Header Logo
Search
Close this search box.

Most Flattering Women’s Shorts

most flattering womens shorts
t-shirt: Madewell, shorts: Madewell, flats: Rothy’s, earrings: Dear Survivor

Women’s shorts can be the bane of existence for some, and a uniform for others. My clients who run really hot can’t get out of them, but most of my clients fear shorts. “No shorts!” a client wrote me in a recent email discussing her summer capsule collection. “I hate my thighs” another client explained to me. “Are shorts too young?” another client asked. Here’s the thing: it’s going to get hot (if it is not already for you) and women’s shorts are an energizing look. So let me put your fears at ease with a delicious selection of totally flattering and absolutely comfortable shorts. My clients are LOVING them!

Most Flattering Women’s Shorts

most flattering womens shorts
Wit & Wisdom $58

An unbelievable amount of women’s shorts have a waistline that adds weight to the stomach. This could be a floppy paperbag waist or a puffy elastic waist. It could also just be that the waistline design hits exactly the wrong spot and ends up emphasizing the widest parts of you.

Then there is the exorbitant amount of women’s shorts that have the worst angle for your legs. I find most women with medium to lean legs tend to wear shorts with leg openings far too wide that make their tummies look bigger. And women with luscious thighs are often cut out of the shorts game due to all the structured, aka non-stretchy, shorts that are too tight on their thighs. In short, here’s what to keep in mind when looking for the most slimming shorts:

  1. Minimal fabric at the waist
  2. The placement of the waistline
  3. The size of the leg opening
  4. Pocket placement (Low back pockets make a butt look saggy, and poorly placed slanted pockets can flare out on hippy ladies.)

Pictured above is one of the most flattering women’s shorts. I have put this on numerous clients who have been hesitant to wear shorts in the past or who just need a basic short to get them through the summer. The leg openings are stretchy and cut to slim. The waistline is intentionally flat. The inside has a black band that holds you in and rests right where you need your belly tucked in a bit. Also, notice the pockets. The curved pocket ensures no “elephant ear” flare at the hips if you are curvy.

My Favorite Flattering Women’s Shorts

We update our post on flattering women’s shorts every summer and continue to add new shorts regularly as I come across them for my clients. I drop all new additions below for your browsing pleasure, and I’ve highlighted flattering options for different body types too. Feel free to mention in the comments if you have tried any of my recommendations and what body type you have. Our community of readers would love to know how it worked for your specific body shape, height, and needs.

And for tips on what to wear with your shorts, check out my post on How To Style Shorts.

Paige Brooklyn Cuffed Shorts

most flattering shorts
Paige $189

These Paige shorts are stretchy and sit high at the waist, making them super comfortable and flattering. They work great for both lean legs as well as fuller hips and thighs. They’re an off-white color and unlike some white shorts, they’re not see-through at all.

Available at Nordstrom, Amazon, Paige, and Shopbop.

Sizing: 23-34

Material: 57% cotton, 34% rayon, 6% Lycra® elasterell-p, 3% Lycra® spandex

Flattering Shorts for Big Thighs: Athleta Trekkie North Short

most flattering womens shorts
Athleta $59

The Athleta Trekkie North Short is very flattering for “big thighs.” I don’t care for the term “big thighs,” but in our research, we found this is the top term women with luscious thighs are using to search for shorts. In order for us to show up in a Google search for them, we have to use the actual term women are typing into the search bar. Anyhoo, this short is not only cut for wider hips and thighs, but it also stretches if you need more width. And don’t get me started on that stunning waistband. That flat high-waisted band flattens the stomach and creates zero muffin top.

Available at Athleta.

Sizing: 0-26. These run large, so order a size down for a true to size fit.

Material: 69% recycled nylon, 26% nylon, 5% spandex

Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts

best shorts for women
Madewell $75

Madewell is one of my go-to brands for flattering denim shorts, as you may have noticed in the photo at the top of this post. Every year they come out with fresh washes in their high-rise style, which is fantastically flattering and comfortable. I’ve been wearing them in various washes and colors for four years now. They have the perfect balance between stretchy and structured. Although I am lean, I have an apple body which means I carry my weight in my waist. These shorts flatten my belly, hold me in, and make my waist look tiny when paired with a bodysuit or tucked-in tee. The cut is absolute perfection!

Available at Madewell and Poshmark.

Sizing: 23-inch to 33-inch waist. Basically runs true to size, but I recommend ordering your true size as well as a size down to compare.

Material: 85% cotton, 14% recycled polyester, 1% elastane

Paige Crush Shorts in Vintage Ivy Green

best womens shorts
Paige $179 $109.13

Available at Amazon.

Sizing: 23-34

Material: 57% cotton , 34% rayon , 6% Lycra® elasterell-p, 3% lycra spandex

Kut From The Kloth Gidget Denim Shorts (In Stimulating)

women's shorts
Kut from the Kloth $69 $50.50

These Kut From The Kloth Gidget Denim Shorts in Stimulating are a great way to do a shorter short with a frayed hem that still looks put together and “clean.” A client of mine who absolutely abhors shorts, loves these shorts. She was shocked by how flattering and comfortable these denim shorts are.

Available at Amazon and Zappos.

Sizing: 00-18

Material: 99% cotton, 1% spandex

Baleaf Women’s 8″ High Waist Workout Exercise Shorts

womens shorts
Baleaf $19.99 $29.99

I have interviewed many biker shorts. Many were flattering and others were cut wrong or not stretchy enough, often pinching my thigh fat — absolutely unacceptable! In the end, the Baleaf Women’s 8″ High Waist Workout Exercise Shorts really shines. Here is why these babies made it on the list of flattering women’s shorts…

  1. They have the perfect stretch (so many biker shorts are not that stretchy!).
  2. They have a perfectly flattering pocket placement.
  3. The 8″ inseam gives those with thigh concerns the coverage they desire.
  4. They’re available in so many colors.
  5. They don’t sell out and are available year-round (every time I find a biker short I love, it sells out!).
  6. The price is unbeatable.

Keep in mind, as I mentioned above, all body types can wear biker shorts. The three most popular body types that biker shorts are flattering for are the apple, pear, and upside-down triangle body shapes. The only body type who may want to avoid biker shorts are women with large knees. Otherwise, if you are a woman ready to rock some shorts, these will flatter you. (Check out my full Baleaf review, here.)

Available at Baleaf and Amazon.

Sizing: XS – 3X  and runs true to size.

Material: 87% Polyester, 13% Spandex

Kindred Bravely Maternity/Postpartum Lounge Shorts

womens shorts
Kindred Bravely $36

Available at Nordstrom and Kindred Bravely.

Sizing: XS-1X

Material: 95% viscose from bamboo, 5% spandex

Faherty Surplus Stretch Cotton Shorts

flattering womens shorts
Faherty $128 $49.99

Available at Evereve.

Sizing: 24-32

Material: 98% cotton, 2% elastane weave

Flattering Shorts for Tall Women: Beyond Yoga High Waist Biker Shorts

shorts for women
Beyond Yoga $70

These are one of the best pairs of bike shorts for my taller ladies.

Available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Beyond Yoga.

Sizing: XXS-4X

Material: 87% polyester, 13% spandex

Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts in Lunar Wash: Raw-Hem Edition

womens shorts
Madewell $74.50 $49.99

I adore the rich black color of these Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts in Lunar Wash: Raw-Hem Edition. As usual, they are flattering and comfortable.

Available at Madewell.

Sizing: 23-35. Order your usual size as well as a size up to compare.

Material: 99% cotton, 1% elastane low-stretch denim

Liverpool Los Angeles Utility Short

most flattering shorts
Liverpool Los Angeles $89

Available at Nordstrom and Liverpool Los Angeles.

Sizing: 0-16

Material: 55% cotton, 42% rayon, 3% spandex

J.Crew 7” Stretch Women’s Short

women's shorts
J.Crew $59.50

The J.Crew 7” Stretch Chino Short is fantastically comfortable and offered in a variety of colors.

Available at J. Crew.

Sizing: 00-24. Order two sizes on this one: your usual size and a size down. This short traditionally runs bigger, but J.Crew has been messing with its sizing lately.

Material: 97% cotton, 3% elastane

Madewell The Perfect Vintage Fatigue Short

best womens shorts for summer
Madewell $65

Available at Madewell and Nordstrom.

Sizing: 23-35

Material: 98% BCI cotton, 2% elastane

Madewell Patch-Pocket Denim Shorts in Tile White

most flattering womens shorts
Madewell $78

Available at Madewell, Zappos, Shopbop and Nordstrom.

Sizing: 23-33

Material: 98% cotton, 2% elastane

Paige Mayslie Utility Shorts

women's shorts
Paige $169 $47.83

Utility shorts can sometimes be unflattering, but Paige has pulled it off.

Available at Amazon.

Sizing: 23-32

Material: 60% cotton, 40% lyocell

Agolde Parker Vintage Cut Off Short

womens shorts
Free People $158

These fabulous Agolde Parker Vintage Cut Off Shorts are extremely soft and comfortable.

Available at Free People, Nordstrom, and Agolde.

Sizing: 24-34. Order a size down.

Material: 100% organic cotton

Wit & Wisdom Ab-Solution Stretch Twill Shorts

most flattering womens shorts
Wit & Wisdom $58

Wit & Wisdom’s shorts are very kind to the stomach and thighs. These Wit & Wisdom Ab-Solution Stretch Twill Shorts come in several yummy colors including blue and an olive green, which I featured at the top of this post.

Available at Nordstrom.

Sizing: 00-18

Material: 52% cotton, 32% rayon, 14% polyester, 2% spandex

Kut from the Kloth Gidget Denim Shorts (In Consolidated)

women's shorts
Kut from the Kloth $69

I know I’ve already shown you numerous pairs of flattering women’s shorts, but I just have to show you this pair too. These Kut from the Kloth Gidget Denim Shorts In Consolidated are a great medium blue option in a more casual look.

Available at Zappos and Amazon.

Sizing: 8, 14, 16. Order your usual size as well as a size up to compare.

Material: 100% Cotton

Kut From The Kloth Catherine Mid Rise Boyfriend Shorts

womens shorts
Kut From The Kloth $84

These rugged Kut From The Kloth Catherine Mid Rise Boyfriend Shorts are flattering and provide stretchy comfort.

Available at Kut From The Kloth.

Sizing: 00-18. Runs true to size, but also try on a size up. Unlike most boyfriend looks, this one seems to run a bit small.

Material: 94% cotton, 5% polyester, 1% spandex

Alice + Olivia Donald High Waist Shorts

flattering womens shorts
Alice + Olivia $265

These Alice + Olivia Donald High Waist Shorts are flattering for those with wider or athletic thighs. But don’t forget, your tailor can also take them in for a slimmer fit like I had done. I will say though, if you have wider hips or a bigger bum, these shorts will not work for you — the pockets start to pull, unfortunately.

Available at Saks 5th Avenue, Alice + Olivia, Bloomingdale’s, and Shopbop.

Sizing: 00-14

Material: 64% polyester, 33% viscose, 3% elastane; lining: 100% cupro

Flattering Women’s Shorts From Years Past

I originally wrote this post on the best women’s shorts years ago and update it regularly due to its popularity. I’ve left these photos below for nostalgic purposes. Whenever I update older posts, I love to hold on to a collection of images as a bit of a time capsule so we can watch how our style evolves.

Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts (Onaway Wash)

flattering denim shorts
Madewell $74.50

NYDJ Briella Rolled Denim Bermuda Shorts (In Rhodes)

women's shorts
NYDJ $69

Here are the NYDJ Briella Rolled Denim Bermuda Shorts in a lighter shade of denim. I am loving lighter denim since it pairs so well with navy and feels really fresh when paired with lighter colors. These shorts are available at NordstromNYDJAmazon, and Zappos.

Sizing Tip: NYDJ used to run large, but they are fitting more true to size these days.

Alice + Olivia Dylan High Waist Pintuck Shorts

best women's shorts
Alice + Olivia $195

These Alice + Olivia Dylan High Waist Pintuck Shorts are super flattering for those with wider or athletic thighs. I had my tailor take the shorts in for myself to accommodate my thinner thighs. I will say though, if you have wider hips or a bigger bum, these shorts will not work for you — the pockets start to pull, unfortunately. These shorts are available at Saks 5th Avenue and Shopbop.

Loft Riviera Shorts With 4 Inch Inseam

women's shorts
Loft $54.50

The Loft Riviera Shorts With a 4-Inch Inseam have been on my list of go-to women’s shorts for years. They fit athletic thighs nicely.

Sizing Tip: Runs big, but is not reliable. Even a change in color will alter a fit. I always say order two sizes from Loft: your usual size and a size down to compare.

Levi’s Ribcage Short

womens shorts
Levi’s $80

The Levi’s Ribcage Shorts are a little stiff, but still comfortable. These are for my clients who like structure in their denim. These shorts are available at Free People, Levi’s, Revolve, and Zappos.

NYDJ Briella Rolled Denim Bermuda Shorts (In Cooper)

women's shorts
NYDJ $69

The NYDJ Briella Rolled Denim Bermuda Shorts in Cooper are one of the most flattering shorts out there. I love the way they provide coverage, but also have a fitted leg. I also love that they rise high enough to hold in any tummy. Plus, you will love the comfort. These shorts are available at Amazon, Nordstrom, and NYDJ.

Sizing Tip: NYDJ used to run large, but they are fitting more true to size these days.

Caslon Linen Shorts

best women's shorts
Caslon $49

These Caslon Linen Shorts are an absolute favorite of my clients. They are comfortable, flattering, and a little sexy. These shorts come in several gorgeous colors besides the olive green. Just keep in mind, true to linen form, they wrinkle a lot.

Wit & Wisdom Ab-solution Denim Shorts

women's shorts
Wit & Wisdom $58

Wit & Wisdom is very kind to the stomach and thighs. They have a whole series of shorts with a flattering fit, like these Wit & Wisdom Ab-solution Denim Shorts.

Sizing Tip: Wit & Wisdom runs a touch big. I recommend ordering your usual size, and a size down.

Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts in Tile White

best womens shorts
Madewell $69.50 $39.99

As you can tell, Madewell is my go-to source for flattering and comfortable women’s shorts. They just know what they’re doing. These Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts in Tile White are available at Madewell and Zappos.

Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts in Malden Wash

women's shorts
Madewell $69.50 $39.99

The Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts in Malden Wash are the shorts I cannot stop wearing. I’ve been wearing them four years now. I adore the light wash, the flattering fit, and the comfortable stretch. You can see them on me in the post, Can I Wear Yellow? They’re also available in a slightly different wash, here.

Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts in Danny Wash

flattering women's shorts
Madewell $74.50

The Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts in Danny Wash are a great darker wash option of the shorts I am pictured wearing above. That high-waist is fantastically flattering and the comfort is amazing – of course. You know I am not recommending anything uncomfortable, but it bears repeating.

Leave a note for Vanessa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newsletter

wardrobe stylist

Items selling out are my reader's biggest complaint. Sign up for my weekly updates so you get first dibs.

Are weekly emails too much? Sign up for the monthly round up and receive my personal five favorite recent purchases. In my professional opinion, you should sign up for both!

* indicates required
Please enter your e-mail address.
What updates do you want from me?

Sign up for my newsletter

* indicates required
Please enter your e-mail address.
What updates do you want from me?