The Sophisticated Shorts to Elevate Your Summer Wardrobe

These polished and elegant styles will sway even the biggest shorts skeptics.

The Sophisticated Shorts to Elevate Your Summer Wardrobe
Not sure how to approach shorts this year? We’ve got you covered. Grace Kamin for Observer

Shorts are quite possibly one of the most difficult items for women to shop for, but they’re also a very convenient summertime wardrobe staple. You can’t go wrong with a classic pair of jean shorts or a comfy and convenient pair of bike shorts, but there are times when a dressier, more elegant and elevated silhouette is necessary.

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While there’s long been a rather animated debate over the appropriateness of shorts (and whether it’s ever okay to wear shorts to, say, an office setting), it’s safe to say that certain fashion rules are meant to be broken. Just look at the royally-approved shorts ensembles sported by Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle this summer; it all comes down to the tailoring, length, fit and, of course, accessories.

Shorts are now acceptable in many a warm weather situation, and while some prefer to avoid the look no matter the time of year or temperature, we’re here to tell you that there are plenty of chic shorts that are polished, elegant and won’t leave you resembling Daisy Duke. This summer heat is no joke, and a breezy yet tasteful pair of shorts are essential to your warm weather closet. Whether you’re looking for a tailored suit-inspired silhouette, loose linen look or feminine floral aesthetic, these are the sophisticated and stylish shorts to complete your capsule wardrobe.

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  • Purdey.

    Purdey Belted Linen Shorts

    These loose-fitting yet still tailored army green shorts hit at an entirely work-appropriate length just above the knee, with a slightly flared hem.

    $190, Shop Now
  • Veronica Beard.

    Veronica Beard Ashford Linen Short

    Add a creamsicle touch to your summer wardrobe in these polished belted shorts.

    $244, Shop Now
  • Mirth.

    Mirth Track Shorts in Sandy Field Flower

    You can dress these floral cotton shorts up or down; pair them with a crisp white button down for a professional event, or wear them with a tank and gold sandals for a day strolling around.

    $168, Shop Now
  • Patou.

    Patou Black Iconic Shorts

    These crisp, high-waisted shorts have a much looser, boxier fit than you might expect, with shiny gold nautical-inspired button details.

    $645, Shop Now
  • Dal.

    Dal Linen Wide Suit Shorts

    You can’t go wrong with a classic loose linen cut; these suit-inspired shorts have a pleated front and oversized leg, and hit just above the knee.

    $495, Shop Now
  • J. Jill.

    J. Jill Pure Jill Linen Soft Shorts

    Linen shorts are a summer staple, and this white pair is sure to be a go-to in your closet rotation.

    $39.99, Shop Now
  • Rag and Bone.

    Rag and Bone Callie Leather Shorts

    For an edgier short that easily transitions into fall, try this leather version from Rag & Bone. The relaxed leg keeps them on on the safer side of work-appropriate, and the ruched waist gives them a softer look.

    $595, Shop Now
  • Favorite Daughter.

    Favorite Daughter The Favorite Short

    If there were a shorts version of an LBD, they would look like these perfectly tailored yet still effortless black shorts from Favorite Daughter.

    $148, Shop Now
  • Hannah Artwear.

    Hannah Artwear Lucia Belted Floral-Print Linen Shorts

    These lovely linen shorts have a paperbag waist and whimsical floral pattern; throw them on with a white tee for a casual summertime vibe, or add the matching blazer for a cool girl workplace look.

    $265, Shop Now
  • Karen Millen.

    Karen Millen Soft Twill Tailored Short

    These tailored shorts are another great option for the summer version of work trousers, and we love that they easily transition into cooler weather.

    $90, Shop Now
  • Rime Arodaky.

    Rime Arodaky Dua Scalloped Broderie Anglaise-Trimmed Grain De Poudre Shorts

    A feminine white short is so perfect for summer, especially when there’s delicate scallop detailing involved.

    $690, Shop Now
  • Quince.

    Quince 100% European Linen Shorts

    These tan linen shorts are definitely on the more casual side, but you can always dress them up with with a silky shirt or a lightweight jacket.

    $29.90, Shop Now
  • Marni.

    Marni Pleated Gingham Wool-Blend Shorts

    If you’re somehow already looking towards the next season, you must look at these wool-blend checked shorts from Marni. The menswear-inspired silhouette is super oversized, with a flared leg that falls right above the knee.

    $980, Shop Now
  • Reformation.

    Reformation Beaux Linen Short

    These linen shorts are relaxed but still fitted, with a buttoned waist and pleats.

    $128, Shop Now
  • Ulla Johnson.

    Ulla Johnson Marleigh Layered Washed Poplin Shorts

    The ruffled wide pleated legs give these burnt orange poplin shorts a sweet and unique silhouette.

    $245, Shop Now
  • Zimmermann.

    Zimmermann Anneke Belted Linen Shorts

    These preppy white linen shorts have a rolled cuff and a colorful belt.

    $425, Shop Now
  • Matthew Bruch.

    Matthew Bruch Bounded Pleated Linen Shorts

    These pale, mint green linen shorts are on the shorter side, but still ultra sophisticated and elegant, thanks to the flawless lines and neatly pressed pleats.

    $395, Shop Now
  • Khaite.

    Khaite Rory Ruffled Silk-Cady Shorts

    Who says shorts can’t be fancy? These sassy black ruffled shorts can be dressed up or down, and you can easily wear them into cooler weather; just add tights or high socks.

    $590, Shop Now
  • Rails.

    Rails Ember Embroidered Cotton Shorts

    A white eyelet short is so quintessentially summer, and a nice respite from all those flowy LWDs you’ve been living in.

    $158, Shop Now
  • Alex Mill.

    Alex Mill Pleated Linen Shorts

    A lightweight beige linen short is so versatile, and these have a super flattering flared wide leg. They’re giving us major coastal grandma vibes.

    $135, Shop Now
  • Cara Cara.

    Cara Cara Whitney Floral Gingham Shorts

    Don’t be afraid of patterns; these floral gingham shorts are so perfectly summer that you’ll turn to them year after year.

    $295, Shop Now
The Sophisticated Shorts to Elevate Your Summer Wardrobe