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Shopping Tips

The 2022 Guide to Alternatives to Shorts

Ladies, are you searching for alternatives to shorts every summer? If so, you’re not alone. This blog originated many years ago out of my own aversion to shorts. But it is our readers who have made it one of the RLS blog’s most popular annual features. Like every year, we actually stressed over whether we were giving you too many options. Imagine that! So stop reading and start clicking through the sliders!

Happy Shopping!

Lani in one of her pairs of crazy, cropped wide leg pants!

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 me 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. Scroll through the widget below for the tried and true Avenue style, as well as the brand new Cosmic Wrap Pant.

Cropped Straight Leg Pants

Not into wide leg pants? Petite women can look better in straight leg pants, especially with a flat shoe. I’ve got to say, the High-Waisted Straight Canvas Workwear Pants from Old Navy look awesome. I love every single color available! If you are looking to get out of a denim rut, this type of pant may be your answer.


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. Prefer a lightweight, tech, exercise fabric? We love the Brooklyn Jogger. And although we haven’t tried it yet, this High-Waisted StretchTech Cargo Jogger Pant looks amazing and the price can’t be beat!


A skirt is a pretty obvious alternative to shorts, but is not always practical if you are running after kids. I find that most clients feel a skirt can be too much work. This is why I’m so excited about the new skirts in quick-drying, sweat-wicking fabrics. I’m loving the brand new Savannah and Cosmic skirts from Athleta. Why? Because they are the skirt versions of our favorite pants, of course!


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. If you love the amazing Rebecca Taylor Poplin Knot Tie Skort below in Navy as much as I do, here is a link to it on sale!

Exercise Dresses

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’ve just started to get into exercise dresses. I felt a little silly at first. But just like our clients, my choice was affirmed as soon as the compliments started rolling in!

Breezy Dresses

I like to wear breezy dresses as an alternative to shorts a little too much in the summer. As flexible as the design of my closet is, I haven’t yet figured out how to add more long hanging space without sacrificing other non-negotiable spaces. My dress section is completely out of control these days!

One of my new pieces is the Mille Holly Dress in Summer Garden. FYI, it is not as long as it is pictured below in the slider. I’m only 5’3″ and could never wear it out in public as a dress. The style is more like a tunic. I add a belt and wear it over light, wide leg, cropped pants.

Jumpsuits & Coveralls

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 saw this sophisticated olive jumpsuit at Eileen Fisher last week that sort of had my name on it. I’m still intrigued by overalls but haven’t bitten the bullet yet.

What are your favorite alternatives 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!

(4) Comments

  1. oh mannnn I want the Pistola romper!!!! But I haven’t worn my other romper enough yet to justify!!!

    1. Lani says:

      And to whom do you need to justify anything? Maybe a cute romper is your summer uniform now? The only thing standing between you and the romper of your dreams is deciding that you deserve it! But if you need me to tell you, I will. YOU HAVE THREE CHILDREN AND TWO JOBS. YOU DESERVE IT, SARAH. 🙂

  2. Lori C says:

    I love these. Shorts are unflattering on me, but I have some flowy dresses like the ones you picture above from Natural Life that I feel confident in. I also bought a couple of rompers this year from LOFT that are comfy and cute. A soft navy one and a dressier black and white floral type patterned one. I love the tie waist skort in navy you have above. And I am hesitant to do wide leg pants although they look great on other people. I think I just wear them with the wrong shoes…? Thanks for all these great ideas!

    1. I will have to check out A Natural Life! I’m sure you are just wearing the wrong shoes with wide leg pants. We always joke that if you don’t have the correct shoes on (see my big platforms above), you just look like you are standing in a hole!

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