Designers’ Latest Hot Pants Are, Dare We Say, So Luxe

Don’t shake your head no just yet...

Hot shorts trend
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Well, it’s really happening. Short shorts, hot pants... whatever you like to call them, the itty-bitty bottoms are shaping up to be summer’s It look. Is this a shock? Not really. Considering leg-baring styles like micro miniskirts and underwear as pants have been trending as of late, it was only a matter of time before these dangerously tiny shorts returned, too. If you’re sitting behind your laptop or phone screen with a look of disgust, just know this: These are not the denim iterations from yesteryear — in the early aughts, to be exact — that you hounded your mom to buy you from your go-to mall stores.

And, like it or not, this doesn’t seem to be a fleeting trend — or, that’s what celebrities and designers would likely tell you. Look to Olivia Rodrigo’s newfound affinity for the bottoms as one piece of evidence. “Olivia is the queen of the hot short right now — [we’re] living for her tour looks, especially her crystalized style paired with ripped tights,” explains styling duo Danielle O’Connell and Alix Gropper (aka, Dan and Alix).

Meanwhile, Halle Bailey’s go-to stylist Nichole Goodman says when she thinks of the risqué trend, icons like Britney Spears and Dolly Parton first come to mind. “Britney, with her recent Instagram dance videos, flaunts the epitome of confidence with the tiniest, lowest cut of hot pants,” the fashion maven explains. She adds that Parton’s sparkly white style during her halftime performance at the Washington Commanders versus the Dallas Cowboys game in Nov. 2023 had her in a chokehold. “It was a testament to ageless glam, reminding us that anyone can rock this style and age ain’t nothing but a number.”

Of course, we can’t discuss hot pants without mentioning a certain influential pop star who once nailed the look. “Who can forget Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman” era, where she flawlessly blended sexiness with sophistication, offering a masterclass in hot pants styling,” notes Goodman, referring to the baby blue short shorts she wore in the hit song’s music video circa 2007.

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During the Spring/Summer 2024 Fashion Month, hot pants were everywhere you turned. At Khaite, black leather shorts (donned alongside a fiery red voluminous top) took center stage. Tom Ford opted for matchy-matchy looks, sending models down the runways in velvet blazers and zip-up moto jackets with coordinating teeny-tiny bottoms. Hot pants were all over Gucci’s catwalk as well, mostly seen rendered in leather and its signature logo print.

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If you’re down to bare your legs this summer, scroll ahead for six hot pant outfit ideas courtesy of the influencer set.

A Little Nautical

Preppy and nautical-looking probably isn’t how you envision most hot pants outfits, but you can easily push the look in this direction. One way to do so is by styling red and white bottoms with a classic crew neck striped long-sleeve tee. A timeless leather shoulder bag and pointy flats are the ultimate finishing touches.

A Lot Of Leg

How does Goodman suggest styling short shorts? “Make it all about the legs!” the pro says. She loves the piece paired with high heels (a platform sandal works as well) to “keep your legs going for days.” Then, on top, the stylist recommends going for a more conservative look, such as an oversized top tucked into said bottoms.

Get Sporty

For a summer outfit that’s simultaneously head-turning and relaxed, offset your hot pants with a sporty graphic tee (like this fan-favorite Adidas look) and elegant Mary Jane flats. This formula is ideal for casual weekend activities, like a quick trip to the local farmer’s market or an afternoon out and about in the city.

Beach Bound

Leg-baring shorts are a logical choice when the temperatures hit the mid-80s. As such, wear yours to the beach with a wide-brim hat and gladiator sandals. An interesting styling idea: Tuck a super long white button-down into your bottoms, allowing the top to subtly peek out from underneath.

Denim On Denim

Though a Canadian tuxedo is a go-to in the fall, the timeless combo is still primed for warm summer days. But instead of teaming a denim jacket with matching jeans, slip into a pair of teeny shorts. Lastly, accessorize with oversized sunnies and polished ballet flats.

All About The Proportions

Though you may wear your slouchy pants with a tight tee, O’Connell and Gropper encourage doing the opposite with micro shorts. “When styling the bottoms, it’s all about balance,” they explain. “With hot pants, we’d style with a big leather jacket,” they tell TZR. Continue the edgy vibes via a studded belt and lug-sole boots.