Casual Style

How to Dress Up Shorts: A Beginner’s Guide

by Leah Bourne


You’ve waited all winter to break out your favorite summer gear: your flowy dresses, your favorite sandals, and of course, all your pairs of shorts.

Well, the time is finally here; it’s just about shorts weather. Whether you’re wearing them to the office or for a night out with friends, you can make shorts work practically anywhere—as long as they are styled just so.

If you’re wondering how to dress up shorts, there are lots of ways to get more mileage out of your favorite summer staple. Read on for a few tips so you can pull off this summer go-to like a pro.

Types of Shorts to Dress Up

Not all shorts lend themselves to a dressed up look, but a few styles definitely do. Shorts in a suiting fabric, for instance, are great for the office, as are slightly longer Bermuda-style shorts. Although an absolute no-no in a professional setting, cut-off jean shorts work well for an outing like a trendy dinner or a low-key cocktail party. Then, there are the shorts that are already primed for the glow-up because of their stylish fabric: think duchess satin or beaded shorts. If you’re wearing one of those options, the hard work is already done.

Shoes Make All the Difference

The absolute best—and simplest—way to dress up shorts is with your shoes. For the office, go for pairs of shoes like pointy-heeled flats or kitten heels (luckily, one of the biggest spring trends) to wear with your shorts. When you’re heading out for a nice dinner, why not opt for a pair of strappy sandals or stilettos with your shorts? Whatever you do, if you’re trying to dress up shorts, you’re going to want to stay away from sneakers or more casual sandals.

Maroon sandals

Make Them Work for Work

Yes, you really can wear shorts to work—you just have to pair them with the right things. After making sure your shoes are dressy enough for the office, consider wearing your shorts with a blazer or a tucked-in classic button-down to the office. This is key: don’t forget to make sure that shorts are allowed according to your office’s dress code.

Make Them Work for Going Out

One of the best times to dress up a pair of shorts is for nights out—they just make for such a great addition to a summer outfit. Beyond your shoes (the more fun, the better), pair your shorts with a statement top like a beaded blouse or a Bardot top and you’ll be ready to hit the town.

Black and silver necklace

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

When considering how to dress up shorts, remember that the right accessories will make a real impact, just like with any outfit. Think things like evening clutches, drop earrings, and statement necklaces when you want to elevate your look.

Featured in this article:

Lizard-Embossed Leather & Patent Strappy Heels, $115

Onyx Statement Necklace, $60

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