Ali Shorts in brown donegal wool cotton cashmere by Walker Slater.
I have been on the lookout for high-waisted, tailored style summer shorts for women since starting to dress vintage style – something to wear when I don’t feel ’30s tap dancer’ enough for my 30s Pleated Shorts and a skirt just won’t do. A pair of shorts that would keep the tweedy academia aesthetic I love in a practical, scorching summer friendly cut.
What I really had in mind was this photograph of a young Betty Bacall – that classic waist-to-hip ratio fit of my Katharine Trousers from Vivien of Holloway, combined with the ‘menswear for women’ tailoring and early 20th century aesthetic of Emmy Design Sweden’s Miss Fancy Pants slacks, with a longer just-above-the-knee cut than the usual ‘pinup’ reproduction shorts. Other more financially accessible modern brands have had offerings vaguely in the ballpark of what I was after, but they’d come in bright colours and prints, often with rear elasticated waistbands with bunched up rolls of fabric at the back – not ideal.
After years of packing away to my ‘menswear for women’ / ‘academia’ style along with my winter coats, along came the tailored Ali Shorts from Walker Slater which, unlike their other designs, feature the high rise, nipped-in waist with free hips and wide legs I’d been searching for. My word, were they worth the wait! Not only are they high enough to sit comfortably above my hip bone on my long torso, the tailoring details – darts at the rear shaping the waist in, double pleats at the front – are uncommonly perfect and flattering for someone of my proportions. They look sophisticated, yet allow for unrestricted movement and relaxed casual comfort – just what you need for an adventure-filled summer!
(If you’re looking at the feature image and worrying that they look too balloon-y in the legs, they normally fall more like the image below. After a lot of fussing about with the camera & lighting, the pleat creases in the top image had lost some of their structure.)
At the time I discovered the Ali Shorts, Walker Slater had just finished re-vamping their website, and there were no size charts available. Having never owned trousers from Walker Slater – and often having fit dramas with shorts – I reached out to their team and was advised to go for a Size UK8 – the same size I wear in their Iona Waistcoats. The fit is perfect, with a waist that easily accommodates thick knits tucked underneath, but still creates a flattering silhouette when worn with a simple cotton shirt. If you’re not quite as into the academia aesthetics, channel Lauren Bacall with a delicate lace blouse and a pair of two-tone T-strap flats.
As you would expect from Walker Slater, these shorts are masterfully constructed from a “rustic” donegal wool / cashmere / cotton mix fabric. They’re soft but unlined, so if you have sensitive skin or a condition like Fibromyalgia you may find them a little uncomfortable. Personally I haven’t had any issue as the fabric is very soft – and find the cashmere even a little Fibro-calming. Excellent!
If you’re not too keen on wool products, Walker Slater also offer plain linen options in a range of colours to see you through many a fashionably dandy spring-summer. The khaki, rusty orange and natural are calling to me, and there’s a deliciously delicate light pink that in an alternate universe I am brave enough to wear too.
I don’t ever want to go back to ill-fitting ‘mid-rise’ shorts, with waistbands forever fighting my hip bone and causing uncomfortably restricted movement. At roughly the price point of Emmy’s Miss Fancy Pants Slacks, these shorts had to be perfect across the board – in terms of fit, design and made-to-last quality – to be added to my wardrobe. For me, Walker Slater’s Ali Shorts have got it right. As I’m looking to create a wardrobe of longevity and ‘a lifetime of wear’, I suspect these will be my go-to summer shorts for many years to come.
Ali Shorts Style Gallery
I am wearing a Size UK8 with the following body measurements:
Bust: 33″ / Waist: 26″ / Hips: 38″ / Height: 5’8″
Any questions? Leave me a comment below and I will get back to you!