First, I want to say thank you to everyone who left comments on the last post, Being a Stepmotherhere on the blog and on Facebook. I wish I had written on the subject long ago. It’s not only fascinating to hear your stories and thoughts on the subject, but kind of therapeutic, too, even after all these years of step-parenting.

Let’s switch gears and talk about something light and frivolous, like shorts!

Usually, I only wear shorts when I am hiking, cleaning the house on a hot day, helping Bill with yard work, or camping. I’ve been under the impression that shorts are for the under 35 crowd unless worn to the knee which is not a very flattering look on me.

But I’m into trying new things lately and challenging my own rules about style. I have explored white jeans, horizontal stripes, bright colors, pattern mixing and denim-on-denim. Since warmer weather is fast approaching, I decided to it’s time to give shorts a try, worn in a fashionable rather than practical way, and bought these Gap shorts.

They arrived yesterday when it was cold and raining. But that didn’t stop me from trying them on and creating an outfit.

With our our upcoming trip on my mind, I pulled together this look. I’m wearing a recently acquired burgundy wool Brooks Brother’s cardigan (consigned for about $30.00), a black tank, burgundy ballet flats, and my one and only Hermès scarf tied as a belt.

There are endless ways I can wear these versatile shorts while traveling by pairing different tops and accessories with them.

The inseam on the shorts which are “talls” is 6 inches. I think the length is fine, but I’d be interested, as always, to know your thoughts.

Do you wear shorts?
If so, do you have rules about length?
Do you think women of a certain age (over 40)
should even bother with shorts?



  1. March 15, 2012 / 6:02 am

    You look great in shorts, lucky you! I gave up on them at 35 and since then the spider veins around my knees and upper thighs have only gotten worse. I stick with knee-length skirts for summer or pale pants. Love the Hermes scarf as a belt! XO, Jill

  2. March 15, 2012 / 6:19 am

    You look fantastic in them. I love the way you dressed them up too. I think you can do a lot with the black shorts, and they’re the perfect length and fit on you.

    Also, wanted to mention how much how love the rhythm of your blog. Some posts are serious and dense, then the next light and fluffy. Always a surprise, and never boring.

    And – your hair looks so great in the ponytail too!

  3. March 15, 2012 / 6:39 am

    Hi Adrienne,

    I have given up shorts personally because I think it is unfair to inflict the sight of my pasty white flesh and chubby knees on the unsuspecting public. It’s a public service thing really.
    Having said that, I think you look great in your new shorts. My only criticism is that the scarf draws ones eye horizontally across your waist and breaks up the long lean line. I would replace the scarf with a slim colour co-ordinated belt. Other than that, the cardi and shoes look wonderful, a good grocery shopping / meeting friends for a coffe kind of look.

  4. March 15, 2012 / 6:50 am

    I’ve given up on them. My legs look great in hose (if I do say so myself), not so much in shorts due to spider veins.

    You look fabulous!

  5. March 15, 2012 / 7:40 am

    You look great and they will be perfect for your up-coming trip.

  6. March 15, 2012 / 8:27 am

    You wear shorts very well. I like the scarf as a belt too as it dresses up the look and adds colour.

    Personally I do not feel great in shorts but I do wear them on our boat in the summer.

    I missed your step parent post so I am off to read it now.

  7. March 15, 2012 / 8:45 am

    I think you look great in those shorts – in fact I like the whole outfit. You actually look very young!

  8. March 15, 2012 / 9:04 am

    North Carolina is a very casual state, as you know. There are many people..skinny, old, fat, young that wear shorts daily. I cannot imagine life without shorts. I think here in our State, it has never occurred to anyone that we cannot wear shorts.

    With that said, I did run into some issues with my thinking shorts were too short, and had trouble finding shorts that I liked. I did buy some JCrew shorts at the end of the season that I felt comfortable wearing to school to volunteer…it’s still so hot here in September that you melt in jeans.

    Your outfit looks nice.

  9. Anonymous
    March 15, 2012 / 9:26 am

    You look great! Love the shorts on you, and in CA, I suspect that shorts are absolutely a cultural norm.

    Where I live–not so much. I’m in upstate NY, where summer starts in mid-June and is over before Labor Day. I’m 43; my legs are fine, but very pale! I’ve steadily weeded the shorts out of my wardrobe; I’m down to just two nylon pairs for water sports and camping and two denim pairs for yard work (could afford to ditch one of those!).

    I don’t even go to the store in shorts anymore, if I can help it, and with such a short season, it’s not too difficult to avoid. I wear cropped skinny jeans in the summer, but mostly skirts and dresses (2″ above my knee at shortest).


  10. March 15, 2012 / 10:43 am

    Those shorts look great on you! I only wear bermuda shorts because of my legs and I generally don’t feel comfortable in them so I opt for skirts and dresses in the summer.

  11. March 15, 2012 / 11:27 am

    My least favorite body part of mine has to be my legs. Even when I am at my lowest weight, I hate my legs. With that said, I have to wear shorts in Las Vegas. It’s just too hot not to. I like long shorts but they have to be the right cut. I love your shorts. They look great. I would like to know what other women over 40 do about their white skin in the summer. I do indulge in spray tans. I know visions of Snooki come to mind, but my legs are neon white and the sun is so damaging.

  12. March 15, 2012 / 1:18 pm

    I think shorts are fine over 40 if you have good legs (which you do) and they aren’t too short. I wore them until I started getting more spider veins about 5 ago. (looks like I’m not the only one with that problem) I won’t wear skirts anymore either unless I’m wearing tights. I wanted to get sclerotherapy but after reading the possible risks I chickened out.

    So for now, shorts are confined to around the house.


  13. March 15, 2012 / 1:21 pm

    Despite living in Med, I now never wear shorts unless at the beach. Why? Spanish (and I think Italian) women never wear shorts on the street, and now I just feel too conspicuous if I do. I scream out “foreigner if I do, so shorts (for me) are now only for the beach 🙁

  14. March 15, 2012 / 2:18 pm

    @jill815 I probably haven’t worn them fashionably in at least 7 years, maybe more. I don’t have spider veins but I do bruise like an old banana so I always have a handful of black and purple marks on my legs.

    I don’t wear skirts very often. Not sure why. I guess I haven’t found any I really like for summer.

    I love the H scarf as a belt, too. It’s definitely coming with me on our trip.

  15. Anonymous
    March 15, 2012 / 2:18 pm

    Your outfit looks great, and the shorts look really good on you. ANY rule dictating what someone supposedly can and cannot wear by age is beyond ridiculous. Who makes up that stuff and how does it spread around?? People should wear what they want and what makes the comfortable and happy. I can’t imagine a woman of any age ruling out shorts, especially when she lives in a warm climate.

    The sweater is very flattering and a good color on you.

  16. March 15, 2012 / 2:39 pm

    @kathy peck Thank you, Kathy! I think I can do a lot with these, too. You are going to laugh…I had them on when Bill got home from work. I asked him if he liked them and he reached down and rolled one leg all the way then said, “I like them now!”. I can never ask him if something is too short -seems it’s never short enough!

    I really appreciate your comment about my blog. I sometimes think the old RIch Life is growing stale. Comments like yours give me the motivation to keep on blogging. I really do love it…just don’t want to become boring and one dimensional.

    You are the one who encouraged the messy pony…and I like it, a lot! It’s really easy, too. xoxo

  17. March 15, 2012 / 2:48 pm

    @Gracie’s Mom You are so funny with the public service comment. I am sure it’s not that white 🙂

    I will try it with a fun, brightly colored belt – once I get one. I have a leopard belt that would look cute. But I am thinking bright yellow or green with a different cardigan and shoes. There are a lot of options with black shorts!

  18. March 15, 2012 / 2:53 pm

    @Jane W. Thanks, Jane! I like my legs better in hose and tights, too. But when it’s warm out, I am glad to have a cute pair of shorts to wear.

  19. March 15, 2012 / 2:55 pm

    @La Vie Quotidienne I think they are great for sightseeing on a warm spring day. Now I just need to get a little color on my legs and stop banging into things all the time – I have lots of bruises!

  20. March 15, 2012 / 3:22 pm

    I’m impressed. I not a fan of shorts usually, but those are really flattering.

  21. March 15, 2012 / 4:23 pm

    I LOVE this outfit on you, you can definitely rock shorts with your fabulously long legs, and these are the perfect length. Completely appropriate and flattering. I also tend to wear shorts that are a bit longer when I do, I really like the dressy Express shorts that are a 4 and a 1/2 inch inseam.

  22. March 15, 2012 / 6:42 pm

    @Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) Believe it or not, we are very casual around here too. I have been to weddings i churches where men show up in jeans and baseball caps, no joke.
    Lots of people wear shorts, I just wasn’t one of them. I thought I was too old, but I have grown weary of all the shoulds and want to wear what makes me feel good.

    I won’t wear them too often, but it’s nice to have a cute pair on hot days. I love J Crew. Maybe I’ll see what colors they are offering this season.

    With your heat and humidity, it only makes sense to have somewhat bare legs. I remember that sweaty feeling well!

  23. March 15, 2012 / 6:46 pm

    @Anonymous Hi Velma! Welcome.

    Yes, shorts are everywhere around here in the summer. And we have warm weather from April to October around here. Sounds like you don’t get much warm weather where you live. I wish I could find some cute summer skirts to wear but I am not sure what style would look best on me. For a dressy and professional look, pencil is best. But what do I look for in a summer skirt? Pencil doesn’t sound right. I guess it’s time to try some skirts on. It would be great to find one for our trip.

  24. March 15, 2012 / 7:00 pm

    @what’s her bucket I think you have nice legs…lord knows we both used to show ours off in high school with those really short school uniforms. How did they let us get away with that?

    I would like to also know what others do about their pale legs. I used to use do spray tan booths and use self-tanner all the time but I got tired of going to have it done and putting it on at home.I can’t tolerate the scent anymore.

    I have a naturally light tan complexion so I don’t really get that light. The main reason I like a little color on my legs is because of my bruising. I have always been a terribly easy to bruise person but now that I take aspirin everyday, it’s even worse.

    I think these shorts would look really good on you. I will bring to them to Vegas when I see you this summer and you can try them on.
    xoxo, A

  25. March 15, 2012 / 7:06 pm

    @LRS4AMANDA I have a girlfriend who had that procedure done a few times and she said it’s not that bad. But I am like you…if it’s not something you really, really want, it’s not worth the pain. And the money!

    With your tall, slim build, I bet you look great in a pair of shorts and skirts. You have such a great figure.

    xo, A

  26. March 15, 2012 / 7:09 pm

    @[email protected] Uh oh. I didn’t guess that Italians don’t wear shorts. I will have to ask my friend in Milan about that. Even if they aren’t common, I will bring them. They are small and will pack well. Thanks for the heads up!

  27. March 15, 2012 / 7:15 pm

    @Anonymous I agree! I love your comment….rules, schmules.

    I have a dress I have worn on the blog before – recently – and have had a few people tell me it’s way too short. I think it looks great on me, if I do say so myself, and think the length is fine. I know when I see a dress or a pair of shorts that are too short.

    Thank you for your comment!

  28. March 15, 2012 / 7:26 pm

    @Amy I would like to see you in shorts once the weather improves, of course. I bet I could get some great ideas from you on how to wear mine.

  29. March 15, 2012 / 7:30 pm

    Your ensemble is fabulous! Pairing the black with burgundy is pretty. 🙂 I also do wear a pair of shorts, how can those legs be flaunted if you won’t wear a pair? 😀 I think wearing a pair of shorts is very comfortable especially during spring time. 😀

  30. March 15, 2012 / 8:15 pm

    Oh no shorts are not for me. I have a hideous varicose vein running down the back of my knee and then my shin on the left leg. Not at all painful though. Probably inherited my mums faulty valve! And it only appeared and worsened in pregnancies . It looks a bit like a grub under the skin, so it is always at least mid calf for me. Yours look great!

  31. March 15, 2012 / 8:32 pm

    @Jodie (aka mummaducka) It sounds like it would be painful, but I will take your word for it that it’s not. I would think those things run in families. I know that my mom bruises as easily as I do – definitely inherited.

  32. March 15, 2012 / 9:10 pm

    I DO wear shorts, some with even shorter in-seams than 6″. I think the key is that the legs are bigger around that the thigh, so that they are not too body conscious. These look very nice.

  33. March 15, 2012 / 9:20 pm

    You look fantastic in the shorts! And I love the outfit you put together, the burgandy and black looks great, and I think it’s wearing shorts in a nice mature way 🙂

  34. March 16, 2012 / 2:51 am

    I can’t imagine life without shorts. If you feel like your legs are too white then put some self-tanner on!

    I have come to think that long shorts are not always the most flattering. If the material ends right at your knees then the eye is drawn to the knee, which is an odd wrinkly area, even on young people.

    I’ve weeded out my long shorts and try to go for a mid-thigh length. Terri’s fitting idea, that the leg should not hug the thigh helps to create a line that will work, even with people who think their thighs are too big.

    IMO you are too old to wear shorts when you can’t get out of bed to put them on anymore.

  35. March 16, 2012 / 4:05 am

    Hi Adrienne!
    I love your outfit, the Hermes is a brilliant idea and I love how burgundy looks on you, so go for it!
    You know it’s funny the thing about shorts here in Italy, adults just don’t wear them, it ìs a garment that prople think can be worn only until the early twenties, especially women seem to hate shorts, I don’t know, the general idea is that shoerts make you look like a neglected housewife running errands…but I don’t care, Italians are too obsessed with having perfect looks, I prefer the more laid back attitude of Americans, so go with the shorts, especially your black ones are really lovely, I love them with a boat neck, long sleeved shirt and an hermes scarf around the neck..
    How’s the planning of your long trip going? Have you decided whether to stay at Lake Maggiore or not?
    Barbara (the Italian with a son named like you)

  36. March 16, 2012 / 4:37 am

    Following on Barbara from Italy’s comment: I am only comfortable wearing shorts in Europe (at any time in my life) if I’m hiking or about to head out of town for a rustic picnic. Here in the US, I wear them to garden (and hike) and occasionally wear them to our village market. Airports have sort of ruined shorts for me…But you do great in shorts. If anyone can wear them, you can!

  37. March 16, 2012 / 6:55 am

    I think the outfit looks wonderful! I don’t believe in no shorts for the 40 and over crowd (probably because I’m 40 myself!); however I do think one has to take into account their size, type of body, and whether or not the clothing in questions looks good on THEM.

  38. March 16, 2012 / 8:14 am

    Great outfit!

    I don’t really have an answer to your question, but I think it can be done.

  39. March 16, 2012 / 8:19 am

    @Terri You are totally right about the leg being wider for a flattering look.
    don’t know if I would go shorter than 6″ on me…but it would really make my husband happy if I did.

  40. March 16, 2012 / 8:22 am

    @Sara Louise Thanks Sara…I adore the color burgundy and it looks good with my coloring. I wonder what season that makes me?

    I know all the bright colors are really in for spring and summer, but I don’t care. Burgundy is always lovely.

  41. March 16, 2012 / 8:27 am

    @RoseAG Love that: “you are too old to wear shorts when you can’t get out of bed to put them on anymore”. I will have to remember that!

    I can’t stand the smell of self-tanners so I don’t use them anymore. If I could find a brand that didn’t have *that* smell, whatever it is, I would use it all the time. A little vitamin D is good for us, so I plan on getting some sun on my body when the weather turns warm…face excluded.

    Thanks for the comment and the visit, Rose!

  42. March 16, 2012 / 8:32 am

    @lovesjetlag Hi Barbara! The trip planning is in full-swing. I am trying to figure out where to spend a few free days on our way from Switzerland to Milan. We are thinking about staying in Locarno. Would you recommend spending a day or two there?

    I am going to bring the shorts with me – probably this exact outfit – and see about wearing them on our trip. My friend in Milan thinks they will be fine the way I wore them in this post.

    I do hope you come back – I looked for a contact for you but didn’t find one. I would love to hear where you think we should stay on Lake Maggiore.

    Thank you, Barbara!

  43. March 16, 2012 / 8:37 am

    @Swissy Thanks, Swissy. I am a little wary of wearing them on my trip but I am going to bring them anyway. I can at least wear them around the house that we rented…it may be really warm and I want to have some cool outfits to wear.

  44. March 16, 2012 / 8:47 am

    Hello Adrienne!
    here: [email protected]
    later this evening I’ll e-mail you about Lago Maggiore and possible itineraries, don’t worry It’s going to be really easy cause lake Maggiore is a kind of unstressful little Switzerland in northern Italy, everything works fine over there!!!

  45. March 16, 2012 / 11:13 am

    You my dear need to wear shorts and wear them often!! You look fantastic! By the time you are my age (53), shorts might be questionable, but now, believe me YOU should have a whole wardrobe of shorts…show off those beautiful legs you have worked for!

    Have a great weekend!

  46. March 16, 2012 / 1:12 pm

    You still look age appropriate in shorts, and your legs are obviously fine, so that’s not an issue. The big issue is what to wear with them. I think a nice wedged espadrille or other wedged sandal will give your already-great legs an extra boost by elongating them. Additionally, think of shorts as short pants; what would you wear with pants? Cute cardi and t-shirt, sleeveless collared blouse, belted peasant top, etc. These all work for tailored shorts, which is what over-40s should consider when dressing for warmer weather.

  47. Anonymous
    March 16, 2012 / 4:41 pm

    Adrienne, I like A-line skirts in a pretty color or print for summer–or something a little straighter but with a flippy hem. Fabrics can be anything: linen, cotton, silk, drifty chiffon. I have a couple of nice wrap skirts (reversible) made from recycled silk saris from India–love those!

    I also wear denim pencil skirts and one that is gored at the bottom. Not too exciting, those, but useful.

    Good luck with your skirt shopping! I think you like to shop at thrift stores, right? Start there. Easily half of my skirts are thrifted–pretty ones are easy to find.

  48. Anonymous
    March 16, 2012 / 4:42 pm

    Oops, sorry. That was from Velma just above!

  49. March 17, 2012 / 1:37 am

    Yes, check about Italy Adrienne for going into restaurants etc . If you are staying outside the big cities I think it’s fine. If you are staying in one of the cities such as Rome, Milan etc yes, you will see lots of shorts walking around, but they will be tourists. Nothing wrong with being a tourist though 😉

  50. March 17, 2012 / 6:40 am

    With 57 comments ahead of mine, I’m sure to parrot most of them, but I LOVE THE OUTFIT!!! I’m sure Bill appreciates being able to see your beautiful, long legs, too! 😉

    I think that there should never be an “age limit” blanket applied to anything – follow your own sense of what looks and feels good. These look (better than) good, so, there you go!

    In regards to your stepparent post, I was pleased to read your account because I’d never thought of it from that point of view. My own tumultuous stepchildhood still occasionally causes challenges even though my stepmom and I get along just fine as adults. Honestly, I mostly just have to think of our younger years as two different, immature people than the two grown women who share an artistic/creative passion that we are now. I thank you for the gift of perspective!!

  51. March 17, 2012 / 12:40 pm

    Adrienne, Loved the shorts on you. I think they are the perfect length. I also liked how you accessorized the outfit!

    I never wore shorts in Europe either. No one does in the cities at least. Maybe by the pool?

    Have a good weekend!


  52. Anonymous
    March 17, 2012 / 2:53 pm

    Yup the shorts look great (so jealous of your legs, and I’m about 10 years younger!) but do investigate skirts and casual summer dresses too. There are so many lovely options out there.

    Tip- if it’s reeeeeally hot, you can wear some control top/bike short/Spanx type things under a dress/skirt to prevent chafing. Buy them in a bigger size than you’re normally wear for comfort.


  53. March 18, 2012 / 7:19 am

    I wish I had worn dressy shorts more when I was younger! You look lovely and they are a perfect length.

    By the way, I wore my trench coat this week with a lovely scarf tied in back instead of the belt! Felt so chic.

  54. March 18, 2012 / 7:24 am

    Hi Adrienne!

    I’ve sent you an e-mail about lago Maggiore…

    That’s really amazing that everyone who has visited the major Italian cities seems to have unconsciously realized that shorts are considered a bit of a fashion faux pas over here…I don’t subscribe to this point of view anyway, I don’t understand for instance why shorts are sneered at and instead the low cut trousers with visible lace thong is considered tres chic when worn by a 40 something..misteries of the Italian mind…

  55. March 19, 2012 / 1:07 am

    I love shorts! I have no rule of length, but only if you have decent pins. If they’re no good, they should never been shown off under any circumstances. But if you’re, say, 70, and have a good set, go for it!

    TDM xx

  56. March 19, 2012 / 7:03 am

    What a cute look you’ve created with your Hermes scarf and cardigan. Shorts never looked this good before. I’m headed to my closet right now and give a scarf a try in place of a belt.

  57. March 20, 2012 / 4:06 pm

    Love your entire outfit…right down to the shoes. You look great in shorts. If I had your legs, I think I would wear them every day of the year!

  58. April 16, 2013 / 12:02 pm

    When I hit my late 30s, I had a crisis of confidence, and refused to wear anything shorter than knee length.

    Then I turned 40 and realized my legs will never look as good as they do now, so the hell with it, I’m wearing whatever length shorts I want to! 🙂

    Now I have them in all rises, from Bermuda, to 4″.

    You look great and I love the color combo!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *