Skip to Content

Why Don’t Women Wear Shorts After A Certain Age?

Why Don't Women Wear Shorts After A Certain Age?Kate blogs at and can also be found on Facebook sharing stories freely with her self-described foul mouth and huge heart. Do stop by and say hi. 

I’m not quite sure when this happened, but somehow I got too old for shorts.

Come to think of it, I haven’t noticed anyone in my friend circle who wears shorts and is not a personal trainer. Or a yoga teacher.

Cute dresses, skirts, skorts, tennis skirts – that’s a biggie, but apparently I’m the last mom standing in her Target jean shorts.

It’s not a fashion rule forced upon me by AARP. Nor is it peer pressure or vanity. Or even People magazine. It’s a consensus I’ve come by all by my lonesome … with a little help from the mirrors in Target.

It would have been nice to have been warned.

Now that I think about it, my mom doesn’t wear shorts. My mother-in-law doesn’t, either. None of the aunts or cousins do. Not mine or my rather attractive husband’s family members.

Not when overheating during the family reunion in July, not at the beach, not by the pool. They are in pants, or skirts – long skirts at that! – and often stockings. I don’t recall my grandmothers ever wearing shorts and they lived to be about 100. Or at least it seemed that way.

Apparently I’m at the age when I, too, must buy the bottom half of summer wear from the agist/sexist but surprisingly accurate pop-ups on my Facebook promising whiter teeth or flatter tummies. Or maybe revert to the inserts shoved into the Sunday newspapers, like my own grammy did – long before QVC and Amazon and Target on-line ordering made it easy to age.

My grandmother, country-club Nana, wore elastic waist, expensive, taupe or navy linen slacks, or maybe what was referred to as a smart skirt – but never shorts. Nana always topped it with a blouse from Bergdorf or Gimbels, a jacket, and sometimes her Hermes scarf that whafted a unique combo of mothballs and Shalimar. It lingered in the air like Linus’s dust storm, except it was fancy. I can smell it now.

My other grandmother topped her Carol Wright stretchy pants from the Sunday paper inserts with a housecoat. Or duster. Or a mumu. Call it what you want, but it was an oversized smock-like frock. Often featured in muted floral designs that may or may not have been a shower curtain in a previous life.

This grammy was usually braless, or wore her bra tucked around the breasts but unbuckled in the back.

“Can’t reach,” she said. “No one’s looking anyways.” Come to think of it, most days she considered bottoms completely optional too. It was scarring.

And therein lies my gene pool. Half trailer park, half Fifth Avenue.

Now, back to me and my legs.

Spring is here, and I need shorts. The past winter – hell the past 10 years – has not been kind to my middle parts, so I perused the shopping mecca of Target in search of something that works.

I was directed to the women’s section by the dressing room clerk who turned me away not once, but twice, observing I had selected shorts from the juniors department, and … well … good luck.


I grab an armfull of jean shorts, sized from 6 to 12, because I take off my clothes once. There is no reentry to dressing room hell for this girl. I get undressed one time, and one time only.

Cute, very cute, and I bravely entered the dressing room full of hope and dreams.

And then, well, this happened.

Photo provided by Kathryn Mayer.

I’d like to blame the socks. In fact, I am blaming the socks. Talk about me all you want, but I’m buying the shorts.

Because damn it. I’m hot.

Kate Mayer

Kate Mayer is a writer, humorist, and activist writing life down in Newtown, Connecticut at 2000 dollar loan today. She is a reluctant inductee to AARP, the co-creator of two quasi-adults and two wannabees, and an aspiring writer with the rejections to prove it. Sometimes funny on Instagram & Twitter @klmcopy, and plays well with others on Facebook.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:


Friday 25th of March 2016

Wait... What age does this supposedly happen? If it's hot I'm wearing shorts. Now snd in20 years.

Kate Mayer

Monday 28th of March 2016

I'm so with you on this! #shortsforever #mumobedamned

Linda Roy

Friday 25th of March 2016

And those killer boots would look great with them. Get the shorts, they look great. Go forth and rock 'em, girl!

Kate Mayer

Friday 25th of March 2016

Knowhat they really need? A Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band Jacket! Got oneI could borrow?

Roslyn Tanner Evans

Thursday 24th of March 2016

The rule is wear what you feel good in. If your legs are comfy in shorts, wear them. They are not sold with age restrictions on them. By the way, you look good in them, so go for it. One of my BFF is 68 with slim legs & she loves short skirts. Wears them all year round. Looks great on her . She finds it cooler than shorts & denim is her favorite.


Thursday 24th of March 2016

My mom wears shorts, I wear shorts. It's all about what's convenient. I only have one pair that fit right now and I'm broke so I've been wearing skirts a lot more. Not sensible skirts, floufy full skirts that I've gathered up since college.

The hair thing - I'm 37 and I have to keep mine short because it aggravates my chronic daily headaches if it's longer than my chin. I ask my hairdresser to make it not look like my mom's.

Kate Mayer

Friday 25th of March 2016

Do what feels good, and makes you happy!

Kate Mayer

Thursday 24th of March 2016

Absolutely! The more I'm 'told' (inferred, media'ed, fashion policed) with what not to wear, I'm wearing it!

Comments are closed.
Read previous post:
importance of doing nothing
The Joy of Doing Nothing At All

You can find Linda over at Unveiled Wisdom where she discusses wedding planning for the midlife bride.  On a recent...