A rise in temps inevitably leads to hiked hems and sheerer fabrics—basically, a general upswing in skin exposure. But unlike skirts and tanks, shorts continue to be one of the trickier summer staples that toe the line of questionable decency and acceptable age-appropriate daywear.
Not all hope is lost, though. The right blend of color, fabric, and cut can turn shorts from a scary thought into a completely wearable option. For proof, we found stars in their 20s, 30s, and 40s+ who have all been spotted rocking shorts to a T. We grouped them by decade and then shopped out lookalike shorts, from Taylor Swift’s cuffed denim shorts to Keri Russell’s tailored shorts suit.
If you’re in your 20s, there’s more room for experimentation. Be bold and stand out with a vibrant color or textured accents. Once you’ve hit the big 3-0, scale back on embellishments and itty-bitty hemlines. Look to structured silhouettes to elevate your look. In your 40s+? Reach for longer lengths and tailored detailing for a chic, polished spin.