Short (But Not Too Short) List of Shorts

It’s already time to buy shorts for my daughter (somehow that always sneaks up on me!). And once again, the list of girls shorts that fit her style is, well,…short. You see, she will only wear ones that follow these three Girls Will Be style rules:


Colors Beyond Pink.  Not even pink top-stitching or buttons. And while pastel blue and green are ok, she’d really prefer brighter colors.


No “Girly” Embellishments. No rhinestones on the pockets. No bow ties on the hem. No heart shaped back pockets. Many girls and parents may not even notice these little touches, but when your girl is like my daughter, you feel like you can’t escape them!


Styles That Let Girls Be Kids. I think girls this age (roughly 4-12) should dress like kids (not teens or adults). They need shorts built for running, playing, and exploring. Not shorty-shorts or super-skinny styles. I am not trying to be overly modest here, but I would like to see girls have more options with inseams longer than 2-3” (which appears to be the norm now). My daughter’s reasoning is less principled and more practical – “they just aren’t comfortable!”

So after searching through many, many stores overflowing with summer clothes, I’m excited to share this short (but not too short) list of shorts that I think your girls will love! And you can always check our “Bottoms, Without the Girly” Pinterest board for even more choices. We add new styles as we find them!


Bermuda shorts double as my daughter’s “dressy” summer outfit, since dresses and skirts are out of the question. Our favorites this year are from Crewcuts. The length is perfect (slightly shorter than a traditional Bermuda, without being too short). And what fun colors! Yes, it comes in pink and various pastels, but also many great brights and neutrals. For even more color choices, don’t be afraid to raid their boys department. Their boys Bermuda does have a more broken-in look and feel, and a slightly longer inseam, but it still has a slim silhouette and I think it works for girls too.


I know Crewcuts is pricey, so here are some alternatives. Lands’ End has a great pair, as long as you are not in a hurry (they are on backorder for some size/color combinations). And I actually just bought these gray Bermudas from Old Navy (we just don’t use the belt!). I only wish they came in more colors than gray, khaki, and white.

Blue Bermudas, Crewcuts (girls), $39.50 [10 colors, including citrus lime, sea blue, sea glass, khaki, white]
Orange Bermudas, Crewcuts (boys), $39.50 [13 colors, including berry, cobalt, aqua, plum, green, bright yellow/green, navy, and khaki]
Bright Green Bermudas, Lands’ End (girls), $29.00 [also in aqua, deep blue, white, and pink]
Gray Belted Bermudas, Old Navy (girls), $19.94 [also in khaki and white]


I love, love, love these brightly colored cargo shorts from Old Navy. Can’t beat the price, the colors are fabulous, and the inseam is a full 5”. Old Navy styles turn over quickly, so go out and buy a few pairs right away!!!

The khaki shorts from The Children’s Place are a Bermuda length unrolled, and hit mid-thigh if you roll them up. Only downside is the lack of colors beyond khaki, white, and pink.

The gray shorts from Tea have a gently faded, “lived-in” look that makes me feel like we should be on the beach stuffing shells in our pockets! They are from the boys department, but that never stops us!


Blue or Green Cargo Shorts, Old Navy (girls), $19.94 [also in yellow, purple, brown, and pink]
Roll-Up Shorts, The Children’s Place (girls), $14.95 [also in white and pink]
Steel Gray Beach Shorts, Tea (boys), $35.00 [also in khaki-green and red]


Active describes our summers perfectly! My daughter could live in comfy shorts like these! Unfortunately, almost all girls active shorts are too short for my daughter’s taste (and mine!). At the mall last week, I even saw one pair that basically had no inseam at all! It looked more like underwear than shorts. And that was from a major kids’ brand, starting at size 5. Argh!

I was able to find four great options with both colors beyond pink and pastels, and ~5” inseams so that they hit at mid-thigh (Crewcuts ones are even longer). The first two are girls shorts, but the other two I found by raiding the boys department.


Skinny stripes, L.L. Bean (girls), $19.95 [also pink/white stripe; or solid dark gray or aqua]
Solid green, Old Navy (girls), $14.00 [11 colors, including orange, blue, purple, gray, and pink]
Wide stripes, Mini Boden (boys), $24.00 [also green/white, purple/white stripes]
Solid orange, Crewcuts (boys), $26.50 [also aqua, navy, and charcoal]


  1. It has been almost a year since we wrote this post. Now, just in time for the summer of 2014, we have designed our very own Girls Will Be shorts! Because we were tired of struggling to find shorts our daughters like.

    We think you’re going to love them – an in-the-middle fit (not too tight, not too baggy), a length that hits just above the knee, colors beyond pink, no “girly” touches, and pockets big enough to actually use!

    You can pre-order them between now and 3/30/14 on our Kickstarter page:

  2. Hello,
    Thank you so much for describe us about several types of shorts. All shorts are just amazing. Colors are so bright.

  3. Limited Too, surprisingly, has a large selection of non-pink, non-embellished, longer bermuda-style shorts that are stretchy (and thus allow for a lot of movement/ running.

    • Thanks Aiden!

  4. Wow – great list and descriptions. I love this. As the mom of two teenage daughters, this is a great resource. Thanks!

  5. Thank you so much! So happy to know I’m not the only one frustrated with the short situation. I’ve been to Target to find shorts with my daughter this year. They have so many really SHORT shorts and a few, funky, long-ish sweat pant-looking shorts. Come on Target, how about some cute shorts that don’t look like they’re made to wear to a club or for pajamas? Thanks for the great suggestions and the moral support!

    • I think there are so many parents like us out there! I often find myself saying “why isn’t there anything in middle?” whether I’m shopping for shorts, graphic T’s, pajamas, or swimsuits.

  6. Thank you so much for this! Absolute magic for my rough and tumble Australian girls where the local offerings are either boardshorts or ridiculously skimpy. One option to add – our favourite shorts (two pairs each every year since my girls were toddlers) are the Mini boden “Jersey crops”. They are a cross between leggings and shorts, without being baggy which is an issue for my girls who are both quite skinny (baggy stuff either falls off or looks ridiculous). Strangely, on the UK site they aren’t under the “shorts” heading, but under ‘trousers’ instead … they are ‘shorts’ on the bodenusa site, $24.

    • Thanks Jacqueline. Those are another great option! I’ll add them to our Pinterest board.

  7. We have this same problem, too, plus my daughter only likes knit shorts, and have found these:

    The bow embellishment is easy to remove with a seam-ripper or Exacto knife. The sizes only run from 2T to 7.

    • Thanks Mandy!

  8. Another problem with short-shorts is sometimes the tops hang down so long that you can’t even tell the girl is wearing shorts! Cute styles, and my 8 year old likes all of these colors too (she considers herself a tomboy but doesn’t mind sparkles).

    • Thanks Ann-Marie! I love girls that are combinations of all different styles.


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