It used to be simple. When the pants for women started to catch on in the late 1960s, you either wore a skirt or took the trousers in whatever shape was available. Then designers started playing with shapes and they moved, at various times, from super-wide to super-skinny [Some current versions are wide at the top, tight at the ankle].

And now a new complication . . . . There is a choice in lengths as well. The longest ones buckle a bit at the top of the shoe; another version is cut off at the ankle. In fact, there are pants at just about every stop on the leg -- up to something very, very short.

Among the choices, clockwise from the bottom left: Calvin Klein's silk crepe de chine windowpane plaid pants are teamed with matching jacket that reverses to a flower print.

Plain linen jump suit by Pinky and Dianne for Private Label is calf-length.

The shortest of them all is Stephen Burrow's pinked-edged chamois shorts with a mixed bright-color top, opaque tights and sneakers. It's for disco or for colorful sports.

Remember Bermuda shorts? Bill Blass does them in black and pairs them with a shirt and red bow tie; Ralph Lauren teams up Khaki chino shorts with a madras plaid jacket, small-collar shirt and knit tie.

Dimitri puts henna-colored, pleated-front suede shorts with a gold-and-green-plaid cotton shirt. CAPTION: Illustration, no caption, by Stephen Burrows for The Washington Post; Picture 1 through 4, no caption, By Margaret Thomas -- The Washington Post