What Are Midi Shorts?


What are midi shorts? Mid-length? Mid-rise? What does that phrase mean? Isn’t the word “shorts” already complicated enough without adorning it with ‘midi’?

OK, Mamas. If you can’t fathom the idea of wearing Shana’s denim underwear, which by the way look amazing on her, you may already be in “midi shorts territory”. ‘Midi shorts’ is just a term given to mid-length shorts. Those that cover your bum and your thighs without getting into long Bermuda shorts territory. I know, thanks to last year’s “mom shorts” controversy, that many of us want that.

Midi shorts are not something you’ll find an easy definition of on Google. There are questions in forums, or specific retailers that offer a “midi short”, but this is what I gathered and can tell about midi shorts: Midi shorts are shorts with an inseam of over 3 inches. American Eagle and Hollister are some of the retailers with an actual “midi shorts” category. I remember when I first moved to the states, and I relied on American Eagle midi shorts. I used to have every color and wash because I hated taking the NYC subway wearing super-short shorts. I’m Latina, and even though I’m slim, I have thick thighs for my body, and the looks you get from people on the train are not nice. So, I’ve always looked for a short inseam that I can feel comfortable in.

What’s a Good Mid-length?

How to Find the Right Pair of Midi Shorts

In my opinion, it all depends on your body and your preferences. It’s not advisable to just stick to a specific inseam because of what you think is appropriate or not. A 5″ pair of shorts would look great on a tall person, but on a petite it may be too long and give the impression of even shorter legs. You know what they say: “The shorter you are, the shorter you can go.” I’ve found that my perfect inseam length is 3″. It still helps my short legs to look long while keeping what I want covered. On the picture above, I’m wearing shorts with a 3.54″ inseam, but I’m going to hem them to 3″. They would look better in my opinion.

If for some reason you want a longer inseam, try to get a color that doesn’t contrast too harshly with the skin tone of your leg. That will only make you look shorter, or if you do, keep your shoes in a nude color for some leg lengthening.

Keep the Rise in Mind

I was able to find midi shorts with low and high rises. I only go for high rises due to: 1). my mommy tummy and 2). my short legs. A high-rise with a not-so-long pair of shorts makes me look taller. But if you happen to be short-waisted or have legs for days and don’t want to accentuate that, a lower-rise is a safe bet.

A Trick for Denim Shorts

Let’s be honest, most denim shorts are on the shorter side. A trick you could do is to buy those that are cuffed. I love cuffed shorts because they usually come with 5-6″ of uncuffed inseam. You can modify the cuff or crop them to your preference. If the cuff is stitched, grab a pair of scissors and cut it, uncuff and give it a good press.

Now let’s get into the fun. I took on the task of looking for shorts with longer inseam lengths, as it’s not as easy to look them up as midi shorts unless it’s American Eagle, Abercrombie or Hollister, and well…let’s say that they are not my favorite places to get shorts from.

Shop Midi Denim Shorts

It seems like most brands have at least one style of shorts with a mid-length inseam. My favorite pair right now are these Levi’s long shorts (the ones in the first pic). I alter the length to my preference depending on what I’m wearing them with. I’m thinking of cropping them though.

Shop Non-denim Midi  Shorts

My two favorite places for dressier or non-denim shorts are J.crew and Mango. They have great designs and the prices are good. I’m especially obsessed with these leather ones with almost 4″ inseam length.

What are your thoughts on midi-shorts? Where do you stand when it comes to short’s length? Would love to know your thoughts.

Chao, chao. Julieta

Now let’s hang out on Instagram @theunbosom for more high-rise shorts, jeans, and a real and vulnerable take on postpartum style and motherhood. I’m a believer that social media shouldn’t be to document only the good things.


  1. I Love this post! I’ve been so frustrated by the inseam on shorts, especially denim! I am 5’10” with big thighs and a 3-inch inseam is just indecent on me. I love higher rises, too, so thanks for including some here. And, you look great!

  2. Madewell has really done an amazing job this year with the high rise shorts with a slightly longer inseam. They have a bit of stretch and keep heir shape. I *love* mine.

  3. This is the most helpful summer TME post you’ve ever had! Thank you for all the detail. At this point in the summer I get so frustrated with shorts I just start wearing cotton dresses. Inseam is the most important factor I look at when choosing shorts. And being long-legged, it’s a very important factor if I don’t want to look like I’m dressing too young for my age. Not to mention thighs sticking to seats, crotches riding up, having to size up, etc etc. Ugh! Shorts!

  4. This is so helpful. I am the same height and weight as you and I just don’t like the shorty shorts but have been so frustrated trying to find any shorts this summer. Thanks!

  5. Oh my gosh, this article was serendipity!! I’m on vacay, getting dressed for dinner and trying on shorts and debating on which ones to wear!! I too prefer the 3” length. I’m 5’5” with long legs and just like the shorter length. I’m 56 and as long as my legs look good I’m wearing them!! Great post!!

  6. I’m so glad you included info for different body types! I am short waisted with long legs (and not knowledgeable about fashion), and your article finally made it click for me why high waisted shorts make me feel awkward!

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