Long Denim Shorts: I Tried 11 Pairs From Levi’s, AGOLDE, Abercrombie, Free People & More

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There’s something about those long denim shorts, guys. Something just…drawing me in. I think it’s the promise of comfort while seated (no thighs sticking to the backs of chairs), or maybe the relative safety of the length. No risk of peeking cheeks.

While I’ve always been a shorty-short cut-off kind of girl (‘denim underwear’ is the joke), and still am, for the most part, I find myself intrigued by the longer denim short styles that are trending. There’s such a range, too…from mid-length jean shorts, to denim Bermuda shorts to — even — a wide-leg pair so long on my 5’2″ frame that I’m calling ’em gauchos.

In short? I tried on 11 pairs of denim shorts with inseams ranging from 3″ (we’re calling ’em long-ish) to a whopping 13″ inches.

The Try-On: 11 Pairs Of Long Denim Shorts

Originally, since I’m such a fan of super-short denim shorts, I thought my best bet would be the mid-length denim short. As it turns out, the mid-length pairs were the ones most likely to make me feel mumsy. While I did love the shorter 3-4″ inseams (no one is surprised), I was shocked by how much I ended up liking (and keeping!! who am I??) the realllllly long denim shorts. The pairs with an 8″ inseam and up, however, felt very intentional (almost, dare I say, directional?) and there was a cool factor that surprised me.

One thing that wasn’t surprising? In general, I prefer long shorts with a loose, boyfriend vibe, rather than the skinny Bermuda shorts that became popular several years ago.

So. Below are the 11 pairs of long denim shorts I tried. My top two (in the long category) are the Pistola distressed denim shorts, and Anine Bing’s Wide-Leg Denim Shorts (aka the gauchos).

That said, if you’re looking for a pair of denim shorts that vibes like a shorty-short but offers a bit more coverage, Free People’s Makai Shorts (with a 4″ inseam) is my top pick.

1. Anine Bing Gavin Wide-Leg Denim Shorts

Anine Bing's wide-leg denim shorts were the biggest surprise of the bunch. These are decidedly a fashion-girl version of long denim shorts & I'm here for it.

cami (s) | shorts (27) | sandals

Inseam: 13″

Anine Bing’s wide-leg denim shorts were the biggest surprise of the bunch. I love how they manage to feel both tailored and, thanks to the torn hemlines and low-rise, nonchalant, too. These are decidedly a fashion-girl version of long denim shorts, and I’m here for it.

That said, these probably won’t be my first choice once the temps hit 90 degrees, but I’ve been having a ton of fun styling these up. They look amazing with heels (a unique twist for date night) and could even be worn to work (in a casual, fashion-forward office).

Anine Bing's wide-leg denim shorts look amazing with heels (a unique twist for date night) and could even be worn to work (in a casual, fashion-forward office).

shorts (27)


2. Pistola High-Rise Distressed Long Shorts

I love that the Pistola High-Rise distressed shorts have that borrowed-from-your-boyfriend vibe & are super soft. It's hard to tell in these pics (I'm pretty straight up-and-down), but the waistband is a little nipped in. For shorts that are, technically, high-rise, they are ridiculously comfortable.

cami (s) | shorts (27) | sandals

Inseam: 8″

These high-rise distressed shorts were the other pleasant surprise! I’ve never worn Pistola denim before and was really impressed. Fun fact: their tagline is, “Top quality materials, killer fits, and prices that aren’t completely insane.” Which, OK. After the Anine Bing shorts above, fair enough.

I love that the shorts have that borrowed-from-your-boyfriend vibe and are super soft. It’s hard to tell in these pics (I’m pretty straight up-and-down), but the waistband is a little nipped in. For shorts that are, technically, high-rise, they are ridiculously comfortable.

I love that the Pistola High-Rise distressed shorts have that borrowed-from-your-boyfriend vibe & are super soft. It's hard to tell in these pics (I'm pretty straight up-and-down), but the waistband is a little nipped in. For shorts that are, technically, high-rise, they are ridiculously comfortable.

shorts (27)


3. AGOLDE 90s Frayed Denim Shorts

I’ve always been a shorty-short cut-offs kind of girl & still am, but I'm intrigued by the long denim shorts trend. So I tried 11 pairs -- from Levi's to Anine Bing.

cami (s) | shorts (27) | sandals

Inseam: 10″

While these AGOLDE 90s shorts look reasonably cute on, they are the denim shorts equivalent of a straight jacket. And that rear view is giving me flashbacks to guys drinking around a campfire sometime in the 90s. So. There’s that.

I’ve always been a shorty-short cut-offs kind of girl & still am, but I'm intrigued by the long denim shorts trend. So I tried 11 pairs -- from Levi's to Anine Bing.

shorts (27)


4. MOTHER The Undercover Frayed Knee-Length Denim Shorts

I’ve always been a shorty-short cut-offs kind of girl & still am, but I'm intrigued by the long denim shorts trend. So I tried 11 pairs -- from Levi's to Anine Bing.

cami (s) | shorts (27) | sandals

Inseam: 11″

MOTHER Denim has completely lost their flipping mind. I am wearing (checks tags) a size 27. This is my normal size. Nay, this is my normal, post-COVID size. Meaning that I also sometimes wear a size 26.

Either MOTHER Denim is having some serious quality control issues or they’re messing with us. Either way, it’s annoying.


5. Lucky Brand ’90s Loose Denim Shorts

These Lucky Brand '90s Loose Denim shorts are cute, soft & comfy. They also come in a distressed light wash, too.

cami (s) | shorts (4) | sandals

Inseam: 7″

These Lucky Brand shorts are cute, soft and comfy. They also come in a distressed light wash, too. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these shorts. But for some reason…I was ‘meh’.

These Lucky Brand '90s Loose Denim shorts are cute, soft & comfy. They also come in a distressed light wash, too.

shorts (4)


6. Citizens Of Humanity Camilla High-Rise Bermuda Shorts

The Camilla High-Rise Bermuda are another pair of suuuuuper soft shorts.  I appreciate the slight boyfriend vibes & the light distressing. These are similar to the Pistolas, but with less distressing + a slightly lower rise. If you're looking for comfort, though, Citizen Of Humanity is a pretty safe bet.

cami (s) | shorts (27) | sandals

Inseam: 7″

The Camilla High-Rise Bermuda are another pair of suuuuuper soft shorts. Once again, I appreciate the slight boyfriend vibes and the light distressing. These are similar to the Pistolas, but with less distressing and a slightly lower rise. If you are looking for comfort, though, Citizen Of Humanity is a pretty safe bet.

The Camilla High-Rise Bermuda are another pair of suuuuuper soft shorts.  I appreciate the slight boyfriend vibes & the light distressing. These are similar to the Pistolas, but with less distressing + a slightly lower rise. If you're looking for comfort, though, Citizen Of Humanity is a pretty safe bet.

shorts (27)


7. Levi’s 501 Mid-Thigh Shorts

I’ve always been a shorty-short cut-offs kind of girl & still am, but I'm intrigued by the long denim shorts trend. So I tried 11 pairs -- from Levi's to Anine Bing.

cami (s) | shorts (28) | sandals

Inseam: 5.5″

Since Levi’s 501s are basically the jeans I live in all spring/summer/fall…I thought I was going to LOVE these mid-thigh shorts. Instead, these are the shorts that made me feel the most mumsy. They aren’t quite comfortable enough (although they do soften with wear), and I think I just needed more distressing or more something. There’s nothing wrong here, just…again…meh.

I’ve always been a shorty-short cut-offs kind of girl & still am, but I'm intrigued by the long denim shorts trend. So I tried 11 pairs -- from Levi's to Anine Bing.

shorts (28)


8. AGOLDE Parker Long Shorts With Cuff

I’ve always been a shorty-short cut-offs kind of girl & still am, but I'm intrigued by the long denim shorts trend. So I tried 11 pairs -- from Levi's to Anine Bing.

cami (s) | shorts (26) | sandals

Inseam: 4.5″

Everyone keeps raving about AGOLDE Parker long shorts. I’m a huge fan of the regular (short hem) Parker shorts, so thought these would be an easy win.

Nope. Turns out, nothing is easy in the world of denim.

OK, so: while it’s tough to see in the photo, these shorts flare out at the ends (almost like a skirt) and the volume is just too much for my skinny legs. If, however, you are looking for shorts with a wider leg opening, then these would be fantastic.

I’ve always been a shorty-short cut-offs kind of girl & still am, but I'm intrigued by the long denim shorts trend. So I tried 11 pairs -- from Levi's to Anine Bing.

shorts (26)


9. Free People Makai Jean Shorts

I’ve always been a shorty-short cut-offs kind of girl & still am, but I'm intrigued by the long denim shorts trend. So I tried 11 pairs -- from Levi's to Anine Bing.

cami (s) | shorts (27) | slides

Inseam: 4″

Maureen from Social Threads called. “We’re sending you some shorts,” she said. “Everyone loves them – we can barely keep them stocked.” I get it. Free People does denim shorts really, really well (I’ve been wearing their ‘denim underwear’ for years), and these 4″ Makai jean shorts are pretty great. They’re super-soft, have a bit of stretch, and the wash is perfection — not too light, not too dark. I also appreciate the little split seam at the hem. That makes them really comfortable to walk in. I think they run a tiny bit small.

ps. When you shop at Social Threads, not only is shipping always free, but you’re also supporting a small business run by two moms.

I’ve always been a shorty-short cut-offs kind of girl & still am, but I'm intrigued by the long denim shorts trend. So I tried 11 pairs -- from Levi's to Anine Bing.

shorts (27)


10. Abercrombie Mom Shorts, 4″

The Abercrombie Mom shorts are the shortest of the bunch. I sized up one from my usual to get that slouchy, boyfriend look.

cami (s) | shorts (28) | sandals

Inseam: 4″

The Abercrombie Mom shorts are the shortest of the bunch and predictably, like the Makai jean shorts above, I also like these. They are not quite as soft as the Free People shorts, however. I also sized up one size from my usual to get that slouchy, boyfriend look.

The Abercrombie Mom shorts are the shortest of the bunch. I sized up one from my usual to get that slouchy, boyfriend look.

shorts (28)


11. rag & bone Nina High-Rise Jean Shorts

I realize that a 3" inseam is hardly long...but it's decidedly longer than the shorts I'm used to wearing. And these rag & bone Nina High-Rise shorts are soft, stretchy + very comfortable.

cami (s) | shorts (27) | sandals

Inseam: 3″

While I realize that a 3″ inseam is hardly long…it is still decidedly longer than the shorts I’m used to wearing. And these rag & bone Nina High-Rise shorts are soft, stretchy, and very comfortable. That said…they’re a little boring for me.

I realize that a 3" inseam is hardly long...but it's decidedly longer than the shorts I'm used to wearing. And these rag & bone Nina High-Rise shorts are soft, stretchy + very comfortable.

shorts (27)


Have you guys been interested in the longer denim shorts trend? I’d love to know which pairs are your go-tos, especially if you’ve figured out the styling. And I’m interested to hear if you think I should cut the Anine Bing shorts juuuuust an inch or so shorter, of if I should just lean into the gaucho length.

xo,

S

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6 COMMENTS

  1. You are the second blogger I’ve seen tryon and the FP Makai and I think I’m going to have to give them a try as well. I think those look cute on you. As far as long denim shorts, being an AG fan, I’m interested in trying the AG Nikki destructed shorts. While we are on denim shorts, I recently purchased the 7 for all mankind monroe and they are amazing. Loving the exposed button fly.

  2. Thank you for this. I can really appreciate that you have to coordinate purchasing 11 pairs of shorts, possibly in multiple sizes, try them on, take photos, etc. But you should know that this exercise is extremely helpful, at least to me. The one thing I would ask is that you include the width of the leg. I have thicker legs and these will look completely different on me–which is fine–but knowing the width of the opening will let me eliminate any that will be snug on me in that area.

    I also think you look best in the short shorts you wear. You look great in all of these, but IMHO you look best in the shorter shorts.

  3. I have the AG Nikki destructed, it hurt me to pay that much for shorts, but they are the best jean shorts I’ve every owned. I did put patches under some of the destructed part to make them last.

  4. If I had your cute figure, I’d wear Daisy Dukes every damn day. Ditch the long shorts. Go with the denim underwear!

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