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 warmer 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 – 03/20/2023
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. And the Style Boards are brand new in 2023!
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 colored jeans in the prettiest colors of spring 2023 and a lovely short sleeved similar popover for this season.
This year we’re updating this post with style boards full of inspiration. Hopefully they will help you envision additional outfit ideas for the warm months. You can shop the shorts alternative and the other pieces through the captions under each style board. And as of March 20, 2023, these items were in stock.
Of course, I’m a big fan of white jeans in the spring and summer. You can dress these up or down.
Here’s another idea for wearing white jeans this spring and summer. This is a beautiful tone on tone outfit.
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 I’m wearing Madewell jeans with a graphic tee and linen blazer. That’s one of my favorite style formulas for spring through summer…and really into fall.
Here’s another way to work that personal favorite style formula.
And of course you can also top those summer jeans with a simple tee and cardigan.
I’ve gathered a few of my favorite summer jeans in the shopping widget below.
Joggers are one of those fashion choices that became even more popular during the pandemic. While these relaxed fit pants were already on the rise, they really took off that year during the stay-at-home orders. Brands pivoted from more traditional workwear to pitching elevated joggers and pretty tops for Zoom meetings.
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. Here’s another style board full of inspiration for wearing joggers this spring and summer.
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 I’ve found others for you to consider in the shopping widget below.
And here’s a style board inspired by that same look. Midi and even maxi length skirts are very on trend, so you’ll find plenty to choose from.
A couple of years ago I purchased this fun patchwork cotton canvas A-line skirt. I styled it three ways in this post.
And here’s a style board based on that same outfit formula.
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 from two years above (above) are still available and in several colors. Here’s a style board full of other pieces that are currently available, too.
These slightly cropped pants are very cool and lightweight, so they’re a great option for summer. I’m finding many other similar pants for you to check out. You’ll find some options, like the ones above, that are a little slimmer, and others that are fuller. Select the style that works best for your body type.
Remember, these are all meant to be casual alternatives to shorts, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your outfits. Every outfit doesn’t have to be slimming or elongating or chic. Sometimes you just want to be cool and comfortable and casual.
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.
Here’s a style board with a similar outfit. All of these items are current.
And if you’d prefer a more modern version, opt for wider leg chinos like these….
or these below. Both are from J.Crew and still available. The key to wearing these fuller leg chinos is to wear a closer fitting top. And you may find that it works best for you to tuck or partially tuck your top, too.
Here’s another style board with a modern option.
A couple of summers ago 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. Unfortunately, they are not available. Those pants are from Talbots, and I’m hoping they come out in late April. We’ll see. Meanwhile, I just recently purchased these full length linen trousers and I LOVE them.
Of course I also love my less structured linen pants. And these are perfect for casual wear.
You might want to check out my video from two summers ago, 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. And the more you wear your linen pieces, they soften and wrinkle even less.
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, unlike the pedal pushers or capris, 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 Bristol pants above. They’re currently available in white, black and olive green. I’d say they read like a slightly elevated chino, but still quite casual and comfortable.
I noticed that Talbots brought back their stovepipe pants this year. I had the navy stovepipe pants last year, but this year they feature a similar silhouette but a trending button fly. I’m definitely ordering these in summer stripe – so cool!
Here are a couple of fun inspiration style boards with cropped length pants.
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. Or you could check out the video below, too.
Here’s another style board for cropped length pants.
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 striped Pistola jumpsuit. I have high hopes for it!
For the past two summers I wore this new Outerknown S.E.A. Jumpsuit and I will wear it again this summer.
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.
Here’s a style board for a little inspiration with up-to-date pieces. And by the way, while you’ll find lots of skorts that are perfect for golf, tennis or hiking, these days we’re seeing dressier skorts, too. Check out this polished skort that comes in black or white.
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
44 thoughts on “Instead of Shorts? Wear These 11 Alternatives”
Thank you for all you do especially your daily devotional! You have beautiful style and the love of Jesus radiates through your smile! Praying you get to feeling better today.
Ahh, thanks so much Tanya. That means a lot to me. I’m doing much better already. Thank you.
Kay, I am so sorry that you are not feeling good today. I pray that you will feel much better tomorrow. You shared some great options for us today. Fabulous DFMD!
Thanks Ginger. I’m already feeling much better. Not 100% yet, but getting there! blessings to you!
So sorry you’re not feeling well today Kay. Praying you bounce back quickly. I love wearing skorts more than shorts. They can be dressed down or elevated depending on the top and shoes you wear with them. Plus they’re cool, comfortable and modest. I used to buy cheap reading glasses and sunglasses many years ago until I decided quality was essential to take good care of my eyesight. I have 3 pair of reading glasses I enjoy changing out with whatever outfit I’m wearing for the day. And in sunglasses I have 2 pair of Maui Jim’s that I love. Once you buy quality eyewear, you’ll never go back to budget choices again, plus they hold up for years, so in the long run, you actually get much better value cost per wear.
I’m with you on the reading and sunglasses. Especially the reading glasses, since I have them on so often…including when I’m standing in front of a group of people speaking. That’s when I realized how important it was to not slap on some ugly reading glasses! Thanks for sharing!!
Hope you’re feeling better soon! Great post, thank you!
Thank you so much. Once I got going this morning I began to feel much better. Blessings!
I am on my way to the Loft to pick up the blue flower print shift dress! I have been obsessing over it since you first wore it. When you featured it again today I clicked under your picture and found it on sale with another 40% off and bought it.
I hope it fits I am getting a regular XS. My closet is overflowing with new things from The Loft.
Hahaha! Great! I hope you like it. I think it’s pretty sweet. ?
I like the dress! And I just clicked on your original Post for that dress. In the shopping widget you have a pair of Treasure & Bond Sannibel Leopard Sandals. So I just bought those at Nordstrom through your widget. Now I really must start saving HaHaHa!
Lol! Well I’m glad you have enjoyed shopping the blog today. Thanks so much! ?
I appreciate this post as I no longer wear shorts. This gives me options that accommodate my age and pear-shaped body. I personally enjoy wearing cute cotton skirts with tees or tank tops during the hot summer days…so much cooler than capris. Thank you for your positive posts and Scriptural truths!
Great. I’m glad to hear this post met a need, Anita. Thanks so much for sharing. ?
You inspire me. I have wanted to update my wardrobe for awhile now. It is hard to know what to buy because of what is out there that is not really age appropriate. Thank you for your style and grace.
I would like a post on what to wear when you can’t wear pants. At all. Ever. I’d rather not say why but it’s a medical problem. Thanks.
Hmm. I’ll see what I can do, Elizabeth. Thanks for sharing. And thanks so much for reading Dressed for My Day.
During the hot humid deep south summer, I wear shorts all the time at home and (depending on the length…) will wear them on a grocery run, but I love skorts! Wearing a skort makes me feel a bit more covered up than a pair of shorts and a tad less casual. I really like cropped pants – yes, just showing that tiny bit of ankle does make me feel cooler! Planning to buy linen crops this summer and would loooove some “long enough” linen shorts. Thanks for keeping us current!!
Fun! I like my skorts too. Thanks so much for sharing Melanie. ?
Hi Kay! I’ve recently started subscribing to your emails and your channel. I get so much inspiration from your insight and photos of your lovely outfits. I was happy to see the lantern pants. I purchased some recently thinking they were straight leg linen pants and not being allowed to try them on in the store. I was surprised when I got home and tried them on, not knowing what to think of this silhouette. Now that I know they are a “thing,” I think they’re very cute and comfy!☺️ Thank you!
Hi Anne. Welcome to Dressed for My Day and thanks so much for subscribing. Yes! Those lantern pants are just so fun to wear. I wore some yesterday. They feel great and look super “cool” ?and modern. Enjoy!
Kay, I love your posts! I’ve gotten my sister hooked on DFMD.
Hope you are feeling better. I’m sure you are exhausted from moving.
Kay, thank you for publishing this post again with some updated options for us! I actually ordered the Girlfriend Utility Joggers with Washwell from Gap after I saw them in your post. I am going to check out the High Rise Barrel Pants from Gap, since I am interested in trying that style pant in an economical way. While I would like to have one casual maxi dress in my closet, I have not had any luck finding one that I love when I put it on, so I’m just sticking with lightweight pants. For anyone that would like to try an economical pair of linen blend pants, I highly recommend Old Navy. I have a pair in light grey and flax that I am very pleased with. I hope that you’ve had an awesome day!
Excellent suggestions, I buy linen jogger/pants from Old Navy. I’m pretty hard on summer clothes so if these get ruined I don’t feel so bad. On my summer wish list I have a linen wrap skirt from Etsy. It seems this could be dressed up or down and it hits below the knee for more coverage. On a negative note, I’m in camp no pedal pushers pleas.
Kay, I enjoyed reading your suggestions. I am curious where you got the shoes in your first picture. They are a taupe colored sandal. You are wearing them with a pink cardigan and beige linen looking pants. The shoes look very comfortable.
Hi Lori. They are extremely comfortable. https://shopstyle.it/l/bu3yZ only a few sizes left. A couple more sizes here but costs more. https://shopstyle.it/l/bu3AG
I’m wearing the casual knit “t-shirt” dresses, a denim skirt, and a knee-length camo cargo skirt as shorts alternatives. I like poplin cargo capris that are very light and breathable, and have roll tabs or drawstrings at the bottom so the length can be adjusted. They may not be the most fashion-forward item but when it’s over 90 degrees who cares! I also like wide-leg palazzo pants in gauzy cotton or lightweight cotton/modal blend.
A question about your linen pants. Do you wash them or dry clean them? I have one pair that are hand-me-downs but I like them. I dry-cleaned them after I received them, and I have them in the laundry basket right now–and am debating about whether or not to wash them! They are lined. The tag says they can be hand-washed or dry cleaned. Your suggestions?
Hmm. I wash mine so rarely, I can’t remember. Ha! I really follow labels though. So unless it says dry clean only I almost always wash myself. I would definitely use cold water and a gentle cycle. And I’d definitely hang or lay flat to dry.
Thanks, Kay! I like those suggstions. I, too, like to wash when possible instead of dry-clean, and hang to dry. I’d do that! And if I think of it, I’ll let you know how it comes out. 🙂
I love all your ideas on how to look stylish. I love all the scripture. My husband is a pastor also. My issue is I am heavier on my top part. So this is hard to buy button down tops. Any alternatives.
Hi Cathie. Instead of button downs go with tunic tops. Thanks for sharing. It’s so nice to meet you. ?
Just found your website. Love the fact that you are a Christian, me too!!! Like the fact that you are into alternative dressing for older women (or any age for that matter). I don’t wear shorts but like flowing pants and mid-skirts for summer for work.
Wonderful! It’s very nice to meet you Deborah. Welcome to Dressed for My Day. I’m so glad you came my way! ?
Kay-Loved this post on what to wear instead of shorts during the summer. You look wonderful in all your suggestions-you have a great figure and definitely wear just about anything and look good. On
the other hand, I am 74, petite and a little bit overweight. I could get away with most of the fun looks you highlighted, but definitely do not want to wear shorts. I have varicose veins and my legs looK
awful! I am hopeful I would be able to find similar items even tho I could not afford to buy at Talbots. I’m so glad I looked at your post on fresh summer wear items!
Kay, this post made me excited for my summer wardrobe! If only the good vibes would melt some of this stubborn snow. I think it’s so important to revisit what we already have in our closets so when we add new pieces they work with the old. Clearly a lot of thought and effort went in to creating these looks, saving your devoted followers lots of time and money. Blessings to you and your talented team for what you do!
Thanks so much Krys, I’ll definitely pass that on to Holly who created these style boards. She worked hard on them, and I’m so grateful.
I love dresses in the summer, but everything seems to be sleeves. I’m always disappointed by that. I want short sleeves so I can be completely comfortable.
I like to wear dresses, skirts and especially skorts during summer. My thighs aren’t as slim as they used to be (!!!) so I always wear jockey brand boy shorts under a dress or skirt. I especially enjoy skorts – I think they look a bit more polished than shorts on a “mature” woman! Would like to add some linen pants to my summer wardrobe but haven’t had luck finding any that looked quite right in years past. Will try again this year. You always look so cute in your linen pants!
What a great post! I love the style boards. They are an awesome resource and add so much to your suggestions. Thank you! I appreciate your lovely posts and videos for women who want to stay current and stylish as they age.
Where can I buy the light blue and white stripe, waist tie, flowy capris on your post? I love them for summer!
Hmm. I’m not sure which pants you’re referring to? I had some like that on here before, but they’re gone. They were from several years ago. If something is available I always share a link to it.