How to Find the Perfect Pair of Shorts

how to find the perfect pair of shorts

For the longest time, I hated wearing shorts. Anything that fit my thighs and hips were way too big for my waist, or were made out of awful fabrics. When I did my deep closet cleanse, I ended up getting rid of every pair of shorts I had. This meant that this year I had to start over. My goal was to get two, maybe three pairs of shorts that I fee good in, that fit me and my values, and that will last for years. After few months of hunting, I've found three pairs that work brilliantly! Here's my five favourite tips for finding shorts that will work for you too, regardless of your size & budget!

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Go Custom

This is what I did for my first pair (and the pair I wear most). I reached out to notPERFECTLINEN and asked them to help me turn my favourite Japanese Trousers into a pair of shorts - they're the ones featured in all these images*. I sent them in my measurements and they made them exactly to what my body needed. There are a couple other companies who are willing to adjust what they have if you need - just ask. Which leads to my next tip...

Ask for Help

Because I deal mostly with small businesses, I have no problem asking them to help me. Most are willing to look through their inventory to suggest pieces that will work for you - Hey Jude in Vancouver is amazing for this. It's worthwhile to send a quick email asking for exact measurements, especially if something is handmade, vintage or final sale. I know I personally am happy to take the five minutes to measure a garment for someone if it means they will end up buying a piece that they will love for years and years. Other awesome women who are willing to go out of their way to help with this? Sarah from Fieldstudy and Sarah from at Boheme Goods (yes, they're both named Sarah).

Check Secondhand

Looking to the past can bring some gems into the present. Since each generation had a different style you can find some uniquely spectacular pieces, often at lower price points. It can take hours of digging through thrift and vintage stores to find them, so I suggest turning to shops who have already done that for you (like Shop Flopsy Life, Hey Jude, Boheme Goods or Kindred Thrift). A couple things to keep in mind....

  • Keep an eye out for natural fabrics, especially in summer when we naturally sweat more. Think linen, cotton & silk.
  • Figure out which style works best for you. Short denim shorts, loose & comfortable, or high waisted and longer? I personally love anything vintage with a high waist and mid thigh length (esp if they have pockets!).
  • Ask for help - remember with vintage sizing is not standard, and while we do our best to guess at the modern size, it is best to have exact measurements if you have a harder time finding things to fit your body.

Be Open Minded

You never actually know what might work for you just looking at it on the hanger. When it comes to size and shape, what works for you might actually surprise you. Be open to trying things on that you might not otherwise ever consider, whether it's a lighter colour than you usually turn to or a shorter cut. I have a client who tends towards wearing darker bottoms, and I had a pair of linen shorts in both navy and cream in my shop. Initially she thought she would want the darker ones, but after I got her to try on both colours she realized she felt better in the light colour and ended up going with those. You never know until you try!

Stick to What You Know You Love

My most important tip: don't buy shorts just because it's summer and you feel like you "should". Consider if you will actually wear them, if you truly love them, and if you feel good in them. If you feel better in skirts and know that you'll always reach for one over a pair of shorts, GO WITH THE SKIRT. Only you know what you need - that's what makes you beautiful and unique. You do you, and fuck the rest of it.

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*If you want a pair of these shorts for yourself, you can email notPERFECTLINEN & ask for the Flopsy Life Shorts - they'll know what you're talking about.
Image 1 & 2: shorts in collaboration with notPERFECTLINEN, top from Hey Jude
Image 3: shorts in collaboration with notPERFECTLINEN, top from Elizabeth Suzann, linen jacket from Boheme Goods, necklace from Chalice Grove, Ozma silk bandana  from Fieldstudy, sunglasses borrowed from Fieldstudy
All photos by Isaac Peters Photography.