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The Most Flattering Shorts for Women Over 50, Experts Say

Stylists share the best shorts that are both attractive and fashionable.

These days, finding shorts that are longer than a few inches can feel like an impossible task, but if you know what to look for, there are plenty of styles well suited for women of all ages. So swap your long white jeans and old denim capris for a much-cooler (in both senses of the word!) pair of shorts for the summer. To make the search simpler, we spoke to stylists and fashion designers about which types of shorts are most flattering for women over 50. Read on for their tips and style tricks.

READ THIS NEXT: If You're Over 50, This Is the Piece of Clothing You Should Ditch.

Denim Shorts

View of a woman's legs wearing Lee denim shorts.

Just like you have a go-to pair of jeans in the winter, a versatile pair of denim shorts is a must for the summer. "Denim is great for women over 50 as you can find pretty much all of your favorite denim shades and styles in any length," says Alyssa Skidell, founder of clothing brand ALIST. She advises shoppers to pay attention to the fabric, though. "I always go for denim that is high percentage cotton as it is durable, comfortable, and most importantly, it lasts the longest," she adds.

Jeffrey Ampratwum, stylist and instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, notes that a common problem with denim can be the shorts riding up in the crotch area. If you notice this, "go a size up," he recommends. He also suggests staying away from some of the trends geared toward teens, such as "unnecessary tears, hanging threads, or belts."

An incredibly flattering option is Lee's Mid-Rise Relaxed Fit A-Line Short, according to Heather Caldwell, Senior Manager at Lee Marketing. The shorts have a slightly longer seven-inch inseam and come in a light or dark wash. The mid-rise "flatters your curves while the A-line opening offers a relaxed feel and a little more 'give' around the thigh," she explains. Plus, the Ultra Lux fabric is made to move with you and "comes with a patent-pending waistband for all-day support and [a] super soft lining," according to the product description.

The Gap is another go-to when it comes to affordable denim. If you really want to go summery, their five-inch, mid-rise denim shorts come in white. Going this light on the bottom can be tricky, but the casual, low-stretch fit of these is a safe bet. They're also available in petite and tall sizes.

Bermuda Shorts

A woman's legs showing her Bermuda shorts, with the ocean and mountains in the background.
Tashka / iStock

If you're looking for something that covers more of the thigh but isn't a capri, Bermuda shorts (also known as walking shorts) are a top choice since they hit at or just above the knee. "I love a Bermuda when I want to look polished but feel comfy and covered—they go from brunch to beach with the flip of a sandal," says Jaime King, SVP of Trend and Design at clothing retailer Maurices.

Much like the buildings in their namesake country, these shorts will often come in pastels, which is a fun way to add a pop of color that isn't too loud. A good denim pair can definitely become your everyday shorts, too. The Gloria Vanderbilt denim Bermudas available at Kohl's get high ratings for comfort and quality.

In terms of styling Bermuda shorts "for the summer vacation vibe," founder and CEO of bridesmaid brand Cicinia Caitlyn Parish says, "Just pair them with a simple linen tank or cotton tee; add an eye-catching tote." Sounds pretty easy-breezy to us!

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High-Waisted Shorts

View of a woman's legs wearing Lee high-rise chino shorts.

The biggest benefit of high-waisted shorts is their slimming effect. They accentuate your waist, and, in turn, elongate the appearance of your legs, explains Skidell. For women over 50, she says it's best to go with a slightly longer hem "for added comfort and an edge of chicness."

Lee's Legendary High Rise Relaxed Rolled Short has an eight-inch inseam, but you have the option to roll the hem to a six-inch inseam depending on your body shape and comfort level. "The cotton twill fabric is lightweight with some stretch, and has great but subtle utility styling," adds Caldwell.

To further create that hourglass figure, King thinks a style with a tie-waist is great. "I love to pair these with a tucked-in top," she says. Oftentimes the tie belt is removable, so you can choose your level of dressiness and go from day to night.

Tailored Shorts

visoook / iStock

Tailored shorts are a nice way to toe the line between casual and dressy. "You can still pair them with flip-flops and a t-shirt, but it's a better look overall," advises style coach Kim Hancher. In general, she recommends a length of five inches or longer and a loose-fitting leg. "It has a slenderizing effect, doesn't pinch in the wrong places, and is cooler," she adds. For a more polished look, Hancher suggests pairing the shorts with "an oxford, linen shirt, or light sweater."

To further elevate this ensemble, Ampratwum says to pay special attention to the fabric: "The shorts should be that of a matching pantsuit fabric." A good example of this are the Lino Bermuda Shorts at Banana Republic, which Hancher is particularly fond of. Not only do they come in lightweight linen, but they check all the boxes with a high waist, pleated waistband, and matching removable belt.

Dana Schulz
Dana Schulz is the Deputy Lifestyle Editor at Best Life. She was previously the managing editor of 6sqft, where she oversaw all content related to real estate, apartment living, and the best local things to do. Read more
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