I personally love wearing shorts, but they aren’t always appropriate for the occasion, and I totally understand that not every woman feels comfortable baring her legs. Fortunately, there are lots of great casual alternatives to shorts!
I’ve updated this popular post for the new season, and I hope it’s helpful. I can see from pulling this post together that I need to add some skirts and jumpsuits to my wardrobe rotation this summer.
Casual Alternatives to Shorts
Dresses are the easiest option because they’re one and done. Midi dresses are trending this season, but maxi dresses and above-the-knee dresses are still very much on trend.
Lighter fabrics and flowy styles may be cooler, but I tend to gravitate to t-shirt dresses and more fitted styles because they’re more flattering on me.
I recently styled this tie dye midi dress from Old Navy. It’s lightweight and comfortable, and the elastic waistband helps define the waist.
I also really like the fit of this Caslon muscle tank dress, but the solid black sold out as soon as I got it in the mail. It also comes in a trendy camo print and a navy/white stripe.
This Caslon maxi dress is back this year. I love the flattering scoop neck and drawstring waist. It has a high side slit, for ease of movement, and it also helps to keep you cool on a hot day.
Here’s another dress I ordered, photographed, and then it sold out before I was able to post to the blog. This seems to be a theme this spring! It’s still available in the pink starburst print, and they have this grey chanterelle in plus sizes.
not-so-fun fact: I also ordered the pink print, and had it in the car the day we shot this look… but I chose to shoot this grey print instead. I had no idea one would sell out.
This popular Leith body-con tank is only left in a few sizes, but I bet a lot of you have this in your closets! I love the ruching and the tulip hem.
Another blast from the past… Boden always has a large selection of summer dresses, and this one is one of my favorites from a couple years back. Check out the current selection of Boden dresses for something similar.
And this shift was another Old Navy find. It has just enough shape through the waist to flatter your curves, and the v-neckline is also flattering. The cap sleeves are nice for those of us who want a little more coverage than sleeveless styles, but you will still stay cool in the heat.
This Everlane tank dress is one of my favorites from last season. I’ll link it because they have a few left in the Large size. (It runs true to size.)
And this year they have a really cute slip dress that has a similar vibe, but it’s not as bra-friendly as mine. If you don’t mind wearing a strapless bra, it’s a good option.
Shop Summer Dresses:
#2. Crop Jeans or Pants
Crop jeans and pants typically have a hem that falls 2 – 3 inches above the ankle bone, and they can be straight, skinny, or wide-leg. This is a great solution for ladies who want more leg coverage, and you can find lots of options these days.
I realize pants may not always be your first choice, especially if you live in a warmer climate, but light-weight fabrics can be practical for summertime on mild days and cool evenings.
White crop straight jeans pretty much scream Summer! They look crisp and clean paired with bright colors, pastels, or neutrals.
The Mother Insider is my new denim obsession. I have them in this distressed style as well as the white, and they also come in a good medium blue non-distressed wash as well as a darker blue non-distressed wash.
Yes, they’re spendy, but if you can snag them on sale and you know you’ll wear them a lot, the cost per wear will average out over time.
STYLE TIP: Style your crop jeans and pants with sandals or sneakers and your favorite tees and tanks, but be sure to choose a shorter top or give your longer tops a tuck to keep the proportions on point.
Boyfriend jeans are always a nice summer denim option. While they aren’t as trendy this season as they’ve been in the past, they still look current if you choose a pair with a higher rise and wear them with classic tops and sandals.
Shop Crop Pants and Jeans:
#3. Wide-Leg & Palazzo Pants
Wide-leg pants are a huge trend this spring, and they’re usually made of a thinner fabrics that are cooler than jeans and chinos.
Unfortunately, this can be a hard silhouette to style, especially for certain body types… a.k.a. mine. But if they work for you, they’re a great casual alternative to shorts.
These Tommy Bahama linen pants would be perfect paired with a tank on a hot summer day.
STYLE TIP: Wide-leg crop pants look best with close-fitting tops that stop at the waist or high hip, or they will need to be tucked in.
I would never pair this black top with these light floral pants, but it illustrates the idea of tucking in a top to more voluminous pants.
Shop Wide-Leg and Palazzo Pants:
#4. Skirts & Skorts
Skirts are a great option for women looking for casual alternatives to shorts in warm weather because they’re just as cool as shorts. I love this play on a sweatshirt fabric, for a casual option. The camo version is also really cute.
Skorts are another good shorts alternative, and they provide more coverage to allow for ease of movement. This Athleta Soho skort is back this year, and it comes in a bunch of colors. It’s so comfortable and cute on.
Shop Summer Skirts & Skorts:
#5. Jumpsuits & Rompers
Jumpsuits and rompers have been trending for a few seasons, and there are a lot of casual options this year. I personally am not a huge fan of these because of the bathroom situation, but some women love them.
You can find jumpsuits and rompers in lots of fabrics, but I focused more on casual options for this post.
Shop Jumpsuits & Rompers:
I hope that was helpful! What are your favorite alternatives to shorts?
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