“Who in their right mind tries on nine pairs of jean shorts in February, nine months after having a baby during a pandemic?” I muttered to myself as I attempted to close one of the medieval torture devices, better known as buttons, on a pair of shorts I can only describe as “denim underwear”…and not the cool kinds Shana has.
Oh, that’s right, I do.
Finding A Pair Of Jean Shorts After Baby: A Postpartum Try-On Sesh
Because somewhere between the snowpocalypse that hit Texas in late February and spring weather, I decided it was time to find my perfect pair of jean shorts for Summer 2021. Last summer I went on strike from button-up shorts. It was my own personal Lent if you will. It was also sort of medically necessary since I had a C-Section and hernia surgery in the span of two months, and I was not about to add more discomfort on top of all of that. So it was drawstring and pull-on shorts for me (think: these).
And it was rad. But now I’m ready to find some jean shorts that feel really awesome; that I can throw on for everything from ferrying the kids around to sitting on my couch. (OK, mostly for sitting on my couch.)
Go on this journey with me as I recount, in order, the jean shorts I tried on. The good, the bad and the unbuttonable. I will include all pertinent info so you know what you’re getting into. I hope this is helpful or, at the very least, humorous.
1. Alex Boyfriend Shorts by JAG Jeans
Initial Reaction: The denim is so soft, but dang these are comically big. Are these really a 10?
These JAG Jeans Alex Boyfriend Shorts just missed the mark. Although the recommendations were to buy them TTS, I would definitely size down. They are a relaxed fit, but this was a bit too relaxed for me. I love the softness of the denim, the clean, rolled cuff and the length hits perfectly midway down the thigh (for reference I am 5’7). I’m going to order them in an 8 to see if I still like them. They deserve another go.
2. Parker Cutoff Denim Shorts by AGOLDE
Initial Reaction: Holy %$%#@% these are short (little did I know what was to come)
I’ve wanted to try AGOLDE forever. Sustainably made and beloved by several TME contributors, these Parker Cutoff Denim Shorts by AGOLDE looked great online (oh wow, they looked great on an airbrushed photo of a 5’11 model?! Tell me MORE Meredith). I dug the frayed hem, but the second I saw the number of buttons (I’m convinced I can’t wear more than a single button) and the length, I knew it wasn’t going to work out between us. They were also tight across my stomach. I don’t think sizing up would have made a difference. This style just doesn’t work on me. All is not lost for me and AGOLDE. I have my eye on these Long Loose Parker Vintage Shorts and Reese Relaxed Cutoff Shorts that I’m going to try…eventually.
3. 501 Original Cutoff Jean Shorts by Levi’s
Initial Reaction: Those back pockets are so cute…OH MY GOD I’M STUCK
These Levi’s 501 Original Cutoff Shorts are the same size, inseam, and rise as the AGOLDE, but the fit difference is WILD! It’s a solid reminder of the inconsistencies in sizing and why you should never feel bad for having to order up a size (or five). I have to applaud my effort (delusion?) for spending two minutes in earnest trying to button these bad boys (participation trophy at least?).
These Levi’s look like they were made for my 5-year-old. Sometimes all you can do is just laugh. It’s not my body that’s the problem, it’s the shorts. Onto the next…
4. Le Ultra Baggy Ripped Denim Shorts by FRAME
Initial Reactions: OK, am I being punked? Where is Ashton Kutcher?
Right after the Levi’s 501 debacle, I tried on Le Ultra Baggy Ripped Denim Shorts by FRAME and legit felt like Goldilocks. “Too tight, too large” where were the JUST RIGHT pair?! The positives of these FRAME jean shorts are the single button (finally), length, and distressing. The negative is obviously that I can’t walk in these without them falling down. The reviews recommended sizing up, but, as you can imagine, I do not recommend sizing up. If anything, consider sizing down. Needless to say Le Ultra were “le distressing” and I almost threw in the towel and scrapped the entire post (don’t tell Gwen!).
Available at: Bloomingdale’s
Size ordered: 31
Material: 100% Cotton
5. The Denim Short by Everlane
Initial Reactions: *Cue Cinderella music when she gets her fab makeover”* Bippity Boppity FINALLY!
All hope was lost until these Everlane Denim Shorts in the color distressed, which appropriately describes me at this moment in time. They are “just right.” Relaxed fit, but not too loose, one button (hallelujah), not overly distressed, and…if that doesn’t convince you that they are perfect…YOU CAN UNROLL THEM for a longer, cutoff hem. I AM SHOOKETH. They are basically two pairs of jean shorts in one.
Size ordered: 30
Rise: 10 1/4″
Inseam: 3 1/2″ (rolled twice)
Material: 100% Cotton, Consciously Made
These shorts were so good that I almost named them the winner and skipped the last three pairs. I was also hungry. But, I kicked off my heels and soldered on.
6. Extra High-Waisted Sky-Hi Distressed Cut-Off Jean Shorts for Women by Old Navy
Initial Reactions: Why am I still doing this? But also…these are kinda cute.
Because they are listed as “1 inch higher than their highest waist” I sized up in these Old Navy Extra High-Waisted Sky-Hi Distressed Cut-Off Jean Shorts. I am glad I did because there’s no way they would have fit. Anything labeled “extra high waisted” is adventurous for someone like me with a short torso. I wanted to try a pair of shorts that was a longer length, plus, for the price point, Old Navy has some fantastic shorts options. These cut-off jean shorts are a fabulous weight and length, but the crotch is too long for me. I feel like it’s lost somewhere (yes, my crotch. How do you lose a crotch? Read on to find out. JK). If you have an average/long torso I would definitely recommend these if you prefer a longer short (Is that an oxymoron?).
Size ordered: 12
Rise: (high, just trust me)
Material: 94% cotton, 5% recycled cotton, 1% spandex
7. Mid-Rise Studded-Pocket Boyfriend Cut-Off Jean Shorts by Old Navy
Initial Reactions: Wait…did I buy shorts with rhinestones on them?
When I was in middle school I had a sweet studded “Capricorn” belt from Old Navy that I rocked on the daily. That’s what the studded details on these Mid-Rise Studded-Pocket Boyfriend Cut-Off Jean Shorts reminded me of. Honestly, I can’t decide if that’s a good or bad thing. I typically don’t gravitate towards dark wash for shorts, but I liked these. Overall they were a bit too big, but I think my usual size 10 would have been too small. As you’ll learn about me, I’m happy to get things tailored to fit my body if I really love them. It’s wild that we expect a mass-produced garment to fit us perfectly. It’s outrageous really when it does fit off the rack if you think about it. If it’s having a pant hemmed, waist let out or taken in, straps shortened, depending on your budget, consider finding a good local tailor and turn it into the perfect piece for your body. I just don’t love these Old Navy shorts enough to do that and that’s ok too.
Size ordered: 12
Rise: (mid-rise, just trust me)
Material: 99% cotton, 1% spandex
8. Embrace High Denim Shorts by H&M (Conscious)
Initial Reactions: Is H&M actually TTS now? Wait, can I sit down in these?
Before these Embrace High Denim Shorts, I hadn’t ordered clothing from H&M for myself in years. I’m still not over the days where a size 18 at H&M was basically a size 2 anywhere else. But apparently, they’ve seen the light and my regular size worked in their Embrace High Denim Shorts. The material is nice and stretchy. I was so close to keeping them, they look really good, but then I tried to sit down and they are just too short for my 5’7 frame. I have long legs, short torso. I was so gangly as a child that my mom described my walking as “colt-like.” I’m not sure that’s a compliment. I just know I would spend all day tugging at these and I have three kids, I don’t have time for that, y’all.
Size ordered: 10
Inseam: short (thanks descriptive website)
Material: Shell: Cotton 92%, Elasterell-P 6%, Elastane 2%
And The Winner Is…
I’m sure this will come as no surprise, but the pair I kept were the Denim Short by Everlane! I can wear them comfortably around the house with a slouchy tee or dress them up with a button-down shirt (half-tucked,) my beloved Arizona Birkenstocks (see a roundup of similar below!), and my Clare V. Midi Sac Grommet Shoulder Bag to complete up the look.
My takeaways from this marathon of sorts? (Shorts? See what I did there). Pay attention to rise and inseam. I now see patterns about what style works best for me thanks to those numbers. Don’t be discouraged if it takes 5, 9, 15, 24 pairs of jeans until you find the right ones.
Especially after a baby, a surgery, or a once-in-a-generation pandemic, it can be frustrating to try on clothing for your changing body, particularly those elusive jean shorts that just make ya want to strut around a bit. You don’t need 20 pairs of jean shorts — just a few that make you feel really good. Like REAL good.
Note: I feel bad that these Arizona Birkenstock Iridescent Sandals are nowhere to be found. Here’s a roundup of other similar Birks.
Oh hey, Pinners…