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10th Commandment: May 21



J.Crew 4″ Chino Short ($45)

With Memorial Day just a few days from now, I thought we would take a moment to discuss shorts.

I’ve said it before, and I’l say it again: I think the 4″ chino short is far superior to the 3″ chino short.  It seems impossible that one little inch could make such a difference, but it does.

The reason being that when you sit in shorts, the inseam bunches up and wrinkles.  So when you stand up, especially on hot, humid days, the bunching continues, leaving you with a 1.5″ inseam and a less-than-flattering look.  For whatever reason, that single, extra inch lessens the effect of the bunching and prevents you from flashing London and France.  (Seriously, the number of female tourists who walk around D.C. with their underwear inadvertently showing is mind boggling.)

If you’re not sold on chino shorts, why not try this scalloped pair from Club Monaco?  Or these Lilly Pulitzer flutter shorts?  J.Crew has a number of lovely options like these dotted shorts or these striped ones.  I also own a metallic pair similar to this Milly pair.

Petite? These scalloped shorts from Loft are nice.  Plus-size?  It’s tough to find shorts for fuller figures that aren’t hideous, but Old Navy seems to stick to the basics, so I’d start there.

Bottom line, if you’re going to wear shorts, I believe they should be worn well.  Whether you’re going to an office barbecue or to the shore, even casual summer clothes can look good.



  1. Alaina says:

    J.Crew Factory also has chino shorts. I found the construction to be quite good. They’re on sale right now for $35.

    May 21, 2013/Reply
  2. m says:

    I’m not sure what the inseam is, but the Banana Republic + Milly collection has some adorable shorts.


    May 21, 2013/Reply
  3. Cynthia W says:

    The Loft 4 inch shorts are certainly cute, but as someone a bit older than you, I actually prefer their 5″ and 6″ shorts – they’re modest enough to keep my upper thighs covered while I’m sitting, without heading into old lady or Bermuda territory.

    May 21, 2013/Reply
  4. Lady Lawyer says:

    I agree with Cynthia on length: I tend to go for a 5 inch. A little more modest,still clearly shorts, but not old lady.

    I’m a fan of the Old Navy 5 inch. Cheap enough that I can buy two pair at the beginning of a summer, and they will last me straight through with no issues.

    May 21, 2013/Reply
  5. Jane says:

    J.Crew is having a 20% off sale on women’s clothing (promo LOOK20). It puts the Chino shorts at $36.

    May 21, 2013/Reply
  6. Giggling Gourmand says:

    I think I said this last year but it really depends how tall you are. At 5’3″ I think longer than the 3″ makes my legs look far to short. And with J crew the leg holes are wide enough and the shorts are fairly lose so there’s no real bunching to speak of.

    May 21, 2013/Reply
    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m 5’4″ and I just switched to the 4″ instead of the 3″ this year, I’m not sure if it was the 30th birthday or the thought of my bosses seeing just a little too much thigh but I felt like it was time to add another inch. I find the 4″ to be flattering and not make me feel stumpy like the 5″ do.

      May 21, 2013/Reply
      • Giggling Gourmand says:

        Thanks. Good to know! I think I also might wear mine kind of low and not where they are actually supposed to sit with these shorts which might also make a difference. I should also probably admit that I’m being kind to myself with the 5’3″.

        May 21, 2013/Reply
  7. Emmalu says:

    What is the age when one should not be wearing short “short” shorts?
    Unless one is involved with exercise…..?
    I see too many times an inappropriate pair on someone and it is sad.

    May 21, 2013/Reply
    • Chelsea says:

      19. Short shorts are almost always uncalled for, especially when the pocket is hanging out!

      May 21, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Depends on what you define as short. I’m 30, and I plan to be wearing 4″ shorts for quite a few more years.

      May 21, 2013/Reply
  8. Christine says:

    At 5’0″ tall and 26 years old, I’m wearing 3″ shorts this summer. Anything longer and I might as well wear burmuda shorts (which I do own in a few fun colors). Just bought 5″ navy blue shorts on sale at Tommy Hilfiger to replace other (3″) navy shorts that bleach ruined, so I’ll be cuffing those before wearing.

    May 22, 2013/Reply
  9. Cynthia W says:

    I for sure agree that it depends on how tall you are. At 5’6 and 45 years old, 3 inches is practically obscene on me.

    Can we all agree that your shorts should not be riding up your rear end and, if you wear white shorts, should not be so thin than I can tell whether or not you’re wearing underwear?

    May 22, 2013/Reply
  10. PS says:

    I’m 5’10 and the shortest I’ve ever gone is 4 inch shorts, so I definitely agree on the length of a good pair of shorts being relative to one’s height. Good tips in this post!

    May 22, 2013/Reply