I'm a 'short rider' at 4'11". For warmer weather and my utility rides, I pull out a pair of Bohn Body Armor mesh pants. My utility rides include commuting to work and a stop at the grocery store on the way home. I had to up-size my riding jeans to accommodate the padding.
For weekend rides, I wouldn't leave home without some type of armor for my lower body. It's an art-form to use restroom facilities with two pairs of pants. We've ridden to places where we like to walk and stretch our legs for an hour or so, a botanical gardens or the beach boardwalk, and I didn't find it uncomfortable.
This year I've added a luggage bag to my bike. I'll be more inclined to wear the gear I feel most comfortable with and then change out of it once we get to our destination. Stow the gear on my bike and enjoy the afternoon at the park or beach.
As far as 'brick and mortar' or the internet goes, I've had good experiences with Cyclegear and Motorcycle Superstore. I ask if I have a specific question in mind and make sure that I understand their return policy. The local Cyclegear does a great job of hiring people who ride and one salesman in particular has a girlfriend who also rides. Good luck!
P.S. I've lost 20lbs since buying those up-sized jeans and so I get go shopping for some new jeans this year!