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.
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