Shorts Are Awesome: Ten Reasons You Want To Wear Them

Solange Knowles for Roller Coaster Magazine.


As promised, here are ten reasons why IBC’s reader who is suspicious of shorts in general should totally give them a shot.

1. Shorts have come a long way

Is this what you think of when you think "shorts?" That's how I used to think of shorts. P.S. Sookie and Bill might be the grossest celeb. couple ever. Blech.

Don’t fault an entire clothing category for the mistakes of the American frumpy!

High-waisted is not for everyone, but this whole shebang looks EXCELLENT.

2. They’re really the most comfortable non-skirt option for hot summers

Jewelry designer Kate Jones, of Ursa Major, is super chillaxed in the NYC summer heat. Why? Shorts.

I actually cropped this photo because the model's face was so annoying and I didn't want it to take away from... TUXEDO SHORTS! Loose, comfy, goes with EVERYTHING.

3. They’re an excellent opportunity for unexpected aesthetic innovation

Sweater cape, faux fur hat, suede shorts, tights, opera gloves... AUTUMN SHORTS OUTFIT!

That's right. That is RIGHT!

4. Fun colors!

5. If you do them well, no one will look as rad as you

Knee length shorts are always a great option, especially as shorts training wheels. Photo by Scott Schuman.

Solange Knowles being supremely amazing.

6. They can dress up and dress down

Dressed up AND down, simultaneously. Photo by Scott Schuman.

You might have guessed by now that Solange Knowles is one of my fashion heroes.

7. They’re old timey like tennis!


"Oh nothing. Just being Ginger Rogers."

8. All shoes work with them

Atsuko Nonaka wearing shorts + flats.

Cute girl wearing loafers.

Nerdy girl wearing wedges.

Vanessa wearing heels + Texas tattoo.

Tamaki Nanase wearing a crazy awesome vintage situation + sneakers.

9. They’re like pants, but more jaunty

Diane von Furstenberg is all up in shorts this summer. I coveted those yellow shorts at the Brooklyn Barney's not 4 weeks ago. GIVE THEM TO ME, DVF!

10. They’re the only article of clothing that makes you want to frolic

"OMG! I'm so fancy free in these floral print shorts!"

Some doubts you may still have:

I’m too pale to wear shorts! Wrong.

It is physically impossible for you to be more pale than I am and I wear shorts all summer long. Photographer Kareem Worrell even uses me as a light reflector from time to time. “Oh no, Michael, I don’t want a picture of you, I want you to stand next to that thing and reflect the sunlight onto it.” True story.

I feel weird about my legs. Don’t.

Shorts are just like any other article of clothing– you find the ones that compliment the body you were born with. There’s an option for every body type and shape.

All I ever see are ugly shorts. So what.

Most people love to be lazy when it comes to dressing themselves. For too long shorts have fallen into the utilitarian category (e.g. it’s hot out, so people just throw on any pair of whatever thinking of them only as a way to be less hot). All you have to do is incorporate them as part of your personal style. So don’t buy boring khaki shorts, don’t just chop an old pair of jeans. Imagine you’re putting on a favorite skirt (if you wear those, which I don’t) or a pair of pants. Just put the same amount of thought into shorts that you do into anything else you like to wear.



About Michael von Braithwaite

Does it look like I'd wear it on a boat, at an eccentric person's estate or accompanied by a peacock on a chain? Yeah, I'll probably buy that.


  1. xoxobenmccoy

    One thing I love about shorts is that they are surprisingly EXCELLENT paired with black tights! Example, that photo with the suede shorts. THAT IS AN OUTFIT!
    Also, I enjoyed the use of shorts by Evan Rachel Wood in Running with Scissors:

    The internet is being stingy on images for that, but you get the picture. XO

  2. Michael von Braithwaite

    Ben McCoy, that outfit looks simply BEN MCCOY! I also love shorts paired with black tights– it is a perfect pairing.

  3. annie

    see, i need some kind of shorts consultant, ’cause whenever i pull a pair off a rack thinking “i’ve done it! i’ve found shorts that will look fashionable and flattering!” i am sadly mistaken. yet other people do it. i will soldier on in my quest for shorts!

    • Michael von Braithwaite

      So thing with shorts, unlike with say… regular pants… is that you actually have to visualize them in the context of a whole outfit. When I first started wearing shorts I made the mistake of buying shorts as if in an outfit vacuum (“these are cute shorts! they’ll look great on me!”). Then I’d get them home and realize that if I wore them with anything I previously owned, I looked frumpy or like a child.

      Buy shorts almost like you would accessories. In other words, “I’ve got this t-shirt I want some shorts for,” or “I have this x colored blouse I want shorts for.”

      And make sure to buy with your body shape/comfort in mind. I tried mid-thigh shorts, but they look AWFUL on me for reasons that I still don’t understand. Upper thigh looks great, though (which was surprising because I never thought I could pull off shorter shorts). Experiment with a few lengths and cuts before you buy anything. And wear what you want to pair them with when you go!

  4. Alex

    I would just like to express my approval of the abundance of Solange Knowles in this post. Also, I love shorts.

    • Michael von Braithwaite

      Solange Knowles is basically the best thing ever to hit photography. Did you know that she has a blog called “My Damn Blog?” If you ever need fashion inspiration, go there.

  5. Michael von Braithwaite

    A reader emailed a comment that was not approved because it’s tone didn’t fit within the comment policy, but the question behind the tone was valid, which was “Why aren’t there more pictures of non-thin people wearing shorts if you [Michael] think they can work for everyone?”

    I do believe they work for all body types and shapes, but the answer to the reader’s question is pretty simple and actually frustrating for myself, as well. Because our culture is generally fat phobic, I went through no less than 5 Google Images pages per example trying to find more diverse body shapes and sizes wearing shorts I also think are fashionable and came up with nothing.

    I also searched for “plus sized,” “hourglass,” and other non-thin descriptors trying to find images. There WERE images of other body types wearing shorts, but they weren’t very stylish shorts (read: weird mom shorts, etc.). I looked through multiple street fashion sites, blogs, and more and still found that it was nearly impossible to find good images.

    This is something that I and other IBC writers have found generally troubling and we’re always on the lookout for fat-positive fashion bloggers, but as of yet, no one has approached us (we put a call out for new writers every 8 weeks).

    So, if anyone has resources for great fashion and style blogs that feature more diverse body types or that are fat-positive, let us know and we’d be happy to pull images from them. If YOU’D like to write about this, also let us know, since we’re looking for different ideas all the time.

    Thanks for reading IBC

IBC LOVES your brain, and we encourage thoughtful, lively discussion. We will, however, moderate comments that are abusive or disrespectful. Stay classy!

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