The Find: The Only Shorts I Wear

May 11, 2021

For years, I have almost exclusively worn dresses in the warm weather months.  But occasionally, I need to wear shorts.  Maybe I’m going hiking.  Maybe I’m going to a barbecue where lawn games will be played.

Here are the two pairs of shorts that I buy and endorse.

These are the North Face Aphrodite shorts.  They come in a 4″ inseam, and a 6″ inseam.  They have a wide elastic waist band that lays flat and pockets.  I own a grey, blue, black, and olive pair.  They’re that good.

They sell out very quickly, so I’ll give you multiple buying options.

These are the very best hiking, biking, gym, and tennis shorts that I have ever owned.  They’re flattering in the 4″ or 6″ length and I don’t feel incredibly self-conscious wearing them.  As a sizing recommendation, they do fit close to the body, so if you are between sizes, go up.

J.Crew Factory’s 5″ Chino Short is the best one I have ever owned.  They’re a great mid-length short for casual wear.  They fit well and are flattering, though I recommend sizing up if you don’t like a tight fit through the upper thigh.

The shorts come in nine colors, from bold neon to basic navy.  They run up to size 16 at Factory; J.Crew has a nearly identical (more expensive) short that runs up size 24, but sells out quickly in the larger sizes.

The shorts are currently on sale for <$30, and are an extra 30% off if you spend $125 or more.

{this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author}

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  1. sara says:

    Thanks for the recommendation! I am going to snag a pair of those North Face ones.
    Last year, I also found that these Zella ‘Getaway’ shorts are flattering – they, too, sell out quickly. https://www.nordstrom.com/s/zella-taylor-getaway-high-waist-recycled-polyester-shorts/5460107

  2. Emmy says:

    Belle,
    With the JCrew shorts, what colors do you recommend owing for casual wear? Neutrals to then pair with colorful tops or is it worth getting one of their brighter colors?

    • Hannah says:

      I love my JCrew chinos! I have a white and dark grey for neutrals, but also love the raspberry, coral, and green shorts I have. Definitely get a variety!

    • Belle says:

      I have a navy and a lavender, and I think I’m going to buy the green and a black. Wear the colors with a striped tee or an eyelet top. Wear the neutrals with anything.

  3. Jenn S. says:

    Can’t get over this timing. Yesterday, it struck me that I wanted to ask a, “WWAD,” question of you.

    My employer’s dress code errs on the casual side of business casual. Denim is permitted on Fridays throughout the year. They have added a line to the policy to permit shorts from May thru September.

    I have deep skepticism about this – would you partake of the policy with an appropriate inseam length (thinking no shorter than 5″, but maybe even 7″)? I’m weighing the pros and cons of ‘participation’ from a culture perspective vs my, “I’d really just rather wear my dresses, thanks,” POV.

    • Kelly says:

      My work dress code is super casual. Hoodies/denim/sneakers all allowed and even encouraged since it’s an apparel company. I’ve only spent one summer in the office (pre-COVID) and saw maybe 2 people wear shorts ever.

    • Belle says:

      I might. I would have to find a way to style the shorts that I still felt was work appropriate.

    • Rebecca says:

      I’m an engineer at a place with a very casual dress code. Even when we were conducting outdoor testing all day in July in Florida, I struggled with the appropriateness of shorts. Ultimately I did, it but felt weird the whole time.

  4. Rachel says:

    My go to shorts are the Prana Elle short. Perfect amount of stretch while maintaining structure. Comes in 3″ and 5″ inseam. I have the “chalkboard” and “champagne” colors in 5″ and will probably buy “basalm” this year.

    https://www.prana.com/p/elle-short/W31209942.html?dwvar_W31209942_color=White&pos=3

  5. B says:

    I’ve been building up my workout wardrobe and haven’t looked into shorts yet. Just purchased the North face pair. Excited to try it out!

  6. Brett says:

    I second the recommendation for the J Crew shorts. I would also recommend these for athletic shorts: CRZ YOGA Women’s Quick-Dry Athletic Sports Running Workout Shorts with Zip Pocket – 4 Inches https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0816KQZL1/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_i_804EA1WFM7WJVTCXXK4Y

    They are comfortable and perhaps the most flattering athletic shorts I have ever owned.

  7. Lisa says:

    I bought the Aphrodite shorts when you recommended them last year and can attest that they are awesome! I actually wore them for a casual engagement photoshoot in Glacier NP. They have true performance characteristics but still look like “normal” shorts and are really comfy to wear all day.

  8. Carmela says:

    I wear Athleta’s skorts almost exclusively in the summer…they’re skirts, with bike shorts attached and really figure flattering for me. I can’t even tell you how many pairs I have1

  9. Meaghan says:

    I will have to try the Aphrodite.

    I highly recommend Athelta’s Trekkie North short – I have in 5 colors. Looks to be a step up from the North Face shorts, but not quite as “dressy” as the chinos. The wide pull-on waistband is fantastic, and they’re long enough without being too long (though in fairness, I’m 5’3 so YMMV). They also have this great pocket in the back waistband that fits an iphone, so it’s perfect for walking.

    https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=530626002&cid=1059479&pcid=1059479&vid=1&nav=meganav%3ABOTTOMS%3ACATEGORIES%3AShorts&cpos=3&cexp=1501&kcid=CategoryIDs%3D1059479&cvar=11274&ctype=Listing&cpid=res21051414606865713655420#pdp-page-content

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