The first time I tried Levi’s 501 shorts, I didn’t like them. I think I was looking for instant gratification — you know, those insanely soft and comfy denim shorts that feel like you’ve worn a million times from the first time you put them on.
But you know what happens to shorts that are already so worn-in and thin? They don’t last. Like even for a season. (Trust me, I’ve bought a few.)
And after Levi’s 501 cropped jeans became a worn-in go-to of mine, I thought I’d give the shorts another try. Or maybe Shana forced me into trying them again? Either way, the fact remains that Levi’s 501 shorts get better with every.
The Timeless Appeal of Levi’s 501 Shorts
There’s something classic and cool about Levi’s shorts. Dress them up (with a flowy blouse and wedges) or down (with a T-shirt and sneakers) or wear them as a cover-up to the beach. Levi’s 501 shorts are just an essential summer wardrobe staple. There’s a reason they’ve been an iconic go-to for years: they’re effortless, comfy, and basically go with everything in the closet from bodysuits to hoodies, sneakers to heels.
The drawback is, like most Levi’s jeans, you have to break them in. And while it can be a pain, the end result is so worth it. Kind of like my favorite Birkenstocks which were definitely stiff the first few times I wore them, but are now hands-down the comfiest pair of shoes I own. And, just like those Birks, these Levi’s shorts mold to your body so you end up with a unique, personalized fit. (And they don’t stretch out and fall apart after one season).
They come in a bunch of different washes and colors (ooh, I love luxor baked) and some are more rigid than others. I’m wearing jazz solo in these pictures, a wash I found to be a bit softer than the others and without holes in compromising places. For example, I love the distressing on the fault line wash, but I realized quickly after trying them on that the hole in front was, um…a window to more than I wanted to show. (Shana and I both tried that pair in our first team try-on in 2020.)
I mean, do I love them as much as I love my favorite-denim-shorts-of-all-time, the AGOLDE Parker Cutoffs? No. But…it’s hard to justify that extra $100 price tag when the Levi’s are so good (especially at that under $30 sale price for the wash I’m wearing!).
As a side note, I have to (once again) shout out my favorite bra cami (brami?) that I wear with so many outfits now. I wear it under one-shoulder tops or camis with thin straps like this one when I don’t want to deal with a strapless bra. And although you can see the strap up close, it’s not that noticeable from far away–and the comfort is worth it.
So what about you guys? What are your favorite washes of the Levi’s 501 shorts? My two favorites are jazz solo (shown above) and Ojai (which you can see in our recent team try-on post). Here are a few more options for you!
Shop Levi’s 501 Shorts
photo credit: Terah Hoobler Photography