How to Wear High-Waisted Shorts This Summer

Woman wearing high-waisted denim shorts
Woman wearing high-waisted denim shorts

Wondering why you’ve got the Three’s Company theme song running through your head? You can blame fashion, and the groovy 1970s vibe that’s happening in your favorite clothing stores. As part of that trend, we’re welcoming the return of high-waisted shorts, jeans and skirts.

These stylish pieces signal a return to a more laid-back time — when crop tops showed a hint of your natural waist instead of your belly button. And since it’s practically summer, the high-waisted trend gives us a fabulous excuse to refresh our shorts collection.

If you’re excited to rock the modern-day version of this old-school style, here’s how to do it right.

High-Waisted Shorts Styling Tips

1. Choose the right “high” for you

Wearing shorts with a high waist doesn’t mean you must feel awkward or uncomfortable. Don’t bother with mimicking a look you saw on your IG feed. Instead, select a silhouette that conforms to your figure.

If you’re shorter in the torso area, select a high-waisted style that sits at least above your hips. If you have a longer torso, you’ll look fab in shorts that rise to the smallest section of your waist.

2. Show off the silhouette

What good are high-waisted shorts if no one can tell what you’re wearing? The key to wearing this style successfully is to tuck your shirt in, much like @inspiremyfancy shows in this perfect take on the look. The high waist is accentuated by a self-tie belt, a must-show feature that adds a touch of fancy to her outfit.

3. Strive for balance

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You know how there are outfits that are just you (I'm feeling these high-waisted shorts from Target)? When you wear those shoes or jeans or dress, you don't have to drum up confidence. You are comfortable and people compliment your look and every picture is adorable? ⁣👗 I think places are like that too. At the beach or in the mountains or that lake house you vacationed at every summer as a child. Maybe it's the city, or a particular city (Charleston, I'm looking at you). It could be an entirely different country than you live in. Wherever it is, when you get there, you feel like you've come home. ↠That place just 𝘧𝘪𝘵𝘴 you. ↞ The novel I'm currently working on is about that. A woman who has never felt at home in the world. She's never belonged to, or in, a place. ⁣ ✥I want you to know that even if you identify with her and feel like you've never belonged, even if you don't feel comfortable in your own skin, let alone an outfit, you're wanted right here. You have a purpose.✥ I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Not all who wander are lost." I've wondered about those who feel lost even though they don't wander. I felt that way for a long time–as though I didn't quite fit into my life. ⁣But as I wandered through life and countries and experiences, I found a place that felt right. ⁣ Maybe you just need to do a little bit of wandering. ⁣ ⁣ Shorts and tank @target These amazing yellow shoes are Crown Vintage from @dsw

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It’s important to maintain a balanced, cohesive tone from top to bottom. Achieve that by pairing fuller bottoms of choice with a simple, sleek top, much like @welldressedwriter shows here.

Conversely, a form-fitting short looks amazing with a looser, flowy top.

4. Keep it summery fresh

The high waist is such a great choice for warm weather, especially if you’re sick of (or just can’t imagine) wearing low-rise silhouettes. The higher waist is a more modest antidote that manages to look fresh and modern despite its vintage connotations.

If you’re beaching it, take your inspo from @ilda_francis, who shows how it’s done with a cute bandeau on top.

High-Waisted Shorts to Wear Now

The belted short

For a fun skirt alternative, look for shorts with a paper-bag waist, cinched with a tie. On casual days, wear these with a fitted t-shirt and flat-soled sandals. And when you need to elevate your look, style these with a cropped blazer, a white t-shirt, and low-profile wedge pumps — talk about casual chic!

The pleated short

A pleated front nods to the original high-waisted shorts of decades past. These are updated with a soft rayon construction and a subtle polka dot pattern. Dress these shorts up with low-heeled pumps or down with tidy sneakers.

The utility short

Style and convenience is a powerful package. Two big front pockets plus one back pocket might turn these shorts into your summer go-to. Whatever top you choose — and a soft t-shirt feels just right — tuck it in for a look that’s both easygoing and put-together.

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    Tanya is a seasoned journalist based in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Specializing in fashion, beauty, and travel, she loves to explore new places, read as much as possible, and scour the web for fabulous finds — all in the name of research, of course.

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