Casual Alternatives to Shorts

Casual Alternatives to Shorts

I enjoy wearing shorts in the summer months, but they aren’t appropriate for every occasion, and I totally understand that not every woman feels comfortable baring her legs. Fortunately, there are lots of great casual alternatives to shorts!


t-shirt dress (M) // Birks (39)

This post is for any woman looking to change up her shorts and t-shirt uniform, as well as those who prefer not to wear shorts and want other options that are cool and comfortable when it’s hot outside.

What To Wear Instead of Shorts

#1. Dresses

Dresses are the easiest option because they’re one and done, and right now all lengths are trending. Maxi dresses are supposedly making a comeback, but I still see a lot of midi lengths out there. Shorter lengths are trending again, and knee-length dresses are a classic look that don’t really go out of style.


dress (M) // sneakers (39)

Lighter fabrics and flowy styles may be cooler, but I tend to gravitate to t-shirt dresses and more fitted styles because they’re more flattering on me. I always like these t-shirt dresses from Gap Factory, and I’m glad to see they brought them back this year.

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solid t-shirt dress (M) // denim jacket (S) // sandals in makeup (8) // stripe t-shirt dress (S) // VEJA Esplar (39)

#2. Crop Jeans or Pants

Crop jeans and pants are a great solution for ladies who want more leg coverage. They may not always be your first choice if you live in a warmer climate, but light-weight fabrics can be practical for summertime on mild days and cool evenings.

These white crop bootcut jeans are my go-to for summer when I don’t want to wear shorts; they look crisp and clean paired with bright colors, pastels, or neutrals.


MOTHER Insider (also at Saks) (29) // Sundry tee (1) // sneakers (39)

Wide-leg crop pants and jeans are very much on trend right now, and the looser style can feel more cool and comfortable than the bootcut and straight crop jeans. The PAIGE Anessa has a nice beachy-chic vibe, and they come in some colors too. I also really like this wide cuff pair. The denim is lightweight and very soft.

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PAIGE Anessa (29) // Sanctuary tank (M) // sandals (8) // KUT from the Kloth Meg // Frame tee // sandals (8)

#3. Linen & Palazzo Pants

Wide-leg pants are coming in strong this spring, and they’re usually made of a thinner fabrics that are cooler than jeans and chinos. Linen or a lightweight cotton fabrics can be quite cool and comfortable. I recently found this pair with a more structured waistband, which I prefer, but there are lots of options with elasticized waists and pull-on styles.


KUT from the Kloth Meg Linen Blend Pants (6) // white tee (M) // sandals (8)

#4. Skirts & Skorts

Skirts are a great option for women looking for casual alternatives to shorts in warm weather because they’re just as cool as shorts. Denim skirts are trending big time this spring, and cargo details are huge right now.

As far as length goes, it’s either short or long right now. Mini skirts are back, and bias cut midi skirts are everywhere, as are the long denim skirts. The just-above-the-knee-length is looking a bit tired to me, but it can work if the skirt has modern details, like this raw hem denim skirt with utility pockets. And I like the just-below-the-knee length, like the denim skirt I’m wearing below.

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Athleta Soho Skort // old Madewell tank // sandals (8) // denim skirt (29) // ribbed tee (M) // sandals (8) // belt (M) // woven tote (option)

If you have issues with chafing, these Thigh Society Cooling Shorts are awesome. And skorts are another good shorts alternative that provides a little more coverage to allow for ease of movement. Athleta makes a lot of nice options.

#5. Jumpsuits & Rompers

Jumpsuits and rompers are fun for a one and done look, if you can get past the bathroom situation. Some slide on and off very easily, so it’s always worth a try.

This Vuori jumpsuit is buttery soft and great for lounging, or throwing on after a long day at the beach, and this sporty Zella jumpsuit is still available in a few sizes.

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Vuori Falls Jumpsuit c/o (M) // sandals (8) // Zella jumpsuit (S) // similar Sam Edelman sandals // straw totes

A linen fabric can be nice and cool, and LOFT has this comfortable jersey knit tie waist jumpsuit. I wore it with heels, but it can also be dressed down with flat sandals or sneakers.


LOFT Tie Waist Jumpsuit (S)

I hope this post is helpful! What are your favorite alternatives to shorts?

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