J.Crew Chino Shorts Are Back: Do We Like Them?

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I’ve been staring at J.Crew’s chino shorts for weeks now. They bring me back to the summer days of my youth, when I’d wear seersucker bikinis during the day and J.Crew’s rollneck sweaters with itty-bitty chino shorts (rolled up, of course), by night.

Frankly, I’m not sure what prompted me to suddenly give these preppy shorts another look — perhaps it’s the resurgence of the Coastal Grandmother trend (a trend I usually want nothing to do with), or maybe it’s just because I’ve also been feeling rather nostalgic about my old, beat-up Sperry loafers too.

Northern Michigan — where I grew up — used to be, or maybe still is, very preppy. So maybe there’s just some core memory thing going on, trigged by J.Crew bikinis, cotton sweaters and…cute little khaki shorts.

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.
Definitely how I used to wear them.

top | shorts | flip-flops

This time around, however, I want my chino shorts to be a little different — I want something a little more modern. While I certainly remember wearing them tight and suuuuper-short (like the photo above), now I’m looking for a slouchier, more nonchalant look. Almost like I’m borrowing Mike’s shorts (but wayyyyyy more flattering, haha).

Preppy Summer Nostalgia: J.Crew Chino Shorts Try-On (+ 4 Outfit Ideas)

Happily, J.Crew, in addition to bringing back the exact same chino shorts I remember wearing (in varying lengths), now has a pleated pair that — I can’t believe I’m saying this — look seriously cool, as well as a patch-pocket pair that seem like an easy win.

So. The big question: Do we actually like these shorts??

To figure this out, I’m trying on each pair (multiple sizes) with my most-worn tank & flip-flops, just to get an overall feel for fit & vibe. Then, I’m styling them up four different ways. These four outfits aren’t necessarily my most exciting, but that was on purpose. I’m trying to see if these shorts are actually something I’d reach for in an everyday situation.

OK. Let’s do this.

1. J.Crew Pleated Capeside Chino Shorts

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.
Size 4 on the left, size 6 on the right.

top | shorts | flip-flops

Now THIS is the fresh, modern take I was hoping for! The pleats and slightly longer length of the Capeside chino shorts definitely feel a little fresher, although the pair on the right (above) could *almost* feel overwhelming. In each of these photos, I’m trying on both a size 4 (on the left) and size 6 (on the right).

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.

top | shorts | flip-flops

For this particular pair, I think rolling them might be the right combination of effortless/sexy that I was hoping for. The fabric is bananas soft, and I’m wearing the color Olive Sand.

While I can’t tell a huge difference between the size 4 and 6…the back view doesn’t lie:

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.

top | shorts | flip-flops

Hmmmm.


2. J.Crew Flat-Front Chino Shorts, 5″ Inseam

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.

top | shorts | flip-flops

OK! These are the exact same chino shorts of yesteryear, but I bought them slightly longer (with a 5-inch inseam). Once again, size 4 is on the left, size 6 is on the right, and the color is Olive Sand. And once again, the bum doesn’t lie:

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.

top | shorts | flip-flops

That said, I think I prefer the size 6 in this style. While the pleated chinos you could take your regular size OR size up…in this pair, I’d probably size up one size.


3. J.Crew Patch-Pocket Chino Shorts

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.

top | shorts (6) | flip-flops

While these shorts do come in Olive Sand, I wanted the fun gingham print. This pair isn’t as soft as the other two, but that might just be the printed version. I must’ve felt very confident about sizing, because I only ordered the 6. Love ’em.

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.

top | shorts | flip-flops


To Get A Read On The Vibe: 4 Outfit Ideas With J.Crew’s Chino Shorts

OK. While I’m definitely keeping the gingham patch-pocket pair, I have decisions to make about the other two. Not only am I trying to decide if I’m even a chino-shorts kind of girl, but I’ve also gotta decide between the old classic flat-front and the pleats (as well as the size).

So. I threw them each on with a few of my usual outfits, just to get a read on vibe. In the below photos, I’m trying on the flat-front chino shorts in size 6 and the pleated chino shorts in size 4.

1. With A Crisp White Button-Up

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.

left shorts (6) | right shorts (4)

top (S) | flip-flops | bag | sunglasses

While the flat-front shorts look like they “go” with this outfit…that’s kinda why I think I prefer the rolled, pleated chino shorts.

Also, this white button-up is a gem. It’s just J.Crew, but the details are so seriously good that it looks really high end. I tried two sizes, and the key is that it’s gotta fit nicely over your shoulders. So if you have smaller shoulders, you’re fine in whatever size, but if you have bigger shoulders, you might want to try a size up (otherwise the sleeves look like wings, haha).


2. With A White Tee & Tan Sandals

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.

left shorts (6) | right shorts (4)

tee (S) | sandals | bag | bracelet

Ohhhhhh, yeah. Here we go. I love how the pleated chinos on the right look almost slouchy-army-guy-inspired. And I also love that these shorts totally work with three of my most-worn pieces: a fave white tee, a bag and sandals.


3. With A Cropped Black Sweatshirt

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.

left shorts (6) | right shorts (4)

sweatshirt (XS) | sneakers | bag

This is the late-summer outfit I’d wear when we start getting cooler mornings/evenings. I actually like both pairs here. Not necessarily a clear winner, although those baggy pleated shorts are still feeling pretty fresh.


4. With A Navy Half-Zip Pullover

J.Crew chino shorts bring me back to summer days of my youth, but do I actually like them?? I'm trying them w/ 4 outfits to see if they fit my everyday style.

left shorts (6) | right shorts (4)

half-zip (M)| sneakers | sunglasses

Hmmmm. The outfit on the right looks a little more rumpled than the outfit on the left. I think I’m OK with that, though; although I’ll admit the flat-front chino shorts might *technically* win this round.


OK. I’m keeping the shorts. I’m 98% sure I’m going with the pleated chino shorts in the size 4…but I’m going to try on the size 6 one more time just to see.

Thoughts? Where are you guys on the khaki shorts thing?

xo,

S

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