Shorts under dresses. Trust me, just do it.

Okay. I had an experience last week that, had it been slightly different, would have certainly topped my most embarrassing Slipshortmoments list. While I will sometimes keep the dumber stuff I do to myself, I really don’t want anyone else to go through this so I’m going to just put it out there.

Last week I went to visit a customer at their office. It was a pleasant day, and to celebrate the nice weather I wore one of my more billowy skirts. I also had several very bulky and heavy boxes to carry. (Can you see where this is going?) After parking my car near the back of the lot, I gathered up my bag and boxes and headed to the front door. Had the boxes been any heavier, or had I been any farther from the door, I may not have been able to make it. But I was feeling pretty happy. The beautiful day! My cute dress! Carrying my own stuff, without having to ask for help! Good stuff.

I was about halfway from my car to the door when the lovely breeze turned into a more vigorous wind. I didn’t think anything of it, until I felt my skirt starting to blow. The wind got brisker and heavier, and my skirt started whipping all over the place. If someone was walking behind me, it is possible they got quite the show. The boxes were so bulky that I couldn’t carry them with one hand and hold my skirt down—the only option would have been to bend down and place them on the ground, which would have been a disaster. And I still would have had to get them to the front door! There was basically nothing I could do except pray no one was behind me while I made my way as quickly as possible. I never looked around to check, because honestly I didn’t really want to know.

So. The moral of this story is that if you are wearing a fun, springy, billowy dress, please wear something under it. With the temperatures getting nicer, and pleasant breezy days getting more common, don’t take a chance that you will flash someone your goods! I usually wear something like cotton bike shorts or Jockey Slipshorts (pictured), but I guess I’ve been so used to wearing tights under everything that it didn’t occur to me there might be a coverage problem. They are also great to wear on travel days in case you have an unexpected close encounter with the TSA.

Readers, do you wear shorts under your dresses?


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  1. I hate it when this happens! I wear half slips or slips that fit closer to the body under potentially billowy skirts and dresses instead of shorts, but that’s just personal preference.

  2. We call these “safety shorts” at our house. They are a must in summer- but even in winter-think slipping on ice to a sprawl (not that it has EVER happened to me…) they can be a dignity saver.

  3. I absolutely LOVE the Jockey Slipshort, especially when traveling. Getting in and out of buses, trains, taxis, airplane seats, etc., I am not worried about accidentally mooning those around me!!

  4. So here is a question I’ve been pondering lately….For those of you who wear the slipshort or something else, what color do you wear? All of mine are black, which seems to blend better in the shadows. And plus if someone does get a glance, it’s obvious it’s not skin. But I read somewhere else that people would wear brightly colored shorts (when they don’t show through, obviously) so that it’s super duper obvious it’s not skin. What do y’all do?

  5. Oh, what a prude! Dresses have a purpose for women – to let their vaginas breathe. Who cares if they see some skin! You need to spend some time in Europe or on a nude beach getting comfortable in your body. Bras are also unnecessary in warm weather.

  6. I have a couple of cute pairs of tap pants in pretty colors. Light weight, non-binding, and adorable.

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  8. I’m not that fussed about a dress blowing up and showing my pants/briefs (whatever you call them in the US) – after all it’s an accident, no one is going to blame you for it. But I like to sit down without having to keep my knees glued together or legs crossed so I tend to wear thin, tight shorts underneath.

  9. You do wear underpants, right? So why are you worried about showing too much? Do your underpants cover less than a bathing suit? Yet you probably wouldn’t hesitate to appear in public at a beach or pool wearing a garment which likely covers less than your undies.

  10. Éthan, seriously? You wouldn’t wear a bathing suit to a business mtg so no, you are totally wrong on this one, showing your undies at work is not cool unless you work as a lifeguard, swim instructor, or sumo wrestler.

    Honestly I never thought of bike shorts for myself until recently when I started putting them on my daughter. I love the Lucky & Me Jada Bike Shorts (see here: for girls because they are totally practical but also have a pretty stretch of lace at the bottom that makes them look pretty too if they do show. Has anyone seen anything like that for adults?

  11. Ashley, you wouldn’t wear bike shorts to a business meeting either, would you? The main difference between bike shorts and underpants is the shorts cover a bit more of the leg. Really, it’s not a practical thing at all, it’s just a silly taboo which says that the genital area is not to be seen, but then by extension neither are clothes which cover the genital area. So now we have to cover the genitals and the underpants too. How many layers deep can we go? Really, it can’t even be healthy. Your genitals need to breathe at least a little!

  12. No of course I wouldn’t wear bike shorts alone to a business mtg as that would indicate I was going biking and not to the office but I would wear a skirt that is at or near knee length and bike shorts simply make sure that if the wind blows or I trip or whatever else may happen, that no one is made uncomfortable by seeing thighs in the office where that is not considered appropriate. I suppose if the bike shorts are really booty shorts that isn’t true but that isn’t what I mean when I say bike shorts. I disagree that this is about the genital area and double covering that or covering underwear. The “silly taboo” or “cultural norm” as I would call it, is to be covered shoulders to near knees for work. I wouldn’t feel any more comfortable showing bare shoulders or stomach at work than I do about bare thighs, because none of those things are culturally appropriate in an office setting.

    Genitals might need to breathe but they also need to be protected from rough seems and uncomfy fabrics and public places. Hence underwear.

  13. My wife and I own a small bicycle shop and bicycle pretty much everywhere in town. She always wears dresses and in summer wears pretty lightweight full skirts and dresses. Initially this caused some problems but no longer. In addition to adding skirt guards to her bicycle she also wears pretty pettipants underneath. They not only prevent her thighs from becoming irritated in the summer months but if a breeze blows her skirt the most anyone sees is the lace hem of her knickers! They’re also nice when she’s climbing ladders, either painting or climbing onto our roof (especially if I’m behind her!) 😉 She loves how comfy they are, either nylon or cotton, and she steals my breath away when I see her in them!

  14. Is it true that while they should be at least a bit shorter than the skirt, not to be seen when standing or walking, some prefer them not too shorter and so that they clearly look like shorts.
    What about denim or matching the skirt? Well denim might be too thick indeed, canvas or cotton is better.

  15. Anton, of course, one must never allow someone to think they might have gotten a glimpse of one’s underpants, for that would be so embarrassing, even though it wouldn’t really, because nobody ever says “Lady, I see your underwear”. So ladies must wear shorts under their skirts, but they must clearly look like regular shorts in order to avoid… I don’t know what. Perhaps you could explain?

  16. I think shorts under dresses would be practical to avoid chafing alone. This is one of the reasons I avoid wearing dresses. I’ll have to try this out.

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