In 2023, the Shorts Are *Short*— See All the Ways to Style Hot Pants Like a Pro

If you're simultaneously obsessed with the latest micro-trends and too intimidated to test them out, you've come to the right place. This is Ways to Wear, a monthly series where editor Eliza Huber offers a dose of outfit inspiration centered around current trends that feel intriguing yet overwhelming at the same time. Consider it your guide to actually wearing the coolest items of the moment, no matter how puzzling they might appear at first.

If you hated the underwear-as-pants trend, you should probably just click out of this story right now before you get invested. The fad at the tip of my tongue right now is equally as divisive, which is probably why it has me in an absolute chokehold. If you know me or have read other iterations of Ways to Wear, you already know that I have an affinity toward anything considered controversial, from snakeskin accessories to tights worn as a pant replacement. It's kind of my thing. So when I started seeing hot pants on Instagram, runways, and the streets (on celebrities like Sophie Turner, Hailey Bieber, and Zoë Kravitz), the microscopic shorts silhouette piqued my interest immediately.

Since hot pants aren't exactly a piece of cake to style, that's exactly what I set out to do, with a goal of crafting six outfits with the pair of cream-colored Galamaar micro-mini shorts/swimsuit bottoms that I own. After spreading out the entire contents of my closet on my bed and concepting about a dozen looks that looked better in my head than they did when I actually put them on, I completed my mission using only pieces that already live in my wardrobe. From super-casual errand outfits to dressed-up going-out looks, scroll down to see all six of the ways I'll be styling my new favorite shorts for the remainder of summer. (For the record, the trend doesn't stop when autumn arrives—just add tights to keep it going all year round.) 

The hot pants I worked with:

Six ways to style them:

Wearing: Galamaar Tap Short ($124); Zara Open-Back Top ($36); Bottega Veneta Cobble Intrecciato-Leather Shoulder Bag ($4600) and Drop Gold-Plated Earrings ($820); Massimo Dutti Square Ballet Flats With Buckled Strap ($149)

At first, it felt weird to put on such a tiny pair of shorts and not immediately slip pants on top of them, but after a few styling attempts, the trend really began to grow on me. It became easier with each endeavor to put outfits together that felt natural to me. Since it's currently shockingly warm in New York City, I paired my hot pants with a backless tank top from Zara and my new Massimo Dutti Mary Jane flats that make walking for hours oddly comfortable. To add some color to the otherwise hushed look, I put on my go-to bag of the summer, an Intrecciato Bottega Veneta shoulder bag that fits all of my essentials and then some, and the Drop Earrings from the same brand that I recently brought back from Milan and haven't taken off since. 

Wearing: Galamaar Tap Short ($124); Bottega Veneta Sardine Intrecciato Leather Top Handle Bag ($4200) and Drop Gold-Plated Earrings ($820); Margaux The Demi ($225)

This is one of those looks that you never want to take off once you put it on altogether. That might explain why I've worn it twice since I first thought of it just a week ago. With my hot pants, I wore a vintage red shell that I bought at Grand Bazaar, a great flea market on the Upper West Side, earlier this summer; brown suede Margaux ballet flats; and my most prized possession, my new Bottega Veneta Sardine bag, which was another souvenir from my Italy trip. Given how casual and "at home" this style of shorts can appear, I feel that it's essential to use accessories to dress them up as much as possible without making them look like a costume. It's a fine line, but a great pair of earrings and a statement bag are pretty surefire ways to toe it perfectly. 

Wearing: Dissh Sienna Knit Tank ($70); Prada Angular-Heel Slingback Leather Wedge Pumps ($1023); Galamaar Tap Short ($124); vintage belt

I'm not really one for going-out outfits, usually preferring to stick with whatever I'm wearing for the daytime and adding a dark lip balm for an evening effect, but something about these shorts made me want to go a bit outside of my comfort zone and create an evening-out ensemble with some extra flair to it. For me, that meant throwing on this silver '70s-era chain belt that I found at a great estate sale in the Berkshires last summer with a high-neck, mod-inspired tank and my new Prada wedges that look cool with practically any outfit. 

Wearing: Galamaar Tap Short ($124); ACNE Studios T-shirt; Tory Burch tote bag; vintage boots

Sometimes in the summer, all I want to wear is a big T-shirt and a baseball cap and be on my way. Though, I'll always add special touches to the combo to make it feel slightly more stylized. The hot pants do just that, as do these vintage motorcycle boots that I'm using as a placeholder until I can afford to buy Miu Miu's buckled-up pair from its F/W 22 collection. I wore this look to run errands nearby home before going to read in Central Park, and it was, dare I say, perfect. 

Wearing: Galamaar Tap Short ($124); Massimo Dutti tank; Wrangler x Gant blazer; Prada Angular-Heel Slingback Leather Wedge Pumps ($1023)

I've had this outfit roughly planned in my head ever since I saw that now-viral photo of Kendall Jenner in New York City last month wearing a navy-blue oversize blazer and a Yankees cap without bottoms. Obsessed, I saved it for future inspiration, and when it came time to brainstorm looks for this story, I knew I had my chance. I love the mix of sporty and dressed-up pieces, with the hat and the heels creating an interesting and unexpected juxtaposition. It's one of those outfits that feels like it won't make sense until it's on, and then everything just clicks.  

Wearing: Prada Angular-Heel Slingback Leather Wedge Pumps ($1023) and Re-Edition 1995 Carolyn Nappa Leather Bag ($3200); Zara blazer; Galamaar Tap Short ($124)

I bought this blazer during the Zara sale after seeing it on three of my fellow editors at Who What Wear, thinking that I'd wear it casually with jeans or dressed up with a voluminous A-line skirt à la Prada. I didn't, however, expect to style it with hot pants, but I'm not mad about the way that it turned out. I love the "business on top, NSFW on the bottom" feeling of this outfit, especially after the risqué-office-attire trend rocked the fall/winter 2023 runways at Ferragamo, Prada, and more.  

Shop my hot pants in more colors:

More hot pants to try:

Your hot-pants journey is only $10 and three to five business days away. 

If you're going to wear hot pants, you should go all in and opt for the faux-leather option.

It's giving The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in all of the best ways.

A simple choice for your first go at the trend. 

I am and always will be a Skims superfan.

I'm clearly biased toward using swim shorts to tick off the hot-pants trend.

There wouldn't be a hot-pants trend without Miuccia Prada. Fact. 

I had a pair of these exact shorts in high school and am now deeply regretting donating them.