If the arrival of summer shorts season makes you less than excited, you’re not alone. We often dread that time when we’re forced to pack away our winter denim and re-introduce our legs to the sun. It’s easy to feel overexposed, uncomfortable and constrained in a pair of shorts, but we’re here to help. Whether you’re headed out for a casual afternoon of errands or dressing for a summer night out on the town, we’ve created an easy-to-follow guide to summer shorts along with all you need to complete the looks.

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Summer Shorts

FOR A CASUAL OUTING

For casual outings like running errands, grabbing lunch with friends, taking the kids on an adventure at the science center or zoo, or window shopping with the gals, a pair of light and comfy shorts are the perfect go-to. We’ve found two ideal options. (SB TIP: When accessorizing these outfits, we suggest keeping it simple. Grab your favorite small hoops or studs, a simple watch or bangle, sunnies and a crossbody bag.)

The first activity-friendly look is pretty and polished with a short sleeve blouse ($65) that can be worn any time of year, a pair of black pull-on shorts ($39.50) in a length that keeps us from feeling overexposed and some on-trend espadrille sandals ($79.95) that are equally stylish and practical. The second features a fun zodiac tee shirt ($59.50) paired with ultra-lightweight linen shorts ($49) in a flattering olive green shade, all finished with a pair of cute and versatile colorful sandals ($69.50).

summer shorts

Here are two casual looks featuring comfortable, lightweight shorts. The white blouse is $65, the pull-on black shorts are $39.50, and the black espadrille sandals are $79.95. The zodiac tee is $59.50, the olive green linen shorts are $49, and the colorful slide-on sandals are $69.50. Images: Nordstrom/Madewell

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FOR THE DENIM LOVERS

A good pair of denim shorts is a must during spring and summer, but it seems that many styles are either too short, too tight or too uncomfortable. Luckily, we’ve found two options — a Bermuda length in a dark wash, and a mid-length in a lighter wash — that can fit into many versatile looks. For accessories, consider stepping up from your casual looks with some statement earrings, stacked arm candy and a dainty necklace.

Our first denim shorts outfit pairs a light, fashionable striped blouse ($59) with some dark-wash Bermuda-length (yes, this is back in style!) shorts ($79) and a pair of simple, stylish sandals ($68.95). Our second denim shorts outfit features a flirty ruffled top ($69) paired with mid-length shorts ($59) and a pair of slightly wedged asymmetrical mules ($159). These shoes are available in multiple shades and are a fantastic easy-to-wear summer staple!

summer shorts

Here are two ways to rock denim shorts this season. This striped blouse is $59, the Bermuda-length shorts are $79, and the tan sandals are $68.95. This ruffled top is $69, the mid-length shorts are $59, and these asymmetrical mules are $159. Images: Nordstrom

FOR A NIGHT OUT

A dress, skirt or white denim are top choices when heading out for a summer night on the town, but why not add in a nice pair of shorts to the rotation? It can be difficult to picture shorts as a dressier style, but you just have to find the right pair, add in some nighttime-appropriate accessories and voila! When shopping for dressy shorts, go for a high-waisted pair with a belt or tie detail and structured feel to ensure they’ll look just as upscale as your winter trousers. For accessories, we suggest drop earrings with some sparkle, a few rings and your favorite necklace.

Here are two looks for a summer night out. The first ensemble is a bit edgier with a pleated black tank ($89) that will keep you cool without showing too much skin, a pair of fun, vibrant orange shorts ($55, this is a hot color this season, but this pair is also available in black) and some strappy black heels ($99.95). The second look is a more timeless, conservative choice with a quarter-length sleeve blouse ($74), navy shorts ($69.50) with a feminine tie, and on-trend wedge block heels ($99.95). Both shoes are great day-to-night additions to your footwear collection.

summer shorts

Here are two ways we’re styling shorts for a warm-weather night out this season. This black tank is $89, the orange shorts are $55, and these strappy heels are $99.95. This white blouse is $74, the navy shorts are $69.50, and the wedge heels are $99.95. Images: Nordstrom

Enjoy the upcoming sunny days — in shorts!

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