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No Longer Just Summer Wear

Shorts Create Well-Balanced Outfits for Winter

Regardless of the chilly weather, shorts are currently all the rage with Japanese girls. Paired with long socks or other legwear, the popular and adaptable style marks a shift away from winter clothing of the past.

A Variety of Looks to Mix and Match

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Left: Combining shorts with tights for an active look even in cold weather
Above: Denim shorts are one of the most popular styles.

The latest shorts trend started in the spring and summer of 2011. It wasn't just a flash in the pan—the trend continued through fall and winter with increasingly diverse looks. The most common style is denim, particularly among students accustomed to jeans and other casual clothes. Faded, oversized vintage denim shorts with frayed hems rolled up are hugely popular.

By contrast, older women prefer shorts in soft materials such as chiffon and light wool. For one style, a loose design with a flare line around the edge of the hem gives shorts the appearance of a mini-skirt at first glance. The popularity of this more sophisticated look, lending the wearer a feminine silhouette, demonstrates that shorts are now well received by a wide range of age groups.

Indeed, a huge variety of shorts have emerged to match every kind of fashion from sophisticated to funky. Some are cinched in at the hem to create a bell shape, while others are lined with fake fur, or decorated with ribbons.

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Left: These more formal tweed shorts can even be worn to the office.
Right: Shorts made of soft fabric can look like a mini-skirt.

Formal Shorts at the OfficeIn recent years, companies have increasingly adopted the "cool biz" campaign during summer, which advocates lighter business wear to reduce the use of air conditioning. It was further promoted when electricity conservation became an urgent issue after the Great East Japan Earthquake hit eastern Japan. Men in particular were encouraged to wear casual clothes instead of suits and neckties. In response, young women who had previously only worn shorts outside of work now began to wear them at the office. Although limited to those with a more formal design suited for blouses and jackets, wearing shorts to work is something that would have been previously unthinkable.

Legwear Complements Style

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Left: A youthful style combining knee socks with shorts cinched at the hem
Right: Boldly patterned tights give a sharp impression when combined with shorts.

Socks and other legwear helped sustain the popularity of shorts during fall and winter. Leggings, stirrup pants or simple black tights worn under shorts have become the norm, a stylistic shift enabling women to put together lighter yet warm outfits even during cooler months. Endless possibilities in combining shorts with shoes and socks is the real appeal, whether it is patterned tights that go for impact, knee-high socks, knee length boots, or booties that combine the style of pumps and boots.

Leggings and socks not only protect against the cold; they also create a vertical line when matched with heels. The style, which thins out the lower half and sharpens lines, can be advantageous for women who wish to look slimmer and taller. Leggings and socks also enable women who are reluctant to show any skin to wear short shorts, relieving them of their complex.

Shorts allow women to be both active and stylish, and help expand their options in coordinating outfits. With a multitude of appealing options for women, shorts seem to have become a key part of their wardrobes.
(January 2012)

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