When it comes to fashion, I'm not often intimidated by any particular piece of clothing. I have confidently worn all manner of garments generally considered no-nos for big girls: skinny jeans, rompers, pleated skirts—you name it, I've rocked it. I'm pretty open-minded about everything. Except for shorts. Let's face it: On fuller figures like mine, shorts tend to be unflattering and ill-fitting, riding up and gathering in the worst places (camel toe, anyone?). Is it any wonder that I rarely wear them?
That said, I am nothing if not a slave to fashion, and shorts were all over the spring runways, from J.Crew to Jil Sander. So I've begun to rethink my anti-shorts stance. Thankfully, plus-size designers have finally wised up to the fit needs of curvy girls. I'm seeing more shorts that are longer, roomier, and tailored in sturdier fabrics (the better to withstand the very real and very uncomfortable chub rub).
Some tips to keep in mind while shopping: Be sure to sit in them—nothing is less flattering than a woman tugging at her too-short shorts. Also, the pockets should lie flat. If they pucker, your shorts are probably too small. I've saved you the trouble of combing the racks in search of those elusive shorts that make you feel and look good. When the mercury rises, beat the heat in these foolproof picks!
TOP $110 Carmakoma; carmakoma.com.
Land's End has an impressive line of stylish, high-quality plus-size basics, available up to size 26. One of my faves this season is the stretch chino gingham short, a preppy essential that looks crisp and fresh with a button-down shirt layered under a sweater.
SHORTS $50, Lands' End; landsend.com.
The perfect marriage of shorts and skirt, culottes are surprisingly versatile and big-girl-friendly. The key is to find a style that drapes well, and ASOS does the job with a soft, suede-like short. Achieve an hourglass shape by pairing with a form-fitting V-neck top. Slip on low heels, which always elongate your legs.
SHORTS $72, ASOS; asos.com.
Few plus labels get what modern women want to wear better than the Danish brand Carmakoma. Its black-lace shorts, constructed with a concealed elastic waistband, is a day-into-night piece that's just right for drinks with the girls. Wear them with a fresh white top—how easy is that?
SHORTS $165, Carmakoma; carmakoma.com.
Superchic tweeds from ASOS incorporate subtle hits of bright color, which are also totally of-the-moment. These thigh-skimmers are shorter than my other recommendations, but a cleverly hidden zipper helps eliminate any lumps and bumps. They're whimsical and polished at the same time.
SHORTS $81, ASOS; asos.com.