Best denim shorts for every body type
Jean short season is officially here. If you’re like us, you may be dreading putting on anything other than leggings or activewear, but if you want to serve looks as you frolic around this summer, you’re going to want a pair or two. “Jean shorts are one of my favorite trends right now,” says stylist and lifestyle blogger Liz Teich. “Even though they can be tricky on many figures, if you find the right fit they can look youthful and sophisticated.”
And you’re probably wondering how you’re supposed to find a pair that fits right, especially when shopping online. Ryan Gale, New York-based stylist and founder of By Colby, likes to start with brands she’s familiar with. “I’ll head straight to the review section to check out what other shoppers thought about the fit and style of the product. If I’m really unsure of what size to purchase, I’ll check out the size chart available or I’ll purchase two different sizes in the same item,” explains Gale.
Teich shares another tip to “take the waistband of the pant or jean short and wrap it around your neck.” This may sound weird, but she says that “most of the time if it fits your neck, it’ll fit your waist.”
Woman wearing denim shorts in park
When looking for a great pair, attention to material is a must. Our experts share that denim with less stretch is better quality in the long run, and won’t sag as much over time. “Great denim should be durable and last with you,” says celebrity stylist Andrew Gelwicks. “Jeans should be a permanent piece for you. I have jeans from over a decade ago. When you’re shopping, you can feel it and realize it’s a good piece worth your money.”
Ready to start shopping? Keep reading to check out our stylist-approved and top-rated jean short picks to suit any body type or style.
Levi’s Premium 501 Original Shorts
“In the summer you can never go wrong with a pair of cut-off denim shorts. During the day you can pair them with an oversized T-shirt and chunky sneakers. After the sun sets pair them with a cute silk blouse and some heels,” explains celebrity stylist Tyler Minor. These iconic shorts come recommended by Minor and Teich.
Gap 9-Inch High-Rise Denim Bermuda Shorts With Washwell
“One can never go wrong with a pair of white denim shorts for the summer,” says Gale. We love that these are made of a low stretch fabric that’s meant to form to your shape, along with the Bermuda length that’s super casual.
Good American Bombshell Short
Freeman describes the Good American Bombshell Short as “beautifully frayed-hem jean shorts.” Available in sizes 00 to 30, these are meant to hug your curves and make your butt look great.
Ava & Viv Plus-Size Destructed Midi Jeann Shorts
“Comfortable shorts and a great value,” writes a reviewer of the Ava & Viv Deconstructed Midi Jean Shorts. These are offered in either a medium or light wash in sizes 14 to 30 for a relaxed fit designed for movement.
Old Navy Extra High-Waisted Sky Hi Button-Fly Cut-Off Jean Shorts — 7-Inch Inseam
Teich loves a “high waist and longer hem short, so it doesn’t feel like you’re going on spring break.” She thinks that ones like this 7-inch pair at Old Navy feel a little more sophisticated.
EB Denim OG Shorts
According to Gale, “these reconstructed denim shorts from EB Denim are super cute. I love the light wash to them. They’ll look great with sneakers, a tank top and a blazer.”
Madewell Denim Dempsey Shorts
We imagine these as the shorts you’d wear on a work outing or to meet your partner’s family. Basically, when you need to dress to impress. Made from 100% organic cotton denim, these feature a high waist and A-line leg that chill without being too casual.
Agolde Riley High-Rise Slim Short
Is it possible to have a crush on a pair of shorts? Well, we totally do on the Agolde Riley Short that’s recommended by Teich and Minor. Available in four washes, these feature a high-waist fit, undone hem and slim leg that’s neither too tight nor too loose.
Levi’s 501 Knee-Length Short
Freeman calls the Levi’s 501 Knee-Length Shorts “chic and sophisticated,” and we couldn’t agree more. The light wash and fit give them a polished feel that can easily be dressed up or down.
DL1961 Camille Shorts
DL1961 is a go-to denim brand for Gelwicks, saying, “I think they have a really nice assortment of styles.” We’re obsessed with the Camille short, especially in the khaki sandbank shade, and its sophisticated fit.
Boyish The Bradley Short
“I love the length of these boy shorts,” says Gale. “These will go great with a super-feminine top.” Basically, like the model is styled. We seriously can’t resist a light wash short in the summertime.
Old Navy Extra High-Waisted Secret-Slim Pockets Sky Hi Button-Fly Plus-Size Jean Shorts — 7-Inch Inseam
“These shorts are a must,” writes one reviewer of this Old Navy pair. “I love the button fly and the length. I already have two pairs of these and I wear them religiously.” Another reviewer shares that these are tall person-friendly, even standing at 6 feet.
Agolde Jaden Short
A pair of short shorts is a must. If your next occasion calls for a pair, you’re going to want to check out the Agolde Jaden Short that’s made with a nonstretch denim and side slits at the hem. It’s no wonder Freeman recommends them.
Old Navy High-Waisted O.G. Straight Ripped Cut-Off Jean Shorts — 3-Inch Inseam
Introducing your new favorite pair of shorts — these are surely called the “O.G.” for a reason. Reviewers rave that they’re cute, comfy and a great length. The subtle distressing is an added bonus.
Etica Skylar High-Rise Cuffed Denim Shorts
“I love the relaxed fit and the bottom cuff of these shorts. These can easily be worn around the city for running errands or kicking it in the park with friends,” says Gale. Better yet: These are ethically made, crafted from organic and recycled materials.
BDG High-Waisted Mom Short
We imagine these as the shorts you dream of thrifting. If you’re having no luck finding an actual vintage pair, get your hands on these by BDG that resemble what everyone’s mom threw on back in the day.
True Religion Joey Low-Rise Short
If you’re in the market for a pair of ’70s nostalgic Daisy Dukes, look no further than the True Religion Joey Low-Rise Short that’s a top pick of Freeman’s. Stray into low-rise territory if you so dare.
Eloquii High-Waisted Denim Shorts
This high-waisted pair of shorts is reminiscent of the paper bag styles we know and love. “This style is great because it creates a nice cinching for more shape, and looks more polished than a regular jean short,” says Teich.
Saks Fifth Avenue
Paige Dani Denim Shorts
The Paige Dani Denim Short is a top pick of Minor’s. Black denim is super versatile in the summer, and feels elevated from your traditional blue denim washes.
H&M+ Denim Bermuda Shorts
We can totally see ourselves reaching for these Bermuda shorts each day. These sport five pockets with raw-edge hems, available in sizes L to 4X.
Guess Denim Mom Shorts
Freeman recommends you “make a statement with bold colors” wearing the Guess Denim Mom Shorts. Available in five fun colors, these have a high-rise vintage-style fit with a cut-off frayed hem that is short and sassy.
Urban Renewal Recycled Print Patchwork Denim Short
One trend that Freeman is seeing this summer is patchwork denim shorts, so we had to feature a pair in our roundup. These are Urban Renewal Recycled, meaning it’s upcycled and will be one of a kind.