Fashion

24 Best Shorts for Women Who Think They Can’t Wear Shorts

We've got a pair for every figure, style, and budget.

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God bless women who continue to wear shorts with supreme confidence well into their sixth decade and beyond. You look great! As for the rest of us (because it can’t be only me), the thought of sporting a pair of shorts starts to lose its appeal after a certain age. Sometimes, though, you really need to pull on something easy, cool, versatile and casual. In other words, you need a pair of the best shorts for women over 50!

Whether you’re riding a bike, relaxing at a picnic, enjoying a vacation, or roughhousing with grandchildren, shorts offer a level of comfort and practicality that even the most comfortable sundresses can’t touch. Do you have questions about how to choose the best shorts for women over 50? We’ve got answers! Keep reading to find out how you can wear shorts with confidence at any age.

What are the best shorts for women over 50?

  1. Best classic chino shorts : J. Crew Stretch Chino Shorts
  2. Best belted shorts for women over 50 : Caslon Belted Cuffed Chambray Shorts
  3. Best elastic waistband shorts for women over 50 : Everlane The Easy Short
  4. Best plus size shorts for women over 50 : Universal Standard Lorelai Lounge Shorts
  5. Best dressy shorts for women over 50 : M.M. LaFleur Fletcher Shorts
  6. Best Bermuda shorts for women over 50 : Anthropologie Pilcro Denim Bermuda Shorts
  7. Best jogger shorts for women over 50 : NYDJ Drawstring Jogger Shorts
  8. Best canvas shorts for women over 50 : L.L. Bean Women’s Original Sunwashed Shorts
  9. Best affordable shorts for women over 50 : Hanes Cotton Shorts
  10. Best pull-on shorts for women over 50 : Juniper Linen Easy Pull-On Shorts

How do you wear shorts over 50?

When you’re rocking a pair of shorts, the best accessory is always a sense of confidence — and choosing shorts that flatter your figure is key to achieving that! Not all shorts are created equal, and to find a pair that looks (and feels!) great on you, consider how you’re built.

Do you have legs for miles, or are you long-waisted, with shorter legs? Curvy, or a little bit challenged in the booty department? A pear-shaped figure looks great in paperbag shorts, with a cinched waist and flowing legs — like this bright pair from Boden (on sale now!).

Lounge shorts, like this comfy pair from Universal Standard, have an elastic waist that’s very forgiving when you want to have just one more burger at that backyard barbecue, and shorts with a high-rise waist, like this Gap pair, will keep the dreaded “muffin top” from spilling over.

What length shorts should a 50-year-old woman wear?

We’re firm believers that women should wear whatever they want to wear, no matter their age. However, after age 50, many of us prefer to show a little less skin than we may have when we were in our teens and 20s.

Many brands sell the same shorts in multiple inseam sizes, so you can choose the length you prefer. J. Crew is a great place to find the best shorts for women over 50, since they carry their classic, best-selling chino shorts in 5-inch, 7-inch, and 10-inch lengths.

If you’ve been taking lots of walks and have the toned legs to show it, you may gravitate toward shorter shorts, like this pair from Roots, with a 5.5-inch inseam — but after age 50, you probably don’t want to go too much shorter than that. Those who are blessed with long legs can get away with a longer inseam, like the one on these Eileen Fisher trouser shorts, without worrying that the shorts will hit too low on the leg and look frumpy.

Bermuda shorts, which have a longer inseam (typically about 11 inches), are a modest choice that’s still very fashionable. We like these denim Bermuda shorts from Anthropologie, these affordable Lee cargo shorts, and this pair from J. Crew that has a little stretch in the fabric.

Below, we’ve rounded up 21 pairs of the best shorts for women over 50, at price points from under $10 (really!) to over $100 (worth it!). Our picks range from Whether you want to dress up or dress down, spend a little or a lot, downplay your derriere or show off your curves, one — or hopefully more than one — of these pairs of shorts is sure to work for you. Keep scrolling to shop our picks for the best shorts for women over 50.

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What are the best shorts for women over 50 in 2021?

J. Crew Stretch Chino Shorts

Best classic chino shorts
J. Crew chino shorts
J. Crew

Buy from J. Crew, $49.50

Why we like them:

  • Available in 10 great colors
  • Added stretch for ease of movement
  • Comes in sizes from 00 to 24

When in doubt, go with a classic. These tailored chino shorts come in a variety of versatile colors, including pink, navy, olive, white, and the cheerful citrus shade pictured here. A hint of stretch in the soft cotton fabric makes them perfect for active summer days, and a slightly higher rise than previous versions means you won’t be tugging at them or fussing with the fit (no muffin tops here). Pockets lend practicality, and the fact that they’re machine-washable make these shorts a perfect choice for everyday wear. J. Crew shorts are manufactured in a Fair Trade Certified facility, and J. Crew also supports the Better Cotton Initiative, which advocates for more sustainable, responsibly grown cotton, so you can feel great about purchasing these!

Happy customer: “I have seven pairs! I wear shorts daily in the summer; these are a good length … for my, ahem, age. The new shorts fit much like last year’s, except the waist sits a bit higher and the legs are less tapered, although they have still a neat, slim fit. The front pockets still hold a cell phone securely. The back pockets are useless, as in all previous shorts, but the fabric was improved, so it doesn’t crinkle up into a mess after washing anymore. I got the green and they go with everything.”

Caslon Belted Cuffed Chambray Shorts

Best belted shorts for women over 50
chambray shorts
Nordstrom

Buy from Nordstrom, $49

Why we like them:

  • Removable tie belt
  • Front and back pockets
  • Washer and dryer-friendly

There’s something we find so sweet about these chambray shorts, most notably the stylish, feminine tie-belt. Chambray is a great alternative to denim in the summer, as it tends to be less structured and more lightweight, and this breathable cotton-blend version fits the bill. The folded and slightly flared hem gives these shorts a vintage feel, though unlike many actual vintage pieces, you can toss these shorts right into the washer and dryer.

No reviews yet — you could be the first!

Everlane The Easy Short

Best elastic waistband shorts for women over 50
elastic waist shorts
Everlane

Buy from Everlane, $45

Why we like them:

  • Available in 6 colors and prints
  • Pull-on elastic waistband
  • Washer and dryer-friendly

Real talk: is there anything more appealing than a cute set of shorts that don’t have to be buttoned or zipped up? We think not! That’s why we’re in love with this oh-so-cozy pair from Everlane. They come in six colors and patterns, and the high-rise elastic waistband is both flattering and super comfy. Made from lightweight cotton twill fabric, you’ll want to live in these all summer long — so go ahead and buy a few colors!

Happy customer: “These babies are extremely comfortable. They are super lightweight and perfect for super hot days when you wish you didn’t have to wear clothes. The looser fit gives a lot of air flow so they are easy to move in … Great buy for lounging or throwing on over a bathing suit. You can run around in these without overheating or feeling exposed.”

Universal Standard Lorelai Lounge Shorts

Best plus size shorts for women over 50
plus size blue lounge shorts
Universal Standard

Buy from Universal Standard, $55

Why we like them:

  • Come in 4 colors
  • Made from premium Pima cotton
  • Roomy scoop pockets

Available in sizes up to 40, these flowy lounge shorts are so comfortable you’ll want to sleep in them. They come in four colors, including black, gray, blue, and pink, and are made with an impossibly soft Pima cotton material that will move with your body rather than clinging to it. They get extra credit for having roomy pockets and an elastic waistband, and you can complete this leisurely look with a matching top for $55.

Happy customer: “As a plus-size gal, I hate shorts, but I LOVE these shorts! So comfy and soft and the length is perfect! I’ll take one in every color please!”

M.M. LaFleur Fletcher Shorts

Best dressy shorts for women over 50
red dressy shorts
M.M. LaFleur

Buy from M.M. LaFleur, $165

Why we like them:

  • Complimentary hem tailoring
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Wrinkle-resistant

If you’re in need of dressier garments that you can bring on vacation and business trips, look no further than the Fletcher short from M.M. LaFleur. High-waisted with a slight flare at the bottom, these flattering shorts are made with a wrinkle-resistant fabric that will travel well in your suitcase. They come in red and a neutral “safari” shade, with front pleating that keeps them looking crisp and refined. And did we mention the retailer provides complimentary hemming so you can have them tailored to your perfect length?

Happy customer: “I find that this style is very flattering. Bravo to something that looks good on an older gal.”

Anthropologie Pilcro Denim Bermuda Shorts

Best Bermuda shorts for women over 50
denim bermuda shorts
Anthropologie

Buy from Anthropologie, $98

Why we like them:

  • Made from 100 percent cotton
  • Available in standard, plus, and petite sizes
  • Subtle distressing

These denim Bermuda shorts are lightly distressed for a look that’s current without feeling too trendy. Made from 100 percent cotton, they’re soft and look great paired with everything from loose-fitting peasant tops to fitted tees. The raw-edge hem gives these shorts a lived-in feel, which is appropriate, since they’ll likely become your go-to pair.

Happy customer: “These shorts are a good length; trendy, but not so short that I feel like a teenager wearing them. The fabric is a sturdy weight, but not overly heavy. A nice short for everyday or can dress up with a nice top. They’re high-waisted, so order your waist size, not what you’d wear in a low-waisted jean.”

NYDJ Drawstring Jogger Shorts

Best jogger shorts for women over 50
pink jogger shorts from NYDJ
NYDJ

Buy from NYDJ, $59

Why we like them:

  • Made from soft French terry
  • Available in 3 colors
  • Drawstring waist

Casual can still be cute, which is why we love these pretty pastel joggers from NYDJ. They come in lilac and minty green, as well as gray for a neutral look, and because they’re made of soft French terry, they’re so comfy you’ll want to live in them all summer long. Perfect for easy styling, the drawstring waist can be loosened or tightened depending on your comfort level, and the front pockets are a much-appreciated bonus.

No reviews yet — you could be the first!

L.L. Bean Women’s Original Sunwashed Shorts

Best canvas shorts for women over 50
canvas shorts
L.L. Bean

Buy from L.L. Bean, $39.95

Why we like them:

  • Made of 100 percent cotton canvas
  • Available in 5 colors
  • Washer and dryer-friendly

These beloved canvas shorts are a longtime favorite, with some reviewers saying they’ve worn them for decades! They have a coveted elastic waistband, and a relaxed fit that eliminates any feelings of constriction, making these some of the most comfortable shorts you’re sure to find. The lightweight, 100 percent cotton canvas material is pre-washed for extra softness, and can be thrown in the washer and dryer for easy cleaning.

Happy customer: “I have been wearing these shorts for over 20 years. They are comfortable, wash easily, and wear so well. I only bought new ones because I lost weight and the Large size is too big on me. Please don’t change a thing!”

Hanes Cotton Shorts

Best affordable shorts for women over 50
walmart shorts hanes gray cotton
Walmart

Buy from Walmart, starting at $6.96

Why we like them:

  • Drawstring waist
  • Roomy pockets
  • Available in 4 colors

When we say “affordable,” we mean affordable. At under $10, these cotton shorts, which feature pockets and a drawstring waist, are some of the best-reviewed shorts Walmart offers. With a seven-inch inseam, they won’t show too much skin, but will still fall well above the knee to keep you cool on those muggy dog days of summer. “Perfect fit, perfect length, love them!” writes one buyer. “I plan to buy another five or six [pairs] because they’re so comfortable, and here in Texas it’s shorts weather year-round!” Snap up a pair in each of the four muted, go-with-anything colors available, and you’ll have something easy to pull on every morning.

Happy customer: “These are very nice shorts. I am 5’2″ and they are a good length. I like the wide waistband, and the fact that they are more of a mid-rise makes for a more comfortable and flattering fit. If you are between sizes, I would suggest going with the larger size because while the waist is roomy, the legs are not, so the drawstring is helpful if you go with the larger size. The fabric is light but not thin, and the pockets, while a little shallow, still are plenty roomy … for the price, these are quite a good buy.”

Juniper Linen Easy Pull-On Shorts

Best pull-on shorts for women over 50
black shorts
Universal Standard

Buy from Universal Standard, $74

Why we like them:

  • Come in 4 colors
  • Available in sizes 00 to 40
  • Made of “hidden stretch” linen

A pair of pull-on shorts that don’t remind us of middle school gym class? Sign us up! These linen shorts from Universal Standard are chic, breathable, and perfect for hitting the beach or running errands around town. The material, which comes in black, white, yellow, and blue, has a “hidden stretch” quality, which makes this elastic waistband pair even more comfy. Best of all, these shorts have not only front, but back pockets, too!

Happy customer: “… I love that the waist is elastic. I straddle between the XL and 2XL — got these in the XL and they fit nicely.”

Boden Berwick Shorts

Best paperbag waist shorts for women over 50
pink boden paperbag waist shorts
Boden

Buy from Boden, $42.50 (originally $85)

Why we like them:

  • On sale now!
  • Available in a 6-inch or 9-inch inseam
  • Soft and lightweight

If you struggle to find a pair of pants or shorts that can comfortably accommodate your rear without gaping at the waist, you’ll love these stylish Boden shorts, which are on clearance right now. (So act fast!) They feature a self-tie belt that hugs your waist, and soft tencel-blend fabric that drapes over your bottom half. Crisp pleats add visual interest in the front, and faux back pockets won’t add any bulk.

Happy customer: “I love these! I’m not normally a shorts person, but these have made me think again. Feminine and flattering, the right length to dress up or down, and perfect color and quality. Well done Boden!”

Amazon Essentials Bermuda Shorts

Best affordable denim shorts for women over 50
denim bermuda shorts
Amazon

Buy from Amazon, $19.90

Why we like them:

  • Available in four different denim washes
  • Under $20
  • Great customer reviews

The best shorts for women over 50 don’t have to be formal, and this pair of denim Bermuda-length shorts is begging to be worn at a casual backyard barbecue or a hike with friends. More than 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon show that great shorts don’t have to be expensive, either! “I normally hate the way I look in shorts but I love how I look in these,” writes one happy customer. Soft stretchy cotton and a high-rise waist make these shorts comfortable for any type of figure, and at this price point, why not give them a try? They even come in four different colors, from vintage to dark wash.

Happy customer: “I live in a hot climate where jeans aren’t always the most comfortable option. I am a bit too old for Daisy Duke cutoffs and too young at heart for mom jean shorts. These fill the niche I was looking for. They give my legs the coverage I desire, are stylish, and fit true to size. The higher waist does not pinch or cinch. The legs feel somewhat roomy. The quality is excellent; they are the perfect addition to my summer wardrobe.”

GAP High-Rise Khaki Shorts

Best khaki shorts for women over 50
khaki shorts
Gap

Buy from Gap, $27 (originally $39.95)

Why we like them:

  • Available in 6 versatile shades
  • Added stretch for ease of movement
  • Made from organic cotton

With a 5-inch inseam and a high rise, these stretch twill cotton shorts are comfortable, cool, and modest. Cuffed hems and a single front pocket give them a classic look, and pockets in the back offer a place to slip your phone when you’re out and about. You can machine wash these shorts, and choose from white, olive green, or the tan color pictured here. Grab them while they’re on sale!

Happy customer: “These shorts are a great basic. Very soft and good length. Nice tan color that pairs with everything!”

J. Crew Stretch Chino Shorts in Yarn-Dyed Cotton

Best patterned shorts for women over 50
J. Crew checked shorts
J. Crew

Buy from J. Crew, $79.50

Why we like them:

  • Made with a hint of stretch
  • Come in 3 patterns
  • Clean, tailored fit

These preppy chinos are just begging to be worn to a summer picnic. Available in blue or pink striped patterns, as well as checked, they’re as festive as they are comfortable, thanks to a hint of stretch for easier movement. The tailored fit of these shorts makes them feel dressy without being too prim and proper, and they’re sure to elevate any outfit.

Happy customer: “Love this pair of shorts. The size is true to usual sizing. They are comfortable and will be a staple in my summer wardrobe.”

Lou & Grey Linen Pull-On Shorts

Best linen shorts for women over 50
linen pull-on shorts
Loft

Buy from Loft, $59.50

Why we like them:

  • Available in 3 lovely colors
  • Elastic waist
  • Relaxed fit

It’s hard not to feel summery in sorbet-colored clothing, and these linen shorts come in three gorgeous hues. An elastic waist, relaxed fit, and soft, lightweight fabric make these shorts as pleasant to wear as they are beautiful, and the flattering high-rise design is perfect for pairing with loose or fitted tops.

Happy customer: “These are super comfy shorts and the length is perfect – not too long and not too short. Bonus: they have an elastic waist!”

Karen Kane High Waist Pleated Linen Shorts

Best pleated shorts for women over 50
black linen shorts
Bloomingdale’s

Buy from Bloomingdale’s, $118

Why we like them:

  • Come in 2 neutral colors
  • Chic front pleats
  • Flattering high waist

These breezy shorts will make you forget any preconceived ideas about pleats being stuffy, thanks to their relaxed fit and breathable linen fabric. The front pleats add just the right amount of sophistication, while keeping these shorts casual enough to pair with a basic fitted t-shirt or tank top. A partial elastic waistband at the back also makes this chic pair feel comfortable, so you can spend your summer at ease and in style.

No reviews yet — you could be the first!

Lee Women’s Flex-To-Go Relaxed Fit Cargo Shorts

Best cargo shorts for women over 50
cargo shorts
Lee Jeans

Buy from Lee, $44

Why we like them:

  • Come in 11 colors
  • Front, back, and cargo pockets
  • “Flex-to-Go” waistband

That’s right, cargo shorts are back! This Bermuda-length pair from Lee has two utility pockets for storing on-the-go essentials, like keys and credit cards, as well as front and back pockets. Available in 11 colors, they’re made with cotton and spandex for a relaxed, breathable feel. Best of all? The “Flex-to-Go” waistband looks like a typical structured waistband, but with all of the comfort of an elastic waist.

Happy customer: “Haven’t bought or worn shorts in years. Love these. Flattering length for anyone but especially an adult (mature) woman. Very attractive on. Comfy fabric that feels durable while quite flexible.”

NYDJ A-Line Shorts

Best cuffed shorts for women over 50
button fly shorts
NYDJ

Buy from NYDJ, $79

Why we like them:

  • Made with flattering “Lift Tuck Technology”
  • Rolled cuffs
  • Front and back pockets

These cuffed denim shorts from NYDJ have a slightly 90s feel to them — and we’re not mad about it! The high waist is accentuated by a chic four-button fly, while the cuffed hems are youthful without being childlike. NYDJ is known for their “Lift Tuck Technology,” which is designed to keep you feeling secure and confident in your clothes, and they suggest going one size smaller for a perfect fit.

No reviews yet — you could be the first!

J. Crew Long Denim Shorts

Best long denim shorts for women over 50
J. Crew long denim shorts
J. Crew

Buy from J. Crew, $79.50

Why we like them:

  • Crafted at a Fair Trade Certified factory
  • Light distressing and fringe hem
  • Available in blue denim wash and white denim

Everyone needs a good pair of denim shorts for summer, and while we may have graduated from the super short cutoffs we wore as teens, a longer length, like that of this classic pair from J.Crew, is great for dressing up or down. The blue denim is great for casual outings, but they also come in white for a polished, sophisticated look. And you can’t beat the fact that they’re machine washable, and made with responsibly grown cotton through J. Crew’s Better Cotton Initiative.

Happy customer: “These are the best, they are a thick enough denim so that they are not see-through. I’m usually a 25 and these fit perfectly. The best part of these shorts is there is no waist gap. They do have stretch, but it makes them comfortable since they are high waisted shorts.”

Traceable Organic Cotton Jersey Shorts

Best Eileen Fisher shorts for women over 50
eileen fisher shorts
Eileen Fisher

Buy from Eileen Fisher, $108

Why we like them:

  • Available in sizes up to 3X
  • Made of organic cotton jersey
  • Come in slate gray and burgundy

People rave about these Eileen Fisher shorts, which are so popular, they’re hard to keep in stock. And it’s easy to see why — made with organic cotton jersey, they’re as comfortable as they come, and have that effortlessly cool and casual look we all love. The inclusive sizing ranges from XXS to 3X, and with three neutral colors to choose from, they’re sure to become a summer staple.

Happy customer: “I bought these last year and got another pair a couple of weeks ago. They are so comfortable and look great. Pack well and look perfect on vacation. I really would like some in midnight and other colors. They sell out fast so please bring us more!”

Anthropologie Farm Rio Swing Shorts

Best swing shorts for women over 50
colorful patterned swing shorts
Anthropologie

Buy from Anthropologie, $120

Why we like them:

  • Come in 3 fun prints
  • Side slant pockets
  • Machine washable

The warmer months are a great time to add some color to our wardrobes, and these vibrant swing shorts are just the ticket. The bold pattern shown here looks fabulous when paired with a white top, though they’re also available in blue and red stripes (and a black and white pattern, if you’re a fan of neutrals). Thanks to the elastic waist, these shorts have an effortless pull-on design, as well as a loose fit for optimal comfort. Oh, and they have pockets — jackpot!

Happy customer: “The print is awesome and the fabrication of them feels really high quality. Perfect breezy swing shorts for summer!”

Margaree Pocket Shorts

Best drawstring waist shorts for women over 50
gray shorts with pockets
Roots

Buy from Roots, $58

Why we like them:

  • Front and back pockets
  • Come in 4 colors
  • Drawstring waistband

Slightly sporty and super comfy, these drawstring waist shorts are perfect for an active summer. They’re made with a beachy linen material that comes in four muted colors, and have a laid-back feel to them, thanks to their raw hem and relaxed fit. The elastic waistband makes them easy to wear, and you can adjust the drawstring for your perfect fit.

Happy customer: “Cute and comfortable! I usually wear a size medium and I had to return and order a small. They have an elastic waist so I recommend aiming on the smaller end of the range!”

J. Crew Tech Shorts

Best nylon shorts for women over 50
J. Crew navy nylon shorts
J. Crew

Buy from J. Crew, $49.50

Why we like them:

  • Come in 5 colors
  • Water resistant
  • UPF 50+ sun protection

If there was ever a short designed for summer, this nylon pair from J. Crew would be it. Not only do these shorts come in five colors, they’re made of a water resistant material that offers UPF 50+ protection from the sun, so you can feel good about wearing these to the beach or pool. The slightly stretchy fabric is made of recycled nylon, meaning they’re also eco-friendly!

Happy customer: “I am in love with these shorts. They are the perfect combination of lightweight for the hottest weather, but polished enough to look presentable. They are true to size … If you’re looking for a comfortable, versatile pair of shorts, these fit the bill!”

Maui Rippers Stretch Swim Shorts

Best swim shorts for women over 50
swim shorts
Amazon

Buy from Amazon, from $15.95

Why we like them:

  • Over 1,000 5-star Amazon reviews
  • Cargo side pockets
  • Fast-drying fabric

For many of us, summer might be all about lounging, but for the adventure seekers, a durable pair of shorts is an essential. We love these board shorts from Maui Rippers, which have convenient cargo pockets and an adjustable drawstring waistband. The quick-drying fabric, which comes in a whopping 14 patterns, is easy to wash (just throw in the machine!) and has enough stretch to provide flexibility for most any summer activity.

Happy customer: “I absolutely love these shorts. I was looking for something that I could wear to swim, boat, walk, hike, and whatever else the day brought. These are perfect. The material dries very fast and has a nice amount of stretch without getting stretched out. We walked around Martha’s Vineyard all day … and returned to sightseeing without missing a beat or having to change clothes. I highly recommend them.”

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