The blousy short — summer time corollary to the blousy trou — is SO 90s. It was what my mom lived in during the Georgia summers. Bonus points for a blousy tee tucked in at the high waist. So those TOAST shorts from earlier this week got me going down a rabbit hole of blousy shorts — an item I never saw myself wearing non-ironically... until now.
Now I'm wondering, do I actually need a blousy short in my life?
My shorts wardrobe consists of two pairs of LOFT twill shorts with 4" inseams, one pair of LOFT linen shorts with what feels like a 2" inseam... a pair of bike shorts I wear under skirts... Yeah that's kind of it. And I really only wear any of the actual shorts under dire circumstances. They were purchased at a point in my life where I said, hmmm I don't actually own any shorts, maybe I need shorts? For like, hot days?
Working in an office year-round, shorts aren't a thing I typically wear during the week. And on weekends, shorts just feel so damn short. So much bare leg. Given the choice, I will almost always choose a linen dress or skirt before I reach for the shorts, at least when I'm dressing to go be out in the world.
The shorts in my wardrobe just feel style-less. I can't really tuck in a top (they are a low/mid rise). It's a difficult proportion to wear because a boxier long top swallows up the shorts, and a fitted top feels overly minimal. Plus god forbid you have to sit down somewhere and even worse it's hard plastic and then when you stand up you get icky peeling-your-sweaty-thighs-off-the-seat feeling. I like a little more barrier between my thighs and the world. It's why I like the bike shorts under skirts — inevitably the skirt rides up in some way that makes thigh-seat contact more likely.
So I am coming around to the idea of a longer inseam short. I did wear a skinny mid-thigh jean short for a while a few years ago. It had a very retro look. But it can be a weird proportion too — I never was a huge fan of how they looked with tops. A blousy, longer inseam short might just be the perfect combo — the air circulation of a short, minus the thigh-touching problem, with a dash of volume to balance out a fitted tank or tee.
I'd been looking at the Elizabeth Suzann florence short or clyde short for a bit, thinking maybe either would be a classy and easy summer option. The elastic waistband is a nice touch. The florences in silk especially I find really attractive — the idea of flouncing around with a floaty short that looks and feels like wearing air. I can even see them dressing up for a more formal summer occasion. But both have more of a "foundation" element to them rather than a "statement" kind of vibe. And I love a good statement pant.
Then of course, there's the TOAST short that I spied in the catalog. I love the structure on these. Cutting pleats (and they are inverted, almost all pleats you see opening outward while these open towards the center), belt loops... but the one thing these and the ES shorts have in common? $$$.
So, like I do when I am faced with a barrier, I look for a way around. If this is a rabbit hole I've gone down, then I will play the part of rabbit and find a hole in the fence, or dig my own, like any self-respecting rabbit would do.
This leads me to looking at vintage options. Because after all, the blousy short is very vintage inspired. The proportions we laugh at 10 years on start looking good again after 20.
Etsy is a great place to hunt for vintage pieces. They aren't as cheap as you might find at a thrift shop, but someone's already done the hunting work for you. There's always the chance that fit could be iffy, but this is where the power of measuring garments you already own and knowing your body come into play.
Here are a few blousy short options that caught my eye on Etsy. The prices on these are all attainable, so it's a much lower risk than adding a pricey, new pair and having them not work out. Plus they already exist! The greenest option.
Cotton Khaki Shorts $39
A neutral option that would go well with black shirts as well as... well probably anything. I love the double pleats and drape on these as well as the mega-high waist. They have a bit of a utilitarian, safari vibe. Not sure about the flap pocket on the left though. Overall I like these a lot!
Black Linen Shorts $43
The linen gives me a little pause because, while they look super crisp here, it wouldn't take much time before they got all crinkly around the groin. They do look breezy though, and black ALSO goes with everything. These have just a minimal single pleat and look a little longer than the khaki pair. Very elegant.
Black Rayon Shorts $41
These seem more wearable than the other black pair. Reminiscent of the ES florence shorts, very floaty. Minimal double pleats here and a nice wide, blousy leg. Far less utilitarian than either of the above pairs. More classy. Would they wrinkle though?
Green Cotton Shorts $26
Kind of the wildcard here. I don't really wear green. Is this a neutral enough color I could get away with though? Maybe I could dye these... but seems like a lot of work. They look sturdy though, and I like the detail of double pleat / double belt loop. I can see wearing these out at the park with my nephew.
I think my top contender here is the khaki pair. What do you think? What would you choose? Are they all hideous and need to stay buried in the 90s, out of my closet? Or could this be the beginning of a new relationship with shorts?