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Fashion-wise, shorts are often a bit of an afterthought. We throw them on when the weather dictates, but shopping for a pair isn’t given the same amount of thought as, say, jeans or a bathing suit. But find the right pair and you can wear them everywhere from the beach to a garden party and out for dinner.

We’ve organized our list of favourite shorts by the following body types: long legs, petite, strong thighs and curvy. Identify the body type closest to your own and find your perfect pair of shorts.

If you have long legs:

Shorts for long legs

You’re in luck. You’ve got gams made for shorts. The only downside to having long legs is that even modestly short shorts can make it look like you’re exposing more thigh than you really are. These three pairs will leave you looking leggy yet understated (from left to right).

Joe Fresh Long Short ($39)
Not too many people can actually pull off long shorts. Those with short legs end up looking, well, short, but you can wear knee-length pants and still look statuesque. They’re the perfect pair for a night out and look great with a long-sleeved button-up. Choose a pair in a solid colour as wearing a pattern to the knees might be a bit overwhelming for even the most Amazonian of silhouettes.

French Connection San Fran Stitch Shorts ($59.99)
But don’t shy away from patterns, completely. With so much leg beneath those shorts, a fun pattern on a shorter short won’t stunt your look. Go with a casual, fun floral you can wear on the beach and at the cottage or a more luxe, embroidered pair like this one that’s more city appropriate.

H&M Chino Shorts ($29.95)
Roll-up shorts in a bright hue can be cute and flattering. You get to choose the length of your shorts and the relaxed style looks laid-back while showing off those gams.

If you are petite:

Finding a pair of shorts is a matter of length for you. Too long and you hit an awkward place that makes you look smaller and shorter than you actually are. Too short and you either look like a child or a little too cheeky, if you know what we mean. These pairs of shorts will help you find a sophisticated middle ground (from left to right):

Shorts for shorter ladies

Club Monaco Keri Paisley Short ($98.50)
The lovely thing about these shorts is that they look luxe and they’re super comfy. An elastic waistband and running-short styling get updated with pretty fabric. The rounded sides and mini slits help elongate legs. Athletic-inspired shorts are popular this season, so a pair like this shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Zara High Waist Shorts ($29.99)
Believe it or not, a pair of high-waisted shorts will also help elongate your look, making it appear as if your hips and legs begin higher up. Don’t be afraid to try out white shorts, which, when cut right (smooth over hips, flat slanted pockets) can flatter just about any shape as well as black ones.

Joe Fresh Linen Short ($24)
Just because you’re petite, doesn’t mean that you’re tiny all over. If you have curvy hips and a bum or fuller thighs, choosing a pair of loose-fitting but refined shorts like these linen ones will give your body some space while gently showing off those curves. A wider leg opening will make thighs appear a bit slimmer.

If you have fuller thighs:

Don’t hide those thighs! It’s summer and legs of all sizes deserve to be seen! Choosing the right pair of shorts for you is all about leaving a little room around your legs to balance out your proportions and to give a slightly slimmer appearance. These three pairs will both flatter and show off your best assets (from left to right):

Shorts for ladies with thick thighs

Club Monaco Ellery Soft Short ($119.50)
A flirty pair of patterned shorts with a hint of pajama styling looks pretty and fresh this summer. Choose a pair with extra room around your thighs and a surprising detail like a cut-out hem, as seen here. The pattern draws the eye up and balances out fuller thighs, and the larger leg opening helps your legs look more balanced.

Gap Canada Colorblock chambray boyfriend roll-up shorts ($54.95)
These boyfriend-style shorts are loose and a little longer so they’ll cover some leg without hugging your thighs. The playful roll-up detail can actually be slimming if there’s enough room around your legs at the opening. The colour-blocking detail is fun and helps to elongate shorter legs.

Zara Pleated shorts ($19.99)
Yes, pleated shorts can be chic. These ones both draw attention to a trim waist and give strong thighs lots of room. They’d look great with a delicate tank or even with a jacket for the office. Choose a pair in a bright colour for an updated look. Take it one step further by buying a matching top.

If you’re curvy:

Don’t be ashamed of your curves, accent them with shorts that flatter and smooth your silhouette. There are lots of options out there for you. Just remember to highlight a small waist while smoothing out thicker hips and a bum. These three pairs are sure to bring out your best features (from left to right):

Shorts for curvy ladies

Old Navy Women’s Skinny Bermudas ($28.94)
A pair of slim Bermuda shorts can give you a polished look. Avoid shorts that are skin tight and look for a pair that skim your body. You want to look smooth, not like you had to fight to get the shorts on.

H&M Linen Shorts ($59.95)
Skorts can be cute. No, really. You may remember them as being corny but also consider the benefits: the comfort and modesty of shorts with the look of a mini skirt! These loose linen shorts accent a small waist while gliding over hips and bum for a cute skirt silhouette. Just make sure that the waistband hits above your hips and not at the thickest part so that the shorts highlight your hourglass figure.

Simon’s High Waist Chic Short ($19.99)
Curvy girls can and should wear high-waisted shorts and pants. Again, these red ones draw attention to a small waist while loosely skimming hips and bum without hiding them. A wider leg opening also helps slim thighs.