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Reader’s Question: Are Shorts with Tights Always a No-No?

November 14, 2010

Here is a question that I received from a reader, Amber Wingert:

“I am usually very apprehensive about tights with shorts and leggings with skirts in general, but I guess I’ve been warming up to a couple styles when done right. Advice?? I have these cotton black shorts with tiny little fall-colored flowers on them and oatmeal colored cable knit tights – together with brown boots – still off? I’m not really sure how I feel about it… I kind of like it but I’m conflicted based on the principle of shorts and tights together. Always a no-no?


Hello Dear,
Personally, I am not a fan of the tights with shorts look ever really. I have seen it many times on campus. In fact, a friend of mine does this many times. She has done the woven tights look with cotton shorts, but I think it looks slightly juvenile. That is my take on it. I would totally rock those oatmeal cable knit tights though, especially with a brown pencil skirt, or with a long sweater coat/long cardigan. Those are some feminine looks. You could do those tights with flats/chunky heeled shoes/boots most certainly. I love Frye boots; though the price tag is quite something.

~Peace, Love, and Glamour

I found a good source that does show how to wear shorts with tights. If you simply cannot resist the look and don’t mind freezing your little hiny off, check out this article from

This article allows the combination when done right:

  • Pairing a longer short with an opaque tight of a similar hue. (creates illusion of a longer leg–who doesn’t want that?)
  • Wear a longer tunic or boyfriend jacket
  • Wear a wedge heel
  • The best colors/ textures are dark sheers, knit patterns, wooly materials, or jewel tones, as well as tights with small, delicate designs. Lace tights in dark tones would work as well.
  • Avoid bright colors, especially for Fall
  • Don’t wear this look out to dinner or when meeting your special someone’s parents! Keep the look casual and reserve it for grabbing lunch with your girlfriends or vacation!
  • For a nighttime look skip the denim and go for satin/wool shorts instead over black/charcoal hosiery

Refer to Nicole Richie, a celeb who has successfully pulled off this look, which isn’t much of a surprise for this fashionista!

Oh and one more thing to keep in mind, this article by Stylist was written back in March.

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