Goldilocks and the Quest for the Perfect Shorts

by Abby on May 24, 2013

cute shortsFor a couple of summers now, I’ve been shorts-deficient. Short on the short pants. Coming up short on… You get the picture. I have running shorts for the gym. I even have swim shorts for the pool. (Much sportier than a swim skirt!) But I have not been able to find any regular old everyday shorts I like.

I feel like Goldilocks – they’re either too short, too long, too hootchie, too frumpy, too wrinkly, too casual, too formal … Look, I like my shorts simple. Plain, cotton, mid-length, no excessive pockets or cuffs or buttons or buckles. And of course, they have to FIT. Is that so much to ask?

First, I tried Old Navy. The mecca of inexpensively priced cotton clothing, right? Except their shorts are not made for a person built like me. See, they are cut for people with hips, whereas I have none. This results in an unfortunate bell-like appearance.

Next, I tried my old standby, Loft, but found that I was between sizes there – too tight or too loose. Plus, they were out of all the colors I liked. I figured flesh-colored pinkish tones were not a good look on a pale-skinned redhead.

Next, I tried the Gap, which was all cut-off denim and blinding brights. Pretending I was en route to a hot date and not preschool pickup, I then ventured over to the Limited and Express, where there were even tinier cutoffs and a perplexing range of formal shorts. Is this what the kids are wearing now? (Full disclosure: I did once own an awesome pair of tuxedo shorts, which I wore out at night when I used to go out at night. Ironically, they probably weren’t in style then but are now. Ahead of my time…)

On to Nordstrom, where I grabbed a random fistful of shorts off the sale rack and headed to the dressing room. Let me ask you all a question: Why do they even MAKE white shorts that aren’t lined? Unlined white- or light-colored shorts are basically clear. You can see EVERYTHING. And no one needs to be wearing clear shorts, not even Beyonce.

Merona Chino Shorts from TargetFinally, in desperation, I ended up at Target. At least I could stock up on cleaning supplies and makeup if I struck out there. But lo and behold – Target was a GOLDMINE of cute, colorful, age-appropriate, mid-length shorts!! And one pair of very hip, Taylor Swift-esque sailor shorts that I just barely talked myself out of. I mean, I have pretty good legs, but these were smaller than my 6yo’s shorts.

A choir of 30-something angels sang from the fluorescent light fixtures as the cashier rang up my purchase. And just as I finally, FINALLY found the perfect shorts… Memorial Day weekend arrived rainy and cold. Well, isn’t that just about right.

LAUGH O’ THE DAY: My husband’s family hails from Massachusetts, home of the thick Boston accent: “Pahk the cah in Hahvad Yahd.” One time his aunt was talking about getting ready for her upcoming vacation. “I packed my shots for the cruise.” I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why someone would need shots on a cruise – B12 shots? Malaria vaccinations? Shots of tequila? Then my husband clued me in: ohhh, SHORTS. That makes way more sense.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie Mizzell May 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm

We have the opposite issue. I need shorts for hips. But then they have to be low rise so they sit on my hips, or tapered in the waist. (When a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist and a round thing in your face…). I have had lots of success at Loft, but I might be in between sizes, too. I think they may be vanity sizes, too. I got a size 4, and they were a bit too big and that’s just not right. So glad you found shorts!


Abby May 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Vanity sizing is RAMPANT. The Gap was the worst – even the gay male sales associate agreed with me that a 4 there is nowhere near a “real” 4!


Kathleen Basi May 25, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I’m feeling this way about shoes right now, except I started at Target and was underwhelmed. 🙂 My problem is, I won’t accept that “cute” and “good for your feet” must be mutually exclusive.


Abby May 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Try finding some that are between flat and 5-inch stilettos! I find anything in that mid-range is intended for grandmas. I’m all about comfort and cost-per-wear now when it comes to shoes. It took me years to get there, but now I’m willing to pay a little more when I find a cute, comfy pair.


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