Unfortunately for me, the size chart was not correct. Now, I do not blame BackCountry for this at all. Their customer service as I ordered through the Live Chat was outstanding! I could not have asked for better treatment. I am 5'5", about 174lbs, and measured my waist (the circumference of the indentation right above my navel) at 34 and my tummy (what a lot of people seem to call their waist now)...ehhemm...gut at 36"-37". :)
Anyway, I am slightly, slightly short-waisted, and the waistband of these shorts sat right at my belly button. They were not too low for me, but the waist band gapped about 2" or so in the back, while the thighs fit perfectly (24" thighs, and shorts not too tight or too loose). So, going down a size is not an option, since the thighs will then be too tight.
Also, I always seem to have a problem with Columbia clothing. The fit is either too small for the stated size (the usual occurrence), or as in this case, too big somewhere. I view this as a problem of mine and not Columbia's. Their clothes seem to be made for an athletic build, even in the larger sizes. Until I lose some weight in the belly I cannot expect their clothing to fit me. Since I am over 40 and not likely to experience a major weight loss, I will have to continue enjoying the North Face products instead.
The Columbia shorts are the perfect length to cover chubby thighs, the right rise measurement for the average height woman, and generously cut in the waist, but not so much the tummy. I still give them a 5 star, because they are well-made and beautiful.