Why Pleated Grandpa-Style Shorts Are My New Wardrobe Staple

I’ve always found shorts to be the trickiest spring-summer piece to style. There’s something slightly infantile about the wardrobe staple; exposing my knobby knees makes me feel like I’m cosplaying as Prince George. That’s not a particularly chic feeling. That being said, when it gets sweltering outside, just the thought of wearing pants has me sweating—so I’ve been looking to street-style stars and celebrities for inspiration on how to wear them. The trending silhouette of the season is decidedly grown-up: the dressy, pleated, almost grandpa-like short.

If you’re unsure of what exactly a grandpa short is, just picture what cute senior citizens may wear in a retirement community in Florida. Their shorts are often high-waisted and finished with stiff pleats in the front, perhaps punctuated with a belt, a Hawaiian shirt, and a Werther’s Original in the pocket. Street-style stars and celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski have co-opted this look, proving that the pleated short can actually look extremely modern and put-together. And better yet, there’s a variety of luxe styles on the market right now, all of which play with refreshing hues and easy-breezy fabrics.

Ratajkowski, for instance, recently wore her cream pair with a slinkier, criss-cross top. At the haute couture shows, fashion editor Julia Comil tucked her yellow jacket into a white knee-length short. I love how stylist Graziano Di Cintio even paired his white shorts with a suit and tie at the spring 2022 shows. On the runways that season, labels such as Jacquemus, The Row, and Fendi have all offered their own take on the style.

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Photo: Splash News

Below, shop eight chic pleated shorts for both him and her.

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Fendi men’s pleated wool bermuda shorts

The Row men’s Cello pleated shirts

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Wooyoungmi men’s beige pleated shorts

Lafayette 148 women’s pleated linen shorts

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Bottega Veneta women’s high-rise pleated shorts

Theory women’s pleated pull-on shorts