Spring Fashion 2013

Long time coming: Bermuda shorts go from fogy to fashionable

cbolling@charlotteobserver.comApril 24, 2013 

SHORTS1.FE.042313.JEL

This season's bermuda shorts might be a dream come true for women of a certain age. All items shown courtesy of Kohl's.

JULI LEONARD — jleonard@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

  • These shorts have legs

    Bermuda shorts don’t have to stay on the golf course or boat dock this spring. Here are a few tips for making them part of your everyday wardrobe:

    • Try a slim pair of Bermudas in a strong color and pair them with a flowy top in black or another neutral and a pair of heels for an easy date-night outfit.

    • Designers love pairing Bermudas with gladiator sandals or heels or wedges that strap around the ankle. The look is great for those with long, slender legs. For those with stocky legs, forgo a shoe with an ankle-wrapping strap or go for a flesh-colored shoe to add the illusion of length.

    • Bermudas with cuffed hems can be cute, but if you have thicker thighs be careful that the cuff doesn’t fall at the widest part of the thigh. It will give the illusion of more heft.

    • Don’t be afraid of the “slim” label if your figure is curvy. Slim means the front paneling is flat, which is a flattering look for most people.

Shorter than capris but longer than Daisy Dukes, knee-grazing Bermuda shorts are a dream come true for women who want to let their legs breathe without showing too much skin.

After all, shorts can be one of the hardest wardrobe pieces to pull off.

But this season, designers are taking mercy on our imperfections, rolling out looks in every texture and print imaginable.

“Bermuda shorts are no longer just for middle-aged women on the golf course,” says Sophie Wood of Raleigh, whose work fashion blog WorkChic.com offers women advice on smart dressing for the workplace.

The variety of Bermuda styles this spring means they can play almost any role in your wardrobe, from slouchy boyfriend denim for weekend to tailored, slim Bermudas that, when paired with a smart top and fitted jacket, can mimic the function of a pencil skirt.

There are high-waisted Bermudas, which, cinched at the waist by a belt, downplay curvy hips and play up an attractive waistline. Drapey, flowy shorts add a bit of volume to a boyish figure, Wood says.

She recommends pairing Bermudas with nude heels to lengthen legs.

Roderick Hawthorne, a fashion consultant at Michael Kors who has a personal styling company ( www.hawthornestyling.com), recommends adding a bit of edge to a pair of shorts by pairing them with a tank and leather jacket for evening.

Bermuda shorts were first worn by the British army in tropical and desert climates, and became part of popular fashion after World War II. They dominated runways for spring 2013, with designers including Nicole Miller, Diane Von Furstenberg and Rachel Zoe showing them heavily in their collections.

And what about short suits, which were all over the spring 2013 runways? Can a real woman pull that off in the real world?

“Short suits are a resounding fashion yes, and they are right on trend,” says Wood. “Blazers and matching shorts can easily transition from the ‘office to out’ with a simple switch of accessories,” she says.

But before wearing shorts into the office, go through a mental checklist: Are the shorts well tailored, with strong lines, or are they sloppy? Shorts can be an option in creative workplaces; if you work in a straight-laced corporate environment, it’s probably best to save them for weekends.

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