Rain Maiava wears Diane Von Furstenberg's gold short ($185) with a romantic silk blouse from 3.1 Philip Lim ($390). Accessories: Prada cork heel sandals ($495), Stephen Dweck turquoise statement ring ($490) and Marc Jacobs Little Pouchette wristlet ($495). CLICK FOR LARGE
Short & Stylish
» Are your legs shorts worthy?
DESIGNERS DON'T have to tell anyone from Hawaii to put on shorts for summer. Here, they're practically a birthright, one-half of a year 'round uniform. Pair them with a T-shirt, tank or halter top and you can go just about anywhere.
It's that "just about" that's a little limiting. You wouldn't wear shorts to a fancy restaurant, would you?
Increasingly, women are.
But to do so takes extra thought in accessorizing to avoid looking like -- how to put it mildly -- a street walker. Of course, there will always be a handful of women who aim for that look, but for the rest of us, key to avoiding looking trashy is balance. That means tamping down the inherent sexiness and skimpiness of shorts with the sophistication of voluminous, polished tops and appropriate footwear. Ballerina flats or chunky heels are a match, while stilettos cross the line between fashion do and fashion don't.
From top, a Stella McCartney Bermuda ($395) and McCartney's babydoll taffeta trench jacket ($930). Accessories are a Fendi purse ($880), Lee Angel elastic cuff ($285) and Chloe shoes ($635). CLICK FOR LARGE
"You need something more earthy to bring it down. It's not stylish to be trampy," said Jeffrey Lasota, a Stella McCartney representative who recently visited Neiman Marcus for a fall preview of McCartney's line.
"A classic Bermuda with a voluminous piece on top is definitely a Stella signature," Lasota said. "We introduced it two years ago and now I see a lot more classic designers doing it."
With the designers have come designer prices for anything from short shorts to '50s-style pedal pushers and Bermudas, though you'll be able to find shorts at every price point this summer. Look for polished shapes and fabrications plus city colors for urban chic. Leave the casual, beachy fabrics and cuts for the beach.
While short shorts are best left to the very young, Lasota said, "Bermudas can be flattering for a lot of body types but it's important to try it on. It's the only way of knowing what's right for you."
Also, Cynthia Steffe's black short with button detail ($130) is paired with a white cotton blouse by Laundry ($155). Juicy Couture red ballet flats ($225) and a Kate Spade patent bucket bag ($395) add sharp contrast. A Philip Stein Teslar diamond watch ($1,175) polishes the look. CLICK FOR LARGE