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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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