Khaki Short Styling Without The Frump


I haven’t been this excited about khaki shorts since 1997.  I will not apologize:  ’90s 4eva, man.

I might, however, be alone in my enthusiasm. When the TME team and I were discussing possible upcoming style challenges, I mentioned khaki shorts and it was like…..crickets.  The only thing that seemed to draw more stunned, horrified faces was the term, ‘white leggings’ so there’s our comparison.

Khaki shorts:  Better than white leggings!!!!

But in all seriousness…I think khaki shorts are feeling fresh again.  Personally, I prefer mine on the shorter side (says the girl who’s a fan of ‘denim underwear’ #nosurprise), but I wanted to come up with a few options for styling any sort of khaki short.  Even… shorts.

If you haven’t yet seen the Mom Shorts video, you gotta watch it.  Like….right now.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

That video seriously makes my day.  My fav part is when the moms stroll by in their mom shorts, and the Dads are all giving them hey baby eyes.  ALLLLL the yes.

So.  Keep reading to see the two ways I’m styling khaki shorts right now.  Mine are shorter than the ones in the video, but I wanted to come up with outfit formulas that are wearable, offsets the preppy vibe, and something that could also translate to a longer khaki short.  And stay tuned – the rest of the TME team will be trying their hand at styling khaki shorts this week, too.

With Booties and a Band Tee

A band tee makes everything better.  And shorts + booties always looks a little more badass than sandals, even if the booties are taupe.  Besides, matching your boots to your skin tone helps to lengthen legs, and when is that ever bad?

Never.  That’s when.

Outfit Details

tee: Ramones tee. Also available here and here.

shorts: Abercrombie Chino Shorts in blue – I’m wearing a size 25

boots: Lucky Brand Kambry Booties

sunglasses: Kate Spade New York ‘Jakalyn’ Sunglasses 

bag: Rebecca Minkoff Julian (similar)


Minimalist Sandals + Interesting, Cut-out Tee

The barely-there sandals are another leg-lengthening trick, and they go perfectly with the modern, architectural vibe of the cutout tee.

Outfit Details

tee: My Rebecca Minkoff Valencia tee is all sold out (did you guys pick it up at the Half-Yearly sale??), but if I had to recommend another…..sticking with the same vibe of architectural details, I’d try this Splendid top or this Bailey44 top (similar, but the lines aren’t quite as clean).  Ok hang on – there’s several other options.  I’ll throw them all into a boutique at the end of the post.

shortsAbercrombie Chino Shorts in blue (size 25)

sandalsSplendid ‘Mason’ Sandal 

sunglasses:Kate Spade New York ‘Jakalyn’ Sunglasses 

bag: Moop Backpack no. 1 in ‘tan wax’


A Few More Cut-Out Tees





    • Ok, frump? No….prep sort of which isn’t = classic so OK…..anyhow this, now like skinny jeans, can’t truly go out of style. Call them mom shorts all you want, but…they….ain’t….going….nowhere (anywhere :-)) lol Sooooooo, to make these cool? Yes some great suggestions, but I say play them in a bright color-I have hot orange. Yes with a graphic tee they may seem cooler but these will never be date night shorts where you’ll grab your cool booties or heels, these are cassssh shorts for sneaks and flip flops when you really don’t care, with a striped tank-BAM……admit is Shanna…

  1. Shana, I love you and this blog but I have to say nope, nope, nope. You have fabulous style but even you were unable to convince me that khaki shorts can be cool. I’m really sorry but they will always seem frumpy, dowdy, and ultimately boring.And I feel really badly saying that because it’s honestly not meant as an offense. Perhaps I am the one who isn’t hip enough for khaki shorts (sheesh, never thought those words would come out of my mouth) Look forward to seeing if the other TME ladies can convince me, though I’m not being my breath 😉

  2. Perfect! You totally made them look cool with the band tee and booties! I now know what I’m wearing to the U2 concert next month!

  3. You’re totally adorable, and I love the look.
    Khaki is a color, chino is a style/fabric.
    You look terrific in your chino shorts. Which are blue.
    End of completely absurd soapbox-standing.

    • I’m so glad you said this cos I was seriously confused! I thought “khaki is a beige tan type color…”. I am trying to rock what I’m dubbing the “Jane Goodall Chic” with short khaki chinos and a transparent cream button up and cami…

  4. Have to say I love chino shorts, especially all the colors from JCrew. I have them in khaki, red, navy, and even bright green. My trick is also going short (I like the 3″ chino shorts). I usually pair them with striped t shirts, cut out t shirts, or concert shirts, and then either sandals or my converse -no socks. Pretty much all my tops and shorts can be interchanged, so less thinking for me. I realize its a pretty preppy look, but I guess its my way of saying, “I care, but I am hanging out on a soccer field all day, what do you want from me?”

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