Shorts summer outfits— 3 ways to look your best this season

Shorts summer outfits can be hard to pull together. This post gives a few ideas for current ways to wear the oldest summer staple there is, shorts.

Photo courtesy of Banana Republic

Shorts, you either love them or hate them. There is not much middle ground.

Growing up in Southern California, I wore shorts year-round. Some Christmas days I was in shorts.
Post-college, I wore them the two days a year that it got over 85 degrees when I lived in San Francisco.

I never got back into them until recently. I’ve been re-integrating them into my summer wardrobe, but on my terms.
They must be:

  • cute
  • comfortable
  • the right length for me (this is hard to find)
  • loose in the leg (this is a non-negotiable)
  • work with my other summer clothes

This is a challenging list of criteria to meet. I’ve found that ordering a size larger than normal helps me get all that I want in a pair of shorts.

But this is the tip of the shorts iceberg. Loads of questions come to mind when the word shorts pops into my head.

You too?

Things like:

  • What do I wear with them?
  • Can someone over 40 wear shorts?
  • Can I make my shorts dressier?
  • What types of shoes and accessories work with shorts?
  • How do these fit in with my summer capsule wardrobe?

Let’s discuss.

What shirts do you wear with shorts?

The most common answer is a t-shirt. It’s easy, cool and usually matches the vibe of a pair of shorts. But if you want to elevate your look a little bit, you have some options.

A linen long or short sleeve blouse is always a great look. Linen t-shirts are an option as well. This season the oversized cotton shirts will definitely elevate your outfit.

But there are also peplum blouses, shoulder tie, tanks, or strapless tops that all look great with shorts as well.

For an evening look or on a cooler summer day, you can wear a cotton sweater. If you’re at the beach this is a great layer for morning or evening.

What are appropriate short outfits for women over 40?

I get this question from my clients sometimes, and my answer is: whatever you’re comfortable with. This answer varies from person to person.

But I do have some ideas for how to feel comfortable in shorts as you push beyond the short, short phase of your life.

Find a length that works for you, not too long and not too short. For me, that’s a 5” inseam. For you, it may be 7 or 4 inches. Know where your comfort level is and look for shorts in that length.

Make sure the legs of the shorts are loose. It has a slenderizing effect on your legs, it’s more comfortable, and allows for more airflow to keep you cooler. No one wants tight clothes when it’s hot.

Try a dressier pair of shorts. This doesn’t mean you have to wear them dressy, you can still pair them with flip flops. But it’s an elevated style right off the bat and you can decide if you want to dress them up or down.

Can I wear dressy shorts outfits?

Yes. There are dressier, suit shorts this season, which are cute. Imagine dressy linen shorts with a silk sleeveless blouse. Or, shorts with a matching blazer.

How do you complete a shorts outfit?

As with any outfit, the shoes and accessories can completely change the look.

Add fun lightweight earrings, a cute straw or canvas bag, and flip-flops, slides, or sandals. All help to create a summer look and can take your basic shorts and a t-shirt to another level.

I’ve pulled together 3 solid options for summer shorts summer outfits. You can tweak these to make them your own. Use them for inspiration, or copy exactly as is using the links to shop everything below each photo.

So let’s dive in!

Summer shorts outfits for 2022

Shorts sets

Sets are the quickest way to create an outfit with shorts. Similar to a dress, you throw the matching top and bottom on, add a few accessories and head out the door. Luckily they are also very on trend right now. This toweling top and shorts in blue (we 70s kids call this TerryCloth) is a great day at the pool/beach/lake look. I also found a more affordable option here. Add the striped bag and coordinating pink slides for a fun poolside look.

This 100% cotton printed set is a tad dressier. You could wear this to a lunch, party, or running errands. The gold earrings, crocheted bag and buckle sandals complete the look.

Dressy shorts for summer

Neutral colored linen polo, suede platform slides, rattan purse, linen  shorts and a horn loop necklace show a great summer shorts outfit idea

Dressier shorts can be worn to lunches, special dinners, a wedding or baby shower. Notice the scalloped detail on the sides of these linen shorts, so pretty. Paired with a linen polo, a platform suede slide and rattan clutch you can wear this neutral look almost anywhere you have to go this summer. The horn loop necklace ties all the colors together.

Oversized shirt with shorts

blue oversized oxford, ditsy floral print clutch in pinks and blues, beaded bracelets, pink slides with large leaf motif, white shorts are an example of a summer shorts outfit

Wearing shorts with an oversized oxford is a hot look for summer 2022. This blue oversized linen blend is a great option, but any roomier shirt will accomplish the same look. A ditsy floral print clutch gives a pop of this seasons hottest pattern trend. The pink leaf slides work with the pink hues in the pattern and the bracelet ties is all together. These white canvas shorts have a 7″ inseam with one roll, or 4.5″ with two. This makes it easy to find a length that works for you, and every summer wardrobe can use a white pair of shorts.

Which of these summer shorts outfits will you be trying this season? Let me know in the comments, or share your favorite way to wear shorts.



I show women over 50 how to get noticed, stay relevant, and be connected through their wardrobe. Getting dressed is something you have to do each day, why not make it fun.



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