Short stories: Belted on Balmain's spring runway, cuffed at Banana Republic, and bleached denim from [BLANK] NYC. Photos: Francois Guillot, AFP/Getty Images, Banana Republic, [BLANK] NYC

It's an issue we face each spring and summer: The temps gets warmer, pants feel hotter and somehow our legs are just begging to be bared.

Yep, shorts weather is here, but with runway models (hot pants at Marc Jacobs, boy shorts at Balmain, tap pants at Cynthia Rowley) and celebrities (Gwyneth Paltrow, seriously, you shame us) leaning toward daring Daisy Dukes and away from more body conscious Bermudas, we're frankly a little afraid of the season's shorts styles.

"You really need to pay attention to your body characteristics when buying shorts," says style expert Bridgette Raes, author of "Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want." "I think all body types can wear them as long as this rule is considered."

Emmy Lauridsen, who, along with Leigh Brown, designs for the label BLANK NYC, agrees.

"All body types can wear shorts," Lauridsen tells StyleList. "It all depends on how you feel about yourself. Try to key into your body shape and shop around and try different fits and lengths that you are comfortable with and find what suits you."

But ask celebrity stylist Nicole Chavez (Rachel Bilson, Scarlett Johansson, Kristen Bell) how she feels about shorts, and she'll tell you straight up: She hates them.

"You'll never see me in shorts, but I love them on other people with skinny legs," she tells StyleList. "You gotta be in shape and you gotta be tall. It's so hard. Why would you wear them? Wear an A-line skirt -- that's a better solution."

However, for those who do dare to wear shorts, here's how to make the cutoffs compliment your body shape:

I'm a woman of a certain -- ahem -- age. Should I avoid shorts?
  • "I don't think so," Raes tells StyleList. "I think there are plenty of mature women who look lovely in a smart pair of shorts. The rule is to choose shorts that make them look youthful, not young. There is a big difference between those two looks."
Can I wear shorts to work?
  • "Sure, they can be worn in the office, but in the longer length and more as a trouser-styled short," Lauridsen says. "High-rise pleated shorts are very important now, but in a clean unwashed fabric, such as gabardine or linen. They can also easily be worn with a jacket for a more corporate office look."
So, what are the trendiest shorts styles for 2010?
  • "Anything in the utility area and preferably in laundered twill is the 'in' item right now," Lauridsen says. "Also, denim boyfriend roll-ups are a must." She says olives, khakis and whitened faded colors are also trendy, and, as far as denim goes, bleached washes work in any length. "There is a great variety from very short shorts -- which not many can wear -- to three inch inseams and knee-length," she says.
  • Raes says she's been spotting "hotpantaloons," which, she says, are baggy shorts with turned up cuffs. "Another trend is the classic hot pant," she says. "Here is my general rule on this type of short shorts: If your legs aren't your favorite feature then don't buy them. I know that limits a great majority of the population from wearing them, but these shorts really expose a lot and you have to be comfortable wearing them."
I'm fierce and not afraid of hot pants. What do I pair them with?
  • It's all about proportion, Raes says: "Wear a bigger, blousier top or a boyfriend jacket to balance out the look. Also, I suggest wearing these barely-there shorts with a pair of heels. Lengthening the legs will also make them look like slimmer legs."
I'm plus-size. What's the best style for me?
  • "A knee-jerk move for most plus-size women is to hide under bulky shorts," Raes says. "I stress this point all the time with my larger clients: Bulky clothes only make you look bulky. Avoid the big, sloppy shorts with either pleats or an elastic waist. Instead, choose a pair of shorts that are tailored and clean in the front."
What shorts look best on petites?
  • "Avoid overly large, sloppy, relaxed shorts, especially with cuffs, which will make a petite person look shorter," Raes says. "Instead, choose close-fitting, shorter shorts. If a petite woman wants to wear a longer shorts style, choose a pair that sits close to your body in a more structured fabric so you don't look like you're standing in a hole."
And for pear-shapes?
  • "If you want to minimize the A-look of your pear-shaped body, avoid clothes that emphasize that shape," Raes says. "Avoid shorts that have too wide of a leg opening or have big cuffs at the hem. Wide leg openings and wide cuffs force the eye right to the part of the body that a pear-shaped woman is usually trying to camouflage -- her thigh area. Choose a pair of shorts a bit more tapered at the hem, choose neutral bottoms that don't create such a stark line between your shorts and your legs like a dark pair of shorts would. And, if possible, wear a slight heel in a shade that matches closely to your skin tone with your shorts. The leg lengthening trick will make a pear-shaped woman's legs look slimmer. Fabrics should be beefier and more substantial, as any part of the body that is large jiggles and roams free under loose, flimsy fabrics."
Speaking of fruit, what about apple shapes?
  • "Usually, apple-shaped women have great legs," Raes says. "In this situation, the short-short could be a great idea to consider, especially when worn with a more relaxed top. This proportion is great for apple-shaped gals because the looser top camouflages the slight tummy and the short-shorts showcase her legs. Fabrics can be loose and fluid, like prints or more structured like denim and khaki."
What if I'm boy-shaped?
  • "Being straight from head to toe, a boy-shaped woman doesn't have a lot of curve," Raes says. "For this reason, the 'hot-pantaloon' short, a pleated short, or a more relaxed short shape in more relaxed fabrics, will give a boyish bod the ability to create the appearance of some curves. Boy-shaped women usually have great legs, so go nuts with those hot pants."


Looking for more warm-weather tips? Here's how to not look fat in a bathing suit