Team Try-On: Levi’s 501 Shorts


It’s no secret The Mom Edit crew loves our Levi’s.

Julieta has dedicated countless hours of research trying, testing, breaking-in (in a bathtub mind you) Levi’s classic 501s & Ribcage jeans, Laura has always been game to try a new pair and report back on sizing & fit, and these straight crops even won the coveted title of Shana’s Jeans Of The Summer last year. Woah. Between the great price points, cool washes & sustainability efforts (more than 67% of Levi’s inventory is made with their patented Waterless®), this denim brand is one we just love to blog about.

And the best part of those articles? The rest of us didn’t have to try on all. the. jeans — our lovely friends did it for us!

Levi’s 501 Shorts: Which Women’s Cutoffs Win?

So now that summer has unofficially arrived, let’s talk SHORTS. Levi’s 501 shorts to be exact. It’s try-on time again. So sit back, relax and watch our team try on 501s that worked (and some of those inevitable failed attempts, too), and *hopefully* you’ll find your new Jean Shorts Of The Summer.

Jump Links To See The Shorts On…

Laura | Scotti | Em | Linzi | Kat | Shana | Cam

Laura’s Levi’s Shorts Pick

Ah, shorts. I usually don’t love them at all. I have thighs that don’t cooperate with most shorts, and I think others may be able to relate. BUT. These! These work for me! They don’t bunch in the crotch when I walk, and I’d call that a win forever and ever. I tried on four different pairs of 501 shorts, mostly in the high-rise style, and these were the winning cut and wash for me. They’re the Athens wash and I did go up one size from my typical jean size (I always do that in shorts.) I tried the 29 as well, two sizes up, and they just had too much fabric in the hips and inseam.

I wore these shorts for a few hours the other day to get a real feel for them, and they did relax a bit with wear (they don’t have a ton of stretch) but not enough to make me regret going up a size. I like my shorts to still be a bit comfy/loose instead of tight fitting like my jeans. These are genius-ly (yes, my new word) cut shorter in the front and longer in the back and inseam for zero booty-falling-out problems, which is another win forever and ever. I actually love putting these shorts on, and I can’t believe I’m saying that haha. Right, S?! This wash is getting hard to find, but Free People has the biggest selection of sizes.

Let's talk SHORTS. Levi's 501 denim shorts to be exact. We're trying on high-rise, mid-rise & plus-size cutoffs, so *hopefully* you'll find your new Jean Shorts Of The Summer.

levis 501 shorts or at UO (28) | blouse (s) | rainbow sandals (tts) | rebel tee (s) | white birkenstocks (tts)

Scotti’s Levi’s Shorts Attempt

These were a fail for me. I really, really wanted these to work (they look so perfectly slouchy on the models!), but they just didn’t. They were either too small (my regular size 28s were laughably small on me), and when I went up to a 29 (still too small) and 30 (below), they finally started fitting around my booty, but gapped so much in the waist that anyone standing behind me could simply look down to see my cheeks. Not a good look. I love the color, the distressing…just not the fit. So, for those of you who are a bit curvier like me, I’d HIGHLY recommend the Bombshell shorts from Good American. I found them last year and LOVE them. They fit in the waist without gapping and still have ample room for the thighs and booty. (The best part is that they’re modeled in every single size on their website from size 00-24, so you can see them on multiple body types.) They’re worth every penny.

Let's talk SHORTS. Levi's 501 denim shorts to be exact. We're trying on high-rise, mid-rise & plus-size cutoffs, so *hopefully* you'll find your new Jean Shorts Of The Summer.

Levi’s 501 Shorts in Fault Line | bodysuit (LOVE this, and it also comes in a tie-dyed PRIDE edition)

Em’s Levi’s Shorts Pick

Ahh, Levi’s 501s. In my mind, they can kinda do no wrong. Somewhat so for the shorts version. These are technically a mid-rise — I’m not typically a HUGE shorts wearer, and for some reason, I shied away from the high-rise, thinking they might make them feel even shorter. Would they have? Who knows, because I didn’t actually try them on. But these are classic, and the wash (Indigo Avenue) is a good medium blue that isn’t too saturated. I do wish they had a little more distressing a la the version shown on the model, but I’m hopeful that a few more wears and washes will encourage some tattering. And if not, well, I’m not above taking it into my own hands. Whereas I usually wear my Levi’s 501 jeans TTS (S likes to size up for slouch, but I go for a closer fit), these guys definitely need sizing up. I went from my usual 25 to a 26, and they’re still a little snug at first button, but no so much that I would size up unless, again, you’re going for slouch.

Let's talk SHORTS. Levi's 501 denim shorts to be exact. We're trying on high-rise, mid-rise & plus-size cutoffs, so *hopefully* you'll find your new Jean Shorts Of The Summer.

Levi’s Mid-Rise 501’s (or Amazon) – Indigo Avenue wash; size up at least one | Pink Floyd Tee (similar) | Paul Green High Tops — SO freaking buttery soft, lightweight and comfy right out of the box; TTS (on super sale here — sizes going fast — or here)

Linzi’s Levi’s Shorts Pick

I’m another non-shorts gal. The last time I wore cutoffs in public was my sophomore year in college, and I think even THEN I was self-conscious about the amount of skin I was showing. I wear denim so much, though, that I really would like to find a pair that I feel comfortable in. For reference, I typically wear a size 27 in most denim brands. I liked the way the high-rise 501s looked (the best fit being a size 29—the 28 was WAY too small!), but they had a bit of a funny pooch thing going on in the front that didn’t work for me. I tried the mid-rise Levi’s 501s in a 28 and 29, but both were too tight in the thighs, and although they maybe looked okay, I knew they were too snug for me to feel comfortable. The size 30 mid-rise in Indigo Avenue (wearing below) were the most comfortable, and I liked the slouchier feel, but as you can see there is a huge gap at the waist. I’m keeping them, though, to “test out”, but I don’t think they’re my perfect pair. I’ll have them taken in a bit at the waist and see if that’s my answer.

Levis 501 Shorts in Indigo Avenue or Here | Tee | Birks | Sunnies (similar)

Kat’s Levi’s Shorts Attempt

Finding a pair of jean shorts that fit just right and aren’t too short, is like finding a four-leaf clover: it’s a rarity. I only own one pair of shorts that I love, and I bought them at least five years ago at Maurice’s. I was so excited when the team decided to test out Levi’s 501 jean shorts, and when they arrived in the mail, I loved the look and the wash, but unfortunately, that was about it. The 501s run super-small — I ordered two sizes up, and they were still very tight. While I loved the daisy dukes cutoff style, the lack of hem didn’t work for me. In the short time that I had them on, they kept rolling up. Lastly, like Linzi and Scotti, I found that I had extra spacing in the waist on my backside. I so wanted to love the 501s, because I do love my Levi’s Wedgie jeans, but they were a no go for me. I think I will have to give Scotti’s recommendation of Good American shorts a try instead (I have my eye on the Good American A-Line denim shorts because they have a slightly longer length than the Bombshells). While the 501s aren’t keepers for me, I am going to keep looking for my four-leaf clover pair — fingers crossed that they will be the GA shorts! XX – Kat

Let's talk SHORTS. Levi's 501 denim shorts to be exact. We're trying on high-rise, mid-rise & plus-size cutoffs, so *hopefully* you'll find your new Jean Shorts Of The Summer.

Levis 501 Shorts (Plus Size) | Top | Sandals | Similar Bag

Shana’s Levi’s Shorts Pick

Denim cutoffs are kiiiiind of my thing. Additionally, the jeans I’ve been wearing the last few months happen to be Levi’s 501 (this pair specifically), so I figured that the 501 shorts would be an easy win.

Well. They were eventually a win, but not an easy one. Sizing is tricky.

Let's talk SHORTS. Levi's 501 denim shorts to be exact. We're trying on high-rise, mid-rise & plus-size cutoffs, so *hopefully* you'll find your new Jean Shorts Of The Summer.


LEFT: Levi’s 501 Original Shorts in Luxor Lift, size 26 – This original fit is more of a mid-rise, 100% cotton, and seems to be a bit shorter and tighter overall than the other pair. I’m wearing my regular size (26) and they are much too tight.

RIGHT: Levi’s 501 High-Rise Shorts in Fault Line, size 26 – These are actually the same pair of shorts Scotti tried on. The high-rise fit is not as tight as the originals, but my usual size is still much too tight. I also don’t recommend this wash — I had to fold up the white pockets to keep them from peeking out of the holes. I do like the extra peek of skin, but you’d have to tack the pockets up somehow.


LEFT: Levi’s 501 High-Rise Shorts in Fault Line, size 27 – this seems to be my size for almost all Levis. I do like the vintage vibes, and while they still read short, there’s no actual danger of my bum peeking out. I also appreciate that the waist isn’t super tiny, so my softer stomach isn’t squeezed in like a sausage. These shorts are surprisingly comfortable, too.

RIGHT: Levi’s 501 High-Rise Shorts in Fault Line, size 28 – I was wondering if going up three sizes would result in some sort of boyfriend-short-perfection, but these actually look cuter in the photo than in real life.


I think I’m going to keep the Levis 501 High-Rise Shorts in Fault Line, size 27. I didn’t think I’d love high-rise shorts in the summer, but these are comfortable on my stomach and not too hot, either. They feel very much like my beloved AGoldE Parker shorts, but are almost half the cost. They also feel like shorts that would just get more comfortable over time (I’m tempted to try Julieta’s bathtub trick). My exact Levi’s are also available at There’s a ton of other washes too, and – true to Levi’s form – they all look great.

Let's talk SHORTS. Levi's 501 denim shorts to be exact. We're trying on high-rise, mid-rise & plus-size cutoffs, so *hopefully* you'll find your new Jean Shorts Of The Summer.

tee (size 1) | shorts (27) | birks

Cam’s Levi’s Shorts Pick

I’ve been a Levi’s 501 gal for a few years now. I thought I’d feel like I was trying too hard in them when I first ordered a pair, but soon realized they actually are that one thing I can always depend on to make me feel young-ish when I put them on. There’s something about the classic look and feel of them that just works. I LOVE THEM. I decided to try out two different pairs this time around to see which I liked better and well, ha! Of course, I am really into both of them. The pair on the left (below) is everything I need to get my Stefani fix (I pretend I’m her on the reg, if you didn’t know). The pair on the right is the perfect Summer jean. I said it. It’s true!

BTW: I have found that they work better if I go up a size (I am in between sizes, really, so instead of a 27 I went with a 28)…perfect slouch, great length and they just get comfier and comfier throughout the day. I honestly can’t think of what else to say about Levi’s 501s. They are *that* short to me – basically, I wear little else during the warmer months (well, a shirt, of course).

Let's talk SHORTS. Levi's 501 denim shorts to be exact. We're trying on high-rise, mid-rise & plus-size cutoffs, so *hopefully* you'll find your new Jean Shorts Of The Summer.

shorts on left, also available here (wearing 28, up one size from norm) | tee (if you like slouchy, go up…I could wear a Large for more slouch) | boots (also available here)

shorts on right, also available here + here (wearing 28, up one size from norm) | tank | sandals, available in different colors here

What do you want to see us all try next?


Team TME


  1. Thank you for the great jean short group review! How about next time bras or bralettes. Another difficult item to buy with all the cuts of summer tops.

  2. I would love to see a review of prescription glasses and frame styles, especially those that can be purchased online. Due to a heavy allergy season I have had to layoff the contacts, so my glasses are my most-visible-wearable on work Zooms.

  3. Laura–wear the shorts! Those look AMAZE on you! I have a really hard time finding Levis–jeans and shorts that work on me, which is such a bummer because they are so timeless. Scotti and Linzi– a little nip in the waist will be perfect–they look awesome on you!! Kat–love that whole outfit on you but i hear ya and I’m with ya….comfort is key! Cam, 501s were made for you!! So cute, and Shana..cutoffs are kinda your summer signature and the 501s are fresh, but I’m always going to dig the One Teaspoon ones you tried a few years ago—FAB on you! Nice work ladies!!

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