Trends: The Incredible Longevity of Winter Shorts


Winter shorts new lead image

It’s a style that heralds back to the mid-2000s, but has, surprisingly, managed to stay slung around the hips of celebrities and fashionistas alike — yes, we’re talking about winter shorts.

When Katie Holmes and Kate Moss started layering tights, wooly socks, and warm jackets with cut-off denim shorts in 2007, the world of women’s clothing took notice, and launched into a debate between two distinct sides. For summertime short-shorts lovers, it was bliss — a fashion-forward and weather-appropriate way to show off shapely gams even with frost on the ground. For wooly-shorts  critics, the look was beyond a faux pas: shorts are unflattering on a lot of women, and tradition dictates that seasonal change requires a seasonal wardrobe.

Clothing designers have since worked to fuse the visions of both camps by remodeling the Grunge-esque styling of ripped-to-shreds denim shorts with tidy, trendy, and toasty-warm fabrics like wool, leather, and velvet. The look also went from toosh-skimming skimpiness to far more practical lengths. Winter shorts met biz casual, and the rest is runway history.

Winter shorts have far exceeded flash in the pan expectations from early naysayers. The 2010/2011 winter season is full of them, from luxe couture to off-the-rack retailers, and every boutique in between. The cold-weather take on summertime fashion is as present as ever this holiday season; you need look no further than Lucky Brand for your first example. The company just released its new Country Plaids line, which includes a pair of red and black plaid pleated shorts with a cozy, fully-lined wool blend. The look is styled to keep bare legs goose-bump free with leggings, long socks, and knee-high boots.

So why has the look remained so popular? In a season where bulky clothes are inevitable, it gives women the freedom to show off their figures while also experimenting with layers and patterns on leggings and tights. Winter shorts can be demure, but offer a sexy, funky, cutting-edge flair that jeans and trousers lack. They are winter’s version of the mini-skirt –- and who really says “no” to a mini?

It may not be a look that lasts forever, but for this season at least, you’ll be seeing plenty of leg.

[Disclosure: Lucky Brand is owned by Liz Claiborne Inc., the financial sponsor of this site]