who don’t already have one. I would say that the ideal length falls within the top half of the thighs – any shorter might lead to cheeky wardrobe malfunctions, any longer between the thigh and the knee and your legs could be made to look shorter.
In the summer, I just love the simplicity of a vest top with a pair of linen or denim shorts and Converse or canvas trainers and I particularly appreciate the ‘throw on’ nature of such a look now that I have a 15-month-old toddler to run around after. However, if I were to be going shopping, or to lunch with friends for example, it would be easy to add interest with a statement necklace, stacked bangles and a great pair of wedges.
For those of you who think that the summer office wardrobe is limited to the pencil skirt, I’d like to introduce you to the shorts suit. Featured on the spring runways of such designers as Jil Sander, Carven, Philip Lim and Burberry, the shorts suit is perfectly smart enough for the office and chic enough to wear to after work drinks. However, if you are slightly wary of the matching suit pieces, you could try tonal colour blocking, or choose a pair of pastel tailored shorts, a white sleeveless top and team then with an MSL favourite, the patterned blazer.
By Louise Hayward