Traditionally, the word "suit" is a sad one for ladies, especially when uttered during the summer months. Conversely, shorts have always evoked ideas of vacation, heat and leisure. When brought together, they create an unexpected combination of crisp polish and playful sportiness that can be worn anywhere from the office to weekends in the country and formal evenings out.
Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier's white piqué jacket and culotte were inspired by the '20s tennis player Suzanne Lenglen. Nicknamed "the goddess of tennis," the six-time Wimbledon champ sipped brandy between sets and challenged constricting tournament dress codes with shorter clothing that allowed her to move more freely on the court. "I like how the larger shorts have the feeling of a short full skirt but with a sporty, contemporary feel," said Mr. Maier. "The use of woven piqués in various degrees of openness create a breezy summer feel." This light combination could easily be worn on the weekends, embodying an energized athleticism that a skirt or pantsuit never could. But this carefree allure is just one of the shorts suit's many faces.
With sharp tailoring and feminine flourishes, as in Jason Wu's plaid version, the style can be a confident and fetching choice for parties. "I particularly love putting super dressy details on shorts to allow them to be worn in the evening," Mr. Wu said earlier this week. The designer will also offer a cropped tuxedo look, complete with a bow tie, in his upcoming resort collection—perfect for those who'd like to try the idea at black tie affairs this winter.
As a member of the suit family—however rebellious—the ensemble also has a serious side. At Araks, an indigo suit in a long Bermuda style (invented for British soldiers stationed in tropical climates) is slim and modern. And at Akris, a similar number cut from linen and wool radiates power and control. "Nothing is more chic for sleek summer business attitude," said the brand's designer Albert Kriemler. "A woman looks perfect today when she dares to switch the skirt with well-cut shorts." - WSJ
Top Crops for any Occasion:
For work environments that leave room for a little self-expression, try sporting ultra-modern jewelry, pop-art accessories and a tomato-red top with a baby-pink suit.
Stella McCartney Linen Jacket and Shorts, $2,210, 212-255-1556
Sunglasses, $275, paulsmith.co.uk
Racerback Top, $20, gap.com
Sandal, $80, zara.com
Silvana Handbag, $1,870, Fendi, 212-759-4646
Anndra Neen Choker, $625, kirnazabete.com
A crisply tailored jacket with Bermuda shorts is a respectable way to push the style envelope at work. Mix with a demure slipper and black pearls
Araks Blazer and Shorts$1,504, shop.araks.com
Blouse, $350, jennikayne.com
2961 Sunglasses, $255, persol.com
KJL Faux Pearl Necklace,$150, jennifermillerjewelry.com
Le Grande Classique Watch,$1,100, longines.com
Serapian iPad Case, $215, barneys.com
Aperlai Python Slipper,$815, bergdorfgoodman.com
When paired with drop earrings, exotic feathered heels and a smart clutch, a posh patterned suit is ideal for an evening on the town.
Suno Blazer and Shorts,$1,000, openingceremony.us
Cami, $20, gap.com
Cartier Évasions Joaillières Collection Ear Pendants,$20,700, cartier.us
Rachel Clutch, $1,295, net-a-porter.com
Mercure Sandal with Thorn Heel and Feather at Toe,$1,475, rogervivier.com
A sunny linen blazer and shorts are the picture of relaxation when worn wrinkled and soft for a weekend of leisurely strolls, lunches and bike rides. Match with a surfer-girl shade and classic Keds kicks.
Yellow Linen Jacket and Short, $1040, organicbyjohnpatrick.com
Chambray Tee, $45, jcrew.com
Sunglasses, $390, paulsmith.co.uk
Steven Alan Fedora, $135, net-a-porter.com
Isabel Marant Set of Four Bracelets, $495, net-a-porter.com
Market Tote by Les Habits Neufs, $275, calypsostbarth.com
White Champion sneakers,$35, keds.com