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Shopping Tips

The Annual Alternative to Shorts Guide

Ladies, are you searching for an alternative to shorts every summer? If so, you’re not alone. Real Life Style to the rescue with our annual alternative to shorts roundup! The 2021 edition has a record number of items. We actually stressed out over giving you too many options. Stop reading and start clicking.

Happy Shopping!

Wide Leg Pants

If you are someone who prefers a full length pant, you can absolutely stay cool with a wide leg pant as an alternative to shorts. I didn’t understand the concept of long, loose, light layers keeping one cool and comfortable in the intense summer heat until I took my first trip to Israel. It really works!

Cropped Wide Leg Pants

If I had to pick my own absolute favorite alternative to shorts, it would be cropped, wide leg pants. Kyle and I embrace this silhouette for all seasons, warm and cold. One of the best pieces in this entire blog is the Athleta cropped, wide leg pant in their breathable, UPF 50+ athleisure fabric. I recommend trying both the Brooklyn and Avenue styles. One or the other usually works for most women. I own the Brooklyn in black and could wear them every day.

Cropped Straight Leg Pants

Not into wide leg pants? Petite women can look better in straight leg pants, especially with a flat shoe. Athleta makes our beloved Brooklyn pant in a straight, ankle version. What I want to try most from this section is the High-Waisted Stretch-Tech Utility Crop Pants from Old Navy. They look so easy to wear and come in so many great colors. Let me know in the comments if you have tried these pants!


A light, linen jogger is a cool, laid-back, alternative to shorts. In fact, I wonder if they make them for 7 year-old boys?! My son is always trying to wear pants no matter the weather to protect himself from mosquitos. And yes, there is a Brooklyn Jogger too 🙂

Chinos and Cargo Pants

Sometimes you just want to wear a cotton pant. But, traditional chinos can feel boring and formal. A cargo, cropped, or below the knee style keeps your cotton pants cool and casual. I have been wearing this pair in Navy from Lands’ End lately and loving this alternative to shorts.


A skirt is a pretty obvious alternative to shorts, but it’s not always practical if you are running after kids. I find that most clients feel a skirt is usually too much work. This is why I’m so excited about the new skirts in quick-drying, sweat-wicking fabrics. I’m loving the Zella Pursuit Pull-On Skirt and of course the Athleta Hayes Pleated Midi Skirt!


Do you play sports? Have children or dogs? The skort is your answer to keeping cool, looking put together, but not letting anyone see your underwear. Or am I the only one whose children are always pulling on her skirt in public?


The best part about wearing a dress as your alternative to shorts is that you are one and done. Also, you get to choose how much coverage you want on the top and the bottom. I like to wear dresses as an alternative to shorts a little too much in the summer. As flexible as the design of my closet is, I can’t change how much long hanging space I have without making other sacrifices I’m not willing to make. The dress section is always teetering on the edge of respectability!

Jumpsuits & Overalls

Jumpsuits. Love them or hate them? Let us know in the comments below! I’ve recently become more open to them, but they’re certainly polarizing. Also, you have to try on a lot of jumpsuits before you find one that fits. I may add one or two more to my closet. I’m intrigued by the Alex Mill Otto overalls. What do you think? Is 44 too old for overalls?

What is your favorite alternative to shorts? Let us know in the comments!

Real Life Style is a style consulting firm that teaches busy women to wear their power so they can live their lives fully and confidently. Lani Inlander and Kyle Dunphy are based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and serve clients across the country. We offer personal styling services, an on-demand e-course, corporate services, and training to become a personal stylist.

Once in a while, you can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Mostly, they are happily busy serving their fabulous clients, not hanging out online!

(1) Comment

  1. Anne says:

    What a wonderful resource! So many fantastic ideas for summer.

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