Taking the hot short cut to success

NW3 turn up shorts, �39 and NW3 check blazer, �79, Hobbs (0845 313 3130/www.hobbs.co.uk)
NW3 turn up shorts, �39 and NW3 check blazer, �79, Hobbs (0845 313 3130/www.hobbs.co.uk)
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They are summer’s short-cut to cool, sexy style - and everyone with good legs is taking the shorts chic route...

Parade your pins - the weather might not be, but shorts are definitely hot.

They are more wearable and versatile than you think. Style them correctly and you can wear them from day to night and from summer to winter.

Take the hem high jump and put your legs in the spotlight...

Casual capers

Floaty, silky shorts are hot for this season but you can’t beat classic denim for daytime durability.

Steer clear of frays and rips, though, and try this summer’s embroidered and printed styles for extra style points.

If you’re not a fan of your legs, you can bare just a few inches of them and still look stylish. There are a variety of cropped trousers on the high street that fall below the knee. Those conscious of heavy thighs should stick to flattering darker colours like black or navy.

Glam tactics

Forget dresses - shorts are becoming a regular fixture on red carpets.

This season’s so-called cocktail shorts have been glammed up with luxurious fabrics such as rich brocade or tailored silk in jewel tones or metallics. And there are plenty of luxe lookalikes on the high street to give you the budget-proof short-cut to sexy style.

Cocktail shorts are more versatile than you’d think. By day you can dress down with a T-shirt and flat sandals, but by night they become elegant with a blouse, blazer and heels.

Choose shoes that don’t fasten around the ankle for instantly longer and slimmer-looking legs.

Shorts that are undeniably eveningwear only feature embellishment like beading, sequins and applique. Slip into a pair but then tone down the bling by adding something simple, like a crisp white blouse.

Smart chic

At the office, shorts can be an edgy alternative to skirts. But there are lengths you need to go to...

Seek out tailored city shorts close to the knee in length, or culottes-style flared shorts for a more relaxed look. A print will give your shorts extra interest, but stick to a dark or neutral palette for a nine-to-five aesthetic.

A smart blazer is your best friend for sprucing up office shorts. They give a streamlined look. Or you could go the whole hog and invest in a two-piece short suit.

Cross seasons

Heatwaves and suncream will soon become a thing of the past but you don’t have to stash away your shorts when the dark nights start drawing in.

Pale and bright shorts may need to go into hibernation but others will have longevity with one simple addition - tights.

Play it safe with black opaques or experiment with bright and print tights to turn your legs into a real style statement.

Shorts that are heavier in texture such as leather or suede numbers are especially good transition pieces that work equally as well in summer or winter.

Perfect pins

The best accessory for any shorts is a killer pair of legs. St Tropez’s tan maestro Jules Heptonstall reveals how to achieve supermodel-like limbs:

Exfoliate your legs with a scrub to remove any dead skin cells. Pay special attention to your knees and feet, especially around the ankles.

Any shaving or waxing needs to be carried out at least 24 hours before any self-tan is applied. This guarantees the skin has calmed down and avoids any stinging.

Use a self-tan mousse for the perfect base coat if you’re feeling pasty. Pump the product onto an applicator mitt and apply in upward motions starting from your ankle and working your way up your leg. Leave to develop for 8-12 hours.

For last-minute touch-ups try St Tropez Perfect Legs spray (£10, Boots). Simply spray the product onto your legs in lengthways motions (rather than circular) and blend using an applicator mitt.

Once your legs are golden and glowing, add definition by sculpting key areas. Using a bronzer, shade the natural indent from your thigh and calf muscles (standing on your tip-toes will help you see where the muscle forms on your calf). This shadowing effect gives the illusion of a more toned leg.

Highlight by adding sheen with an illuminator. Add a touch down the front of the shin and front section of the thigh, finishing just above the knee. The illuminator will catch the light as it hits the leg and draw attention to the centre, thus giving the illusion of slimmer pins.