Have I “Aged Out” of Shorts?

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I rarely wear shorts. And lately I’ve been wondering if maybe I’ve aged out of wearing shorts altogether. At least in public.

Mostly I find shorts too short, too baggy, too bulky around my already bulky middle, too tight in the waist, and when they do fit me in the waist, they are hugely baggy in the butt and hips. In short, shorts have never really worked with my body type. I wore them in my younger days a lot because, well, I was younger. But, I’ve never really liked shorts on me. Except for the cutoffs we used to wear in the seventies, and my old standby bike shorts.

In fact, I’ve been thinking about bike shorts a lot recently. They’re a big trend this season, and I’ve been seeing them all over Pinterest. I virtually live in bike shorts in the summer… when I’m at home. Not my real cycling shorts, I save those for when I’m riding my bike. I mean longish, stretchy, pull-on shorts. I wear them for walking, and working out, and doing housework. When we’re camping, I wear them with a long tee, or a sweatshirt. And I wore them to the gym, when I belonged to a gym, for years and years. It’s the one and only thing I had in common with Princess Diana; we dressed the same when we went to the gym. Big sweatshirts, long tees, and bike shorts. Yep. Me and Diana, we were style sisters.

But other than that, I rarely even think about wearing shorts. In public. Then I saw all those images on Pinterest of women wearing bike shorts as street wear. Maybe that was the answer. Maybe my favourite old shorts could keep me in the shorts game for another year. I could always age out of shorts next year.

On the steps wearing Theory white linen jacket, white Vince tee, white NYDJ shorts, Aldo sandals. Bracelet vintage, earrings from Magpie Jewellry.
Theory jacket, Vince tee, NYDJ shorts, Aldo sandals, Nordstrom belt, earrings Magpie Jewellry, vintage cuff. Flowers by Hubby 🙂

So, inspired by the looks I found on Pinterest, I tried wearing my black bike shorts with a long structured jacket and a tee shirt. And either my good sneakers or flat sandals. Ha. Not all outfit visions pass the reality test, my friends. My old shorts looked exactly like what they are… my gym shorts. And they didn’t work, at least on me, with more formal street wear. I just felt silly. This was definitely a trend I could NOT pull off.

I love the comfort and ease of a bike short with a long, baggy tee shirt or sweatshirt. But, only in the privacy of my own home, or campsite. Or at the gym when we’re not supposed to worry what we look like, only how much we sweat. There has been too much water under the bridge, folks, and too many bodily changes over the years for me to revisit wearing tight, flimsy bike shorts. At least in public.

Bu-ut. If I had a pair of real shorts with a waist and a zip. But which fit my leg like bike shorts: long, and narrow through the hip and thigh. And fit my middle like a pair of high-rise jeans. In a fabric that didn’t show every bump, and bubble. Then I might give shorts another try. They’d be a cross between the cut-offs we used to love in the seventies (except twice as long) and bike shorts.

Actually this train of fashion logic occurred to me a couple of weeks ago when I wrote a post about white jeans. If I have jeans I love but don’t wear, why not turn them into shorts? I had a couple of pairs of white jeans tucked away, on “stand-by”, as in I wasn’t wearing them, but wasn’t ready to get rid of them. Emboldened by my earlier experience with DIY jeans, when I cut off a pair of old Hudson jeans and breathed new life into them, I thought I’d chance my luck with the scissors again. And it was, I think, mostly successful.

I pulled on the jeans, marked the spot where I wanted to cut, measured both legs, and proceeded to cut. I think I may have been in a bit of a hurry. They perhaps should have been an inch longer. But, overall I’m happy with how these old NYDJ white jeans look as shorts. They’re narrow through the hip and thigh, like a bike short. But they’re not tight like bike shorts. And they’re also not bulky through the middle. In short, they’re shorts that fit like jeans. Because they are jeans. D’uh. Why didn’t I think of this before?

On the deck by the river, wearing Max Mara tan linen jacket, white Vince tee, white NYDJ shorts, Stan Smith Adidas.
Why does everything look better against a red Adirondack chair?

I styled my new shorts with a tee shirt, structured jacket, and flat sandals or sneakers. I like them with my Vince sleeveless tee and Theory white “Eco-crunch” jacket. But I was even happier with how they looked with my old, tan, linen safari jacket from Max Mara. I love tan and white together. This jacket has been hanging in my closet since the nineties. Another one of those “still fits, but can’t bear to part with it, maybe one day I’ll wear it again” pieces. And so it came to pass.

But, you know, I think the most successful look was with my A.L.C. striped tee, my old navy Max Mara suit jacket, and my white sneakers. Very nautical looking. In fact, I might possibly resemble Mrs. Thurston Howell III from Gilligan’s Island in this outfit. But let’s not go there.

So. I’m pretty happy. New white shorts from old white jeans. And no money spent in this endeavour.

I haven't aged out of shorts yet. On the deck wearing Navy Max Mara jacket, striped A.L.C. tee, NYDJ shorts, Stan Smith Adidas.
Finally some sun.

Now, let’s spend a few minutes addressing the elephant in the room, shall we? Wearing shorts at age sixty-three. At my age, have I aged out of shorts? I have to admit that I stole that phrasing from Lisa over at Privilege. She wrote a post a few years ago about aging out of shorts. From a distance my legs look much as they ever did. Not bad, knobby knees aside. But close up is a whole other matter. I’m starting to get cellulite on my thighs. Ickk. I have a few veiny bits, that weren’t veiny before. And despite all that time on the walking trail and on my bike, I don’t have, and won’t be getting, a tan. So, to sum up: old, skinny, white legs with knobby knees, cellulite and a few veins. Just writing that I’m starting to have second thoughts about wearing shorts.

Of course, there are alternatives for summer dressing. Dresses for one. Or long skirts. Or cropped pants. I wear all of those. But I’m kind of entranced this year with the idea of casual shorts with a conservative looking jacket. Plus I’m trying to embrace the “good enough” ethic. So, I’m going to give this look a try. The final test for me is how I feel when I actually wear an outfit. Somewhere that is not my backyard.

I may end up wearing these shorts somewhere and immediately upon arrival look down at my legs and think, “What the hell was I thinking?” Or I may arrive and feel marvelous in my cut-off-white-denim-bike-ish shorts. Until then, whether or not I’ve actually aged out of shorts remains a mystery. I’ll let you know how things turn out.

I haven't aged out of shorts yet. On the deck wearing Navy Max Mara jacket, striped A.L.C. tee, NYDJ shorts, Stan Smith Adidas.
Max Mara jacket, A.L.C. tee, NYDJ jeans/shorts, Stan Smith Adidas

How about you, my friends? Are you a shorts person? Or a bike shorts person? Or have you shunned shorts altogether save for when you are at the gym?

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Linking up this week with: Visible Monday#IwillwearwhatIlike#ShareAllLinkup, Fabulous Friday.

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65 thoughts on “Have I “Aged Out” of Shorts?”

  1. I copied your DIY on the white jeans a couple of years ago and loved them, until I gained weight. I agree with shorts and age and have not worn them much the past few years, but bought a couple pairs at Target with drawstring waist and like them. I don’t wear them out much and prefer a skirt. I agree with the points you made and have a lot of dark spots on my legs. Oh, to have used sunscreen in the ‘80’s. I think your latest DIY looks great on you and totally think you should wear them out and about! I said that like a Canadian!!!

    1. I’ve tried the drawstring waist shorts over the years and can’t pull them off. It’s so hard to find the right proportion for our bodies, eh? (note the Canadian ending on that sentence) 🙂

  2. I have pretty much aged out of shorts….not that there’s anything wrong with my legs (except their lack of length). I just have trouble styling them with tops, except for structured linen T’s. Gave it another try this season, when it occurred to me to look for a shorts version of my favorite lightweight capris, Columbia Saturday Trail. Turns out they had 10″ length shorts that fit exactly the same way as the capris and pants, and are nicely tapered without being constricting. But it’s a sporty, outdoorsy look.
    For nicer occasions, I stick with linen ankle pants.

  3. I have some cut-off jean shorts, about the same length as yours, because it’s really handy to have pockets when gardening. But I wouldn’t wear them to go out. Looking around the market on Saturday, the only people in shorts were tourist men, a few tourist women and a local (young) ballet teacher, who could wear a burlap bag and look fabulous.
    So shorts? Nope. I wear some bike shorts to run from time to time. But I prefer my capri sweats. I tend to wear my shorts around the house/garden when I want those pockets, or else when I’m in the US. Even way back when I lived in NYC, only tourists wore shorts, whereas locals wore skirts (extremely short….which is to say the difference wasn’t about coverage but about style, and I was much younger then and fully took part in the itsy bitsy miniskirt trend). We don’t have the same body type at all–I’m much shorter and a pear, with ample hips and a hitherto small waist. Somehow, around menopause, my butt migrated to my abdomen, and now my butt is flat and my stomach is round. Without any change in weight at all, not to mention conscientious exercise. NOT FAIR.
    In general though, I wear my skirts above the knee and my pants below. I do not mourn for shorts in public, just as I never mourned for not wearing onesies any more.

  4. It is hot as heck here in the southern US, so at 65, I still live in shorts and tees. Yeah, my legs show my age, despite me being in good shape. I have embraced my mother’s mantra from when I was growing up:” If they don’t like how I look, they can look the other way.” My days are spent hitting the gym early for yoga, then I change into shorts and tees for errands, walking the grand-dog in the city, then more dog walking and gardening when I get home. Blazers and extra clothing just aren’t a possibility when you are outside a lot and the heat index is around 100 degrees. I love your white jean shorts, brilliant idea!

  5. “In general though, I wear my skirts above the knee and my pants below. I do not mourn for shorts in public, just as I never mourned for not wearing onesies any more.”

    One if the best sentiments on style ever! I heartily agree!

    Re the post though, I don’t honestly think anyone ages out of shorts, because as we age we just have to try and look smart and tidy and attractive with the bodies we have; we ain’t fooling anyone that we’re 25 anymore, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still wear clothes that show our arms/knees or cleavage for that matter, because we still love clothes and fashion and feeling good. And shorts are as functional as they are fashionable so I’m going to carry on wearing them! I’m 50 and I’ve spent most of my late 30’s and 40’s feeling like I had aged out of clothes before arriving in my late 40’s thinking, ‘what was I thinking!’ And now I feel much happier about wearing certain items than i did 10 years ago!
    You’ve got great legs, a great body, a great face and a great attitude. Wear ’em!

    1. Thanks, Ros. I agree that we should wear what we want no matter our age. It’s just that as time has passed, my body has changed, and I don’t feel comfortable in some of the styles I used to wear. But that’s a personal preference… not a hard and fast rule about age.

  6. Hi Sue,
    With your legs…wear them!
    I wear my shorts the length you are wearing. But with shape of my body ..I have similar problems as you. Hard to fit. I find some skirts tend to ride to high when I sit. See! There is always something. At 64 I have the normal ageing on my legs….wear your sun screen and lots of moisturizer. Ha! Age be damn!!
    Robin

    1. Thanks, Robin. Sunscreen and moisturiser daily. I’ve also started using a new product from Biotherm (I think) oil based body wash with some exfoliant in it. I really like it. P.S. You look great, by the way. I’m loving your hair “tales” on IG.

  7. I use a bit of self tanner on my legs to keep from being too self conscious when I wear shorts and capris. Helps to even out all those blue veins and other marks on my pale skin. At home in the summer if its hot I definitely do wear shorts, even though I know I don’t look great in them. I might run out to do an errand if it’s really hot but never for a social function.

    I think your solution was brilliant! And you look very nice in shorts.

    1. Thanks, Becky. I’ve tried self-tanner in the past. But once out in the bright sunlight I could always see streaks. My application method must have been wanting. Ha.

  8. I think that was a perfect solution. I hope you will enjoy wearing them, they do look very smart with a jacket. Where I live it’s too hot not to wear shorts! Your eye becomes accustomed to seeing all ages/body types wearing them. I just I could find a nice pair that aren’t denim!

  9. I think you look great in shorts. You have such nice long legs. The jackets and tees you wear with them are very stylish.

  10. Arrive and feel marvelous!! You have amazing legs!
    I’m not a shorts person any more….because,my shorts have to be ultra short,showing all of my legs ( to be pleased how it looks, for me) and hallo-wearing almost a bikini in the city at 61…no way!
    Dottoressa

  11. I think you have nailed it! The fit/cut of the shorts is very flattering and your legs look great. Here in Aus I wear shorts often in summer, for dog walking and hanging around the house, but not out so much, due to the difficulty of finding anything “smart but not sporty”. I’m off to check out my white jeans and see what I can come up with, thank you.

  12. Your legs are amazing and you look really great in the cut-offs. But never say you’re too old at 63!!!!!!!
    I’m 73 and wear my shorts at home. I have, I might say, similar legs to yours, but it’s the colour of them that I don’t really want to display to the world! Like yours mine are pale but they’re also blue & purple and a bit veiny in places so not really good enough for city wear!!! But honestly never say you’re too old to wear this or that – no one is ever too old to wear anything, in my view!

    1. I agree, Penny. Not too old, exactly. Just that I was tired of not finding shorts that I thought looked good on me. I pulled several old shorts out of my drawer and tried them on, and in exasperation thought, “why do I bother?” I hate all of these… for the reasons I outlined in my post. But it’s about my body and how it’s changed and that’s due to age. So I guess it is about age. How’s that for contradicting myself? Ha.

  13. I don’t wear shorts ever because I don’t like them. I find them uncomfortable and prefer to wear a dress especially when enduring the hot and humid days of a Sydney summer. I can’t say I am a fan of the jacket and shorts look but each to their own. I applaud your repurposing of items you already own.

  14. Your new shorts are fabulous and you look terrific in them. Such a great example of sustainable fashion! And they do not need to be an inch longer. Your legs are fabulous and judging by your photos, you can most definitely wear shorts at 63 and for many years to come.

    I love shorts in summer, mostly bike shorts and mostly around the house or for exercise. I do have one pair of black and white small check linenish long shorts (they are nicer than my description 🤔) that I’m happy to wear in public with long tops when (it’s too hot in Sydney for jackets in summer). If my legs we’re like yours, I’d wear shorts in public all the time, though it gets so hot here that loose dresses can often be a better choice than shorts and t-shirts.

    1. Thanks, Maria. My shorts outfits are much the same as my skirts and sneakers outfits. But NOT good for really hot temperatures. I’ve never experienced a Sydney summer. We were in Broome in April one year, and that was hot enough for me.

  15. I have been thinking about this lately after attending an outdoor art show and being too hot. My legs are short and I do not look as good as you in shorts. I also am very fair so I think would look better in darker shorts. I have some Intro shorts what have a nice comfortable waist band. A pet peeve of mine is pants with baggy butts. I also bought a pair of skorts which I thought might be good for walking. I am still working though all of this. You seem to have found your answer.

    1. Oh… I hear you on the baggy butts. That’s why I can’t find regular shorts to fit me. Most women’s shorts are made for people with hips and rear ends, I have neither.

  16. You have great legs and your clothing combinations are terrific (though not sustainable here with our 100+ degree heat). Let’s just say Mother Nature came up a little short (literally) when it came to putting legs on me. She also endowed me with leg veins from thigh to ankle that look remarkably like a road map of I-95 from Maine to Florida (even after vein surgery–they came back). So no. No shorts for me.

    1. Oh, just thinking of wearing those jackets in your heat makes me hot. I’m sure that once my veins start going south, I’ll pack away the shorts except for in my own garden. I’d be much more comfortable in ankle pants. It’s all about what makes us feel good in our clothes, I think.

  17. Wendy in York

    Wore shorts on Mediterranean holidays in my 20s & have always been happy enough with my legs ( though a couple more inches would be nice ) but no shorts for me . It’s more about how I feel than look – if you know what I mean . Have never been comfortable showing a lot of flesh . I visited the local Designer Outlet after reading your post this morning & there seemed to be shorts everywhere . It is hot just now & people are wanting to show their holiday suntans so it is understandable . To be brutally honest though most of them would have looked more stylish with longer trousers but what’s it got to do with me ? What do I know ?
    Talking about style , I’ve been enjoying YouTube clips by Justine Leconte . A very stylish lady with lovely quirky teeth .

    1. I’m not comfortable wearing anything low cut, I hate wearing a bathing suit and always have. But I’ve never minded showing a little (or a lot) of leg. Although now it’s more often a little than a lot. A couple of people have recommended brands of long and lean shorts, or stores which carry that type of short, but I’ve never if even found shorts that fit me how I want them to fit…. like jeans. I’m going to check out that You Tube account. I saw some videos which I found due to Allyson Walsh’s posts and they were really good. I seem to take advice so much better if it’s packaged with an English accent. Not sure why.

  18. I live in Tx, shorts are a must! I am 65, have legs similar to yours. Kut from the Kloth makes a great bike short length short and I wear those a lot. Very comfortable and great length.

    1. Hmmm. I’ve never heard of that brand. I’ll keep my eye out. Although with a couple more pairs of jeans in my closet that I don’t wear, just begging for some scissor action, I’ll probably NOT be shorts shopping this year.

  19. Angela Muller

    Well, Sue, if I had those legs I’d wear shorts to the ball. You look great! Don’t give it a second thought. Ingenious of you to cut off your longer pants! Stay the course!

  20. Judith Walker

    I’m 67 with decent legs–below the knee! So–as it’s hot and humid in the South, I happily wear shorts with inseams no shorter than 10 inches. That length hides MOST of the jiggly parts and my worst patch of spider veins. I agree with others, Sue. If you are comfortable, wear the shorts! You most definitely have the legs for it.

  21. Agree with the comment from Susan @ 1:55 p.m.! That was a brilliant move with the scissors, you look great.
    I haven’t worn shorts for a few years so thought I would give them another try – I’m short with imperfect legs so those new shorts haven’t been worn out of the neighborhood ……yet…..
    Suz from Vancouver

  22. Love the look! I am tall and need to find something to go with my shorts, that white jacket is perfect! And what size shoe are you? Those sandals are amazing and hope they come in larger sizes.

  23. My bike shorts have a padded crotch – not really a look I want to wear shopping. Heh. But I do love how they suck everything in, like those yoga pants. I have long cycle pants that I wear out in public with blazers and tops, which I really like. They used to be worn OVER my padded crotch cycle shorts. It’s all so complex. I have been non-shorts-wearing for years now. I was never really into them. But you look fabulous in your cut-offs!! And I love how you styled these. Keep on keep on.

  24. Kathleen Dougherty

    I am 69 and figured it might be time for me to hand up the shorts. I found culottes (?), jean type skirts with pants under them, in black, white, tan, and denim, and wear them when it’s hot – they are actually very cool in the heat. I am short so it looks like I’m wearing a skirt just above my knee. Keeps me cool and doesn’t scare the children!

  25. These look great on you! Love the idea, I’m a big fan of DIY ing jeans! Have frayed a few of mine which looks good. I’ve just found I can fit into an old pair of jean shorts and am really pleased with them. Do stop by an join my #chicandstylish #linkup that’s live right now! Jacqui Mummabstylish

  26. I don’t wear shorts often and not at all this year because we basically haven’t had summer here in Alberta! I think yours are the perfect length and look great. Do let us know how your wearing of them turns out. You’re so right that we have to feel comfortable in what we’re wearing.

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