Women United Against Shorts


There is not much more glorious than summer, am I right? I simply can’t get enough of the long, warm, sunny days. With summer, however, we are all faced with the impending decision that torments the minds and hearts of all adult women: is this the summer that I am I going to wear shorts?

Shorts are the absolute worst.

Shorts are viciously not cute and ride up in the most irritating way. Irritating in both a figurative and literal way- because the wad of rumpled fabric that rides up towards my crotch does nothing good for my appearance, and feels horrible.

woman wearing shorts
Ill-fitting shorts don’t look good on anyone.

Let’s be honest, shall we? Despite the fancy ads showing women in dress shorts, looking glamorous and weather-appropriate, even though they are frequently in ad campaigns shot in deserts, women’s shorts are not really something that can be dressed up.

Shorts are perpetually casual and frequently cross over into being hideously unflattering.

Remember pleated shorts? Spoiler: they don’t look good on anyone. Not one solitary soul. Show me a picture of someone looking attractive in this demonic item of clothing, and I will show you a picture of someone who might look delightful in an actual potato sack. Then again, I have never seen a real potato sack, so there’s a possibility that they may be coming into fashion one day soon.

I heard that high-waisted short shorts are currently the rage. To this trend, I simply say, “No. Not today, Satan.” I am not entirely immune to the charm of this style either. I do appreciate how high-waisted shorts have the potential to create a longer looking leg and emphasize a small waist, but the accompanying pancake a** is nothing I can get behind. Literally. No way. Other problematic styles are women’s cargo shorts, skorts, and shorts that are longer than the knee. These styles do no one any favors and should be outlawed. As my daughter says about anything she dislikes- from cleaning up her toys to having to eat broccoli, “throw that right in the garbage.” Indeed.

Throw those shorts right into the garbage, please.

Pleated shorts.
Summer Shorts by Ludivineem. ludivineem.com/2013/07/summer-shorts/ Right into the garbage, please.

Plus, there’s the issue of legs. My legs are the pastiest color of bluish-white, are liberally speckled with spider veins, and have cellulite. If Norah Ephron was embarrassed about her neck, my cringe-worthy spot is my knees. My knees are soft and dimpled, like the most delicious biscuits. I love biscuits, but my knees are my least favorite parts of my body. Shorts expose my legs and knees to the entire world.

I used to avoid this problem altogether by wearing skirts and dresses. Skirts and dresses are comfortable and attractive. Even the most casual dresses make me look like I am heading to a delightful garden party, not to the backyard to weed my garden. Skirts and dresses are, however, not necessarily compatible with toddlers. (More on that later.) I also beat the heat with my favorite summer uniform: capri-length leggings and tank tops. I am not abandoning this uniform because it is attractive (to me anyhow), functional, and, most importantly, I feel great when I’m dressed like this.

But frankly, I hate feeling like I can’t or shouldn’t experience something.

If someone is out there, successfully wearing shorts, I too want to wear shorts. I also refuse to buy into the idea that my legs are not attractive because they are large. I won’t undersell my legs’ strength and endurance because they do not look a certain way. My muscular legs work really well, for which I am grateful. I’m not going to hide them because I am not ashamed of them. Furthermore, I think it’s important to let my daughter see me, her mom, being proud of what my body can accomplish, as opposed to being insecure about its appearance.

Almost immediately after becoming a parent, I started weighing the merits of looking cute with the practical needs of staying cool in the hot summer while keeping up with my quick-moving child, and not having to risk the eventual humiliation that occurs to every woman who wears a loose skirt or dress around a toddler. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.

If you genuinely don’t know, let me be the first to inform you that loose skirt day and sexy underwear day should NOT correspond with grocery shopping at 5 PM day.

This is wise advice, and advice that some people, including me, wish I had received before taking my daughter shopping a couple of years ago. Hannaford shoppers, I am deeply sorry you had to see most of my butt. Know better, do better, right?

Here’s the thing: once I stopped feeling horribly self-conscious about wearing shorts (not surprisingly, having your toddler lift your skirt above her head in Hannaford while you’re balancing an armful of groceries and a diaper bag kind of makes you immune to fully-dressed embarrassments) I was able to be proactive about making myself feel more comfortable in this dreadful item of clothing. Namely, I bought shorts that fit me, in colors that I like. (I’m a genius, right?) It might seem counterintuitive that I also did not buy the longest shorts available for me. Instead, I picked a pair that has a seven-inch rise. This length covers enough of my leg to make me comfortable and is short enough to lengthen the appearance of my legs.

After I bought correctly fitting shorts, I did this terribly radical thing: I wore them. In public. Instead of being shunned, mocked, or otherwise tormented, I went about my day in peace and relative comfort. I even ran an errand. Wouldn’t you believe it, but almost a year ago, when I fully committed to wearing shorts, in public, I was asked out on a date WHILE I WAS WEARING SHORTS!

To recap: an attractive, pleasant, and smart younger man saw me in shorts, flirted with me, and asked me out. I am pretty sure he is not vision-impaired in any way either, as he drives.

So, what is the moral of this story?

Wear shorts. Summer, and life are both too fleeting to waste time being hot and uncomfortable.   


  1. Shorts with pockets? Skorts? I can’t bring myself to embrace shorts these days. They don’t seem practical for work, while capris and skirts/dresses do!

  2. Ha ha! Loved this post. True story- I bought two pairs of shorts in 2004 and I haven’t bought another pair since, except for a pair of running shorts. I keep repairing them and hoping that they’ll last one more summer!

    • Alana, shorts are the worst. But they’re so practical. And Laura is right, there is the benefit of pockets, which immediately become filled with Lila’s immense rock and “treasure” collection. I know you know about this 😉

  3. As a mom of two boys who keep me very busy, I now own my first shorts wardrobe. I wasn’t happy about it but now I’m ready to embrace my knees and elbows. Take that, Coco Chanel!

    • Katrina- This wardrobe wasn’t what I had in mind either. All the images in the media of these effortlessly chic moms… well, let’s just say that I’m probably not in that group either. Thank you for commenting! Coco can stuff it 😉


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