The Perfect Shorts for Your Shape

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How to Find the Right Shorts For You

Getty Images / Kirstin Sinclair

Shorts are a summer essential, but finding the right pair to flatter your figure and work with your body type isn't always easy. Let's be honest: Sometimes shorts can be the worst.

Don't worry! We're here to help with a quick, down-and-dirty guide to finding the best shorts for your body shape—to hide the parts you want to hide and to show off your best assets. (Hey, some of us really love our knees and calves!)

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Best Shorts For All Body Types: Mid-Length Shorts

Mid-length shorts from Lands' end
Mid-length shorts from Lands' end. Lands' End

Shorts with a mid-length leg, like this pair from Lands' End are universally flattering. They're called different things -- walk shorts, day shorts, golf shorts, classic shorts, etc. -- but are best recognized by an inseam of about 7 or 8 inches.

Why We Love Them

Unlike knee-length shorts that cut your leg in half visually, shorter lengths make your legs look longer, while still covering problem areas like the upper thigh. For the most flattering look, keep fullness under control (slimmer-legged shorts will make your legs look slimmer, too.)

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Best Shorts for Flabby Upper Legs: Knee-Length Shorts

Knee-length shorts
Knee-length shorts. Nordstrom.com

If you are feeling self-conscious about your thighs or even your derriere, a great pair of slimming, leg-lengthening Bermuda shorts are a great option. You can easily cover problem areas (or just create a very polished, professional look) with these from Not Your Daughter's Jeans bermuda shorts that hit at the knee and are slightly high-waisted.

Why We Love Knee-Length Shorts

Although knee-length shorts can make short legs look shorter, it's easy to balance it out with a pair of wedges for extra leg length. Also, look for slim-cut shorts -- these jean-style shorts are perfect -- to give your legs a longer, slimmer look (too-full shorts look more like gauchos at this length and aren't flattering.)

 

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Best Shorts for Short Legs: Shorter Shorts

Theory / Shopbop.com

Want to give your shorter legs a little more length? Try rocking a pair of—you guessed it—shorter shorts. A 5-inch inseam or so is a great place to start,  any shorter than that and you risk showing a little too much (if you ask us). We recommend these sleek cuffed shorts from Theory.

Why We Love Shorter Shorts

Four or 5 inch-inseam shorts are long enough to give some upper-leg coverage, but short enough to lengthen the leg. Avoid cuffs or rolled-up styles because that will just make your legs look shorter.

More ideas for looking taller right this way.

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Best Shorts for Plus Size: Bermuda Shorts

Plus-size bermudas
Plus-size bermudas. Nordstrom.com

If you've got lots of curves, a longer-cut short is the most forgiving, like these denim bermuda shorts from Jessica Simpson in plus sizes.

Why We Love Bermuda Shorts

Curvy gals aren't the only ones who look great in a longer short. These almost knee-length shorts are a dressier look and are perfect for shopping, travel, even career if your workplace allows them. Pop on a pair of wedges for a leg-lengthening look that's really flattering.

Looking for more Bermuda shorts? You're going to want to click here.

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Best Shorts for the Tall and Thin: Roll-Up Shorts

James Jeans / Shopbop.com

Lucky, lucky girl! If you're naturally tall and thin but want to break up a long, thin line—go with shorts that have cuffs or a roll-up feature, like these cute, distressed and cuffed denim shorts from James Jeans. (Bonus: With your naturally thin and long legs, you can rock a shorter inseam without looking too scandalous.)

Why We Love Roll-Up Shorts

You get maximum usage from shorts that have a convertible length, plus they make even stick-thin legs look curvier.