It's those hot and hazy days of summer, and those alone, that force me to pick up a pair of shorts and style them. I don't know many people over the age of 25 who absolutely love to put on shorts outside of a workout.

But the months of June, July and August are best enjoyed with bare legs and lots of bug repellent. And that's what prompted this post. At the beginning of the season, I realized I didn't have many acceptable "in public shorts" and I didn't want to spend a fortune updating my wardrobe with items I wear so few times.

But, I think I've found the trifecta. Three (truly four) lovely pairs of inexpensive shorts that someone in her upper 20s would be comfortable wearing out and about in the heat of the summer.

This is how I'm wearing them and styling them for summer 2021 and beyond.

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Highlighting the Four Pairs of Shorts in My Wardrobe

  • Madewell Black Denim High Rise Shorts
    • Fit: True to Size
    • Rise: High Waisted (10 3/4 rise)
    • Color: Lunar Wash (Black, but like a washed black)
    • Price: $69.50
  • Aerie Daydreamer Denim Shorts
    • Fit: True to Size – Slightly large
    • Rise: Mid Rise
    • Color: Light Wash ( but comes in 7 colors)
    • Price: on sale $29
  • H&M White Paperbag Waist Shorts
    • Fit – slightly large
    • Rise: High Rise / long length
    • Color: White
    • Price: $12
  • Nike Dri-Fit Tempo Running Shorts
    • Fit: TTS
    • Rise: Mid Rise
    • Color: so many color ways
    • Price: $30-$35

Why These Colors & Styles ?

It's important for me, when looking at a section of my wardrobe I only wear for a very limited amount of time, that I consider the scenarios where I would realistically wear the item(s) and also take stock of what I already own.

I already owned my Madewell shorts (and have for 2 years now) but always found myself wishing for a pair of denim shorts that were comfy and easy to throw on.

Similarly I found myself wanting a pair of light shorts - white or tan - that were looser and longer in length to really embrace that academia look through the summer months.

So instead of looking for multiple pairs of good denim or white or tan, I decided to take a minimal approach and purchase three pairs of shorts I knew would last a few years and fill the holes in my wardrobe.

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How to Style Jean Shorts

A staple of a capsule summer wardrobe, the jean or denim shorts is, in my opinion, best paired with a classic white tee and sandals you don't mind adventuring in. I've tried my fair share of denim shorts over the years, never any of the designer brands, but pairs from Madewell, Abercrombie, H&M, Old Navy, Gap and the list goes on. But These Aerie shorts are a clear winner in my book because of their comfort and stretch. They're not for dressing up but are perfect for hot summer days, thrown over a swimming suit, rolled in a backpack, or with a tank and bucket hat to top it all off.

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How to Style Black Shorts

As classic as a pair of denim shorts and just as versatile, black shorts, no matter the material, are an excellent closet investment. They can be worn with white, black, blue, pink, green, and every other color under the sun.

One of my favorite ways to style my black denim shorts is casually with a white tank, unbuttoned shirt, and loafers or mules. It's an easy outfit that'll work in lots of scenarios like working in your home office, coffee shop runs, errand day or brunch with friends.

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How to Style White Shorts

White shorts fit strictly in the romantic, femme category. If you're inspired by academia, vintage, or cottage core aesthetics – or just simply like to have some classic varieties in your wardrobe – white, 90s inspired cotton shorts are a must.

I went ultra feminine with my pairing of them and added a romantic billowing sleeve floral blouse from Breath of Youth, a structured hat, and my trusty cut out flats. It's both structured and feminine and the long style of the shorts are perfect for days you might want to stay cool and a bit more conservative.

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How to Style Athletic Shorts

The easiest shorts in my rotation are my Nike Tempo shorts. I love the longer length but dolphin hemline and have them in black and navy at the moment.

Pair them with this Aerie sweatshirt (it's ultra oversized so size down) and tennis shoes for an easy desk to workout kind of day.

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