Hello, and welcome to Dressed for My Day, where my goal is to inspire and help women like you and me to dress beautifully and appropriately for our unique days so we can engage graciously with those around us and influence them well. I’m really excited about today’s post because I’ve had so many readers ask for alternatives to shorts for the summer months. So today I have 11 alternatives to wear instead of shorts this summer.
I get it. You still want to look summer fresh, feel cool and be comfortable, but you just don’t want to wear shorts. Or maybe you just don’t want to wear shorts all the time.
Fortunately there are a number of fashionable, comfortable and easy to wear alternatives to shorts. And my list may not be exhaustive, but I think every woman will find at least a few choices that suit.
Before we start, let me explain how I selected these styles. I’m not including things like slacks or dressy dresses. Instead, these options are distinctly casual alternatives. A few of them are more chic than others, but they’re all appropriate for things like going to a church picnic, running errands, rooting on the home team, entertaining in your backyard or playing with the grandkids. These are truly the non-shorts pieces you can wear when others are wearing shorts. Make sense? Good.
Updated Post – 04/04/2022
This is a popular post that I update every year. Several of the photos are from one, two and three years back. Since I haven’t yet worn or modeled all of these options this year, it serves me best to keep using the old photos in some instances. But I’ve updated all of the links and shopping widgets as of the date above.
This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links I potentially earn a commission on your purchases, but at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting my work here by shopping my links.
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Let’s get jeans out of the way. They’re not my favorite choice because they can be hot. But if you are going out on a cool evening you will look summery fresh in white, pastel or cropped jeans.
The jeans and popover shown above are from Talbots several years ago. But I found similar pastel jeans in the prettiest colors of spring 2022 and a lovely short sleeved embroidered linen popover for this season.
Of course, I’m a big fan of white jeans in the spring and summer. You can dress these up or down.
This year looser fit jeans are trending and these can be quite comfortable for the warm days since they don’t cling to you like skinny jeans. Some brands have even begun producing summer weight jeans from a softer, lightweight denim. In the photo below from last spring, I’m wearing the Madewell Perfect Vintage jeans, and I’ll be wearing them again this summer. These are great jeans!
I really enjoy these straight leg ankle jeans for a spring and summer option. The released hem is a nice modern touch. They fit true to size.
I’ve gathered a few of my favorite summer jeans in the shopping widget below.
Joggers are one of those fashion choices that resulted from the pandemic we’ve experienced this past year. While these relaxed fit pants were already on the rise, they really took off this year during the stay-at-home orders. Brands pivoted from more traditional workwear to pitching elevated joggers and pretty tops for Zoom meetings.
Unfortunately another result of the pandemic was that I gained a little weight in my legs. Ha! So I haven’t yet found the perfect pair of cotton or linen joggers that work for me. But especially if you have thinner legs, joggers are a great option. Not only are they stylish, but they will balance your proportions, adding a little fullness to your lower body.
Wondering what shoes to wear with your joggers? Really, the sky’s the limit. You can wear feminine sandals or more sporty sandals, such as these Tevas or these Birkenstocks (similar for less). But you can of course wear sneakers or flip flops, too. Here are some similar pants to consider.
If you’re wanting more coverage of your legs but still want to keep cool, a midi skirt is a pretty choice. But if you’re just wanting to wear something besides shorts and don’t mind baring your legs, a shorter skirt will be cool and fun. Just add a simple tee and sweet sandals or even sneakers for a casual vibe.
My midi length skirt below is from a few years ago and no longer available. But this gauze midi skirt is lovely.
This year I purchased this fun patchwork cotton canvas A-line skirt this year. I styled it three ways in this post. It’s about sold out in misses sizes, but still pretty well stocked in petite options.
If you want even more coverage of your legs, but still want the feminine appeal of a skirt, choose a maxi length skirt or dress. You’ll be cool and stylish. Add sandals or sneakers, depending on the occasion.
But if you just want an option other than shorts, but don’t mind baring your legs, choose a shorter dress for comfort and style.
I’ve gathered a number of dresses in a variety of styles in the shopping widget below. Wear them with sandals, flats or sneakers.
Barrel or Lantern Pants
Personally, I’m loving the new fuller leg silhouettes that are definitely trending right now. And I do believe that every woman can weal a fuller leg pant of some sort. The barrel or lantern silhouette may just be the most friendly option because the tapered calf to ankle is quite flattering.
My fatigue barrel pants from Everlane are about sold out in the black, but they give you a good idea of how this silhouette works. These slightly cropped pants are very cool and lightweight, so they’re a great options for summer. I’m finding many other similar pants for you to check out.
I also have these Eileen Fisher cropped lantern pants in black. And I recently ordered these puckered organic linen lantern pants, too. While I plan on wearing these pants for several years (and on constant repeat this summer!) both of those options are a little pricey. But check out these High Rise Barrel Khaki Pants from Gap. These are great!!! If you’re game for giving this silhouette a try, I think I’d start with those.
I’ve filled a shopping widget with these and other options. I’d look for lantern or barrel (or cigar or balloon!) pants in lightweight fabrics that will have a nice, casual drape for the summer.
They’re back! Well, I wouldn’t say pedal pushers are trending. But they are available. These may not be your most flattering choice, especially if the end of the pant hits at the widest part of your calf. But the fashion police are not going to give you a ticket for wearing these retro pants if you choose to sport them.
I think the key to wear these shorter cropped pants is to keep all your other style choices more modern. So wear a simple tee or even a graphic t-shirt. Add modern sneakers and some simple jewelry. I found more pedal pushers for you to look at today.
Keeping it light and cool, chinos provide full coverage but won’t get you as hot as jeans. And you can roll them up at the cuff for a fun summery vibe.
And if you’d prefer a more modern version, opt for patch pocket or cargo chinos.
Last summer I fell in love with linen. And I plan to live in my wide assortment of linen pants this summer. That’s one of the nice things about linen – it doesn’t go out of style. Even if you purchase linen pants in some of the newer fuller silhouettes, I expect them to look stylish for years. I think that’s simply because linen is its own breed of clothing. It is quite unique.
The linen pants above are slightly dressier than others that I own simply because they have a button and zip fly. But they still have the wonderful casual vibe of soft, breathable linen. I also recently purchased these Caslon striped linen pants through Trunk Club (but you can get them at Nordstrom) for a more casual feel. They’re a nice linen at a sweet price, and available in several stripe patterns and color combinations. They run a little long, but they’re also available in petite sizes.
You might want to check out my video from last summer, 7 Ways to Style Linen Pants for more outfit inspiration.
What about the wrinkles? Really, you just have to get past that. But I’ve also noticed that linen isn’t wrinkling the way it used to. I think the quality is higher and the technology is better. And many brands produce linen/cotton blends that really hold their shape nicely and don’t even need to be ironed.
Yes, you’ll notice some crossover in the shopping widget below. Linen pants come in all styles, including the barrel or lantern silhouette we’ve already discussed and the joggers. But I felt like linen pants deserved their own category because they are uniquely summer.
You can find linen pants at a variety of price points. But as someone who purchased a lot of it in the last two years I can tell you that there is indeed a difference in quality. So I suggest buying the trendier linen (such as joggers) at the lowest price point you can find and purchasing the more classic silhouettes in the best quality you can afford.
Well we’ve talked silhouettes and fabrics; now let’s talk about a particular length of pant. Well, I guess we did that with the clam diggers or pedal pushers, too. But cropped or ankle length pants are almost universally flattering, very on trend and quite cool for summer. There’s just something about having your ankle exposed that makes you a little cooler. Ha!
Really the sky’s the limit when it comes to cropped length pants. You’ll find them everywhere this summer…and in a variety of fabrics and silhouettes. But I can highly recommend the drawcord waist crop pants above from Kut from the Kloth, shown above. These crop pants fit true to size and come in five colors. They’re a linen, rayon and spandex blend so they give you the coolness of linen, plus some stretch.
The cargo style cropped chinos above are another nice option for everyday pants in several versatile colors. These, too, fit true to size. Yes, they have one cargo pocket on the side, but I don’t think it sticks out enough to add visual weight. But it does add interest and make the pants look more modern and youthful.
Of course, you can find colorful and print cropped pants, too. For more insight into how to wear colorful or print crops, check out this previous post. But I have an upcoming video that will cover that, too. So stay tuned.
I suggest looking for crop pants that fit your lifestyle and work with your body shape and proportions. You’ll find them in every silhouette from barrel and lantern to flare to wide leg to slender cut. So you do you! Just make sure these pants don’t end at the widest part of your calf. Ideally they should hit right above the ankle, within an inch of the ankle bone.
Jumpsuit or Romper
I realize some readers can’t imagine wearing jumpsuits because of the bathroom issue. But if you’re reticent to wear shorts and want to mix it up a bit, a jumpsuit could give you some variety. Plus they look oh so summery. Especially short rompers are a cool alternative, but longer jumpsuits can still be a breathable and fun option to wear instead of shorts.
And of course, you can find jumpers and rompers in all styles these days. I recently purchased this Flyweight Jumpsuit with Core Temp Technology from Banana Republic. This particular collection rarely if ever goes on sale. I really debated on this purchase, but the quality and coolness of this fabric just really impressed me. I’m all about staying cool in the summer!
I haven’t worn a lot of jumpsuits or rompers, honestly. But the day I wore this one I really enjoyed it. Readers always ask about the restroom situation. Yes, you do have to slip the whole thing down each time you use the facilities. But hey, I’m only wearing it occasionally, not daily. It really just didn’t bother me. And that included using the facilities once at a public place. Granted, it was Hobby Lobby, which usually has very clean and private restrooms. I’ll admit it felt a little odd, but it was a minute out of my day.
Here’s a shopping widget with lots of modern varieties to choose from if you’re interested in a romper or jumpsuit for the summer. The Outerknown jumpsuits are not included because they’re not part of my affiliate program. So use the links above for those.
I realize that if you don’t want to bare your legs, this isn’t really a viable option. But if you’re just looking for a variety of things to wear instead of shorts, a skort is a fun and sporty alternative. And of course they’re especially appropriate for activities such as golf, tennis or hiking. The photo below is from a couple of years ago, but I’ve found lots of great skort options in the shopping widget below.
Well there you have it! Eleven alternatives to wear instead of shorts this summer. Which do you enjoy wearing already? And which will you consider adding to your summer line-up?
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You might be interested in this video, too. I’ve got lots of ideas – besides shorts! – for looking chic in the heat!
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Blessed for My Day
Today I pray that you, dear reader, would know how much you are loved and accepted by the One who truly matters. The One who gets the final say has already professed His love to you. His love never fails. And it’s deeper, wider and more prevailing than you can ever imagine.
Does that matter to you? It should. The more you experience the fullness of Christ’s love for you, the healthier you will be in mind and heart and soul. When we are filled with the love of God we are then able to love others without strings and without unrealistic expectations. Allow God’s love to fill you today so that you can pour into others’ lives freely.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~ Ephesians 3:17-19