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.
Below, shop eight chic pleated shorts for both him and her.
Fendi men’s pleated wool bermuda shorts
The Row men’s Cello pleated shirts
Wooyoungmi men’s beige pleated shorts
Lafayette 148 women’s pleated linen shorts
Bottega Veneta women’s high-rise pleated shorts
Theory women’s pleated pull-on shorts