styling denim short, white jean shorts, stripe sweater, summer outfit ideas

Shorts season is upon us, and I am so ready! While I wear lots of dresses with sandals during the warm months, you might be surprised to learn that I actually love a denim shorts and oversized shirt combo. Since my posts on how to style wide leg jeans and fall denim were such a hit, I wanted to do a similar post about denim shorts. Today I am breaking down what I consider to be the five best jean shorts of 2024. This list includes a great mix of washes, lengths, and styles. I’m also going to discuss sizing details and ways to style each pair, so you’ll be warm-weather ready!

What I’m Looking For

Before sharing the five best jean shorts, I wanted to touch on exactly what I was searching for…

  1. A variety of cuts and styles. As we all know, different silhouettes and washes work better with different tops. For this reason, I like to have an assortment of denim shorts styles in my closet. I was searching for a mix of lengths, a range of washes, and a variety of cuts – both distressed and clean.
  2. White jean shorts. I feel like this is often the hardest pair to find. So, I was on the hunt for a new pair of white denim to love!
  3. Quality and comfort. These are two of the biggest determining factors for me. I want pieces that are going to wash up well, last for years, and make me look and feel my best.

How I Found the Best Jean Shorts

I knew if I wanted to find the best jean shorts, it was going to take time, a ton of orders, and unfortunately, lots of trips to the post office for returns. Considering denim shorts are as much of a summer staple piece as swimwear, I really wanted to do it right. So, I ordered 25 different pairs to try! Products often look and feel different than you’d expect. And there is always the possibility of sizing irregularities. I figured I should proceed with caution and try on an abundance of options to really hone in on the best!

Overall Best Jean Shorts Brand

I’m going to dive into my top five favorites below. But first, I wanted to highlight the best jean shorts brand. Overall, AGOLDE denim was the clear winner in this category for me. I touched on this brand in my guides covering how to style wide-leg jeans and fall denim. Surprisingly, those AGOLDE styles didn’t work out. But when it came to denim shorts, I found this brand to be excellent quality and offer some of my favorite fits and washes.

Five Best Jean Shorts

After lots of trial and error, and shimmying in and out of shorts, I was able to narrow it down to my top five. I’m going to break it into categories and share my favorite for each, as well as touch on sizing details and how I would style each pair.

agolde black long denim, oversized shirt, pointy flats, best denim shorts

1. Best Longer Length Pair

Longer length denim shorts are currently trending, and I am here for it. You may have seen me wearing this dark denim pair on Instagram stories. It’s my current favorite in this category, and I especially love how they look cuffed! They have a high-rise with a button fly opening. They come in this great denim wash, this trendy lighter wash, and this black rinse. I opted for the black, and I love that they can feel a bit dressier than most denim shorts. Recently, I have been wearing them paired with these pointy flats and this oversized denim shirt and this new bag

Sizing Details

I found this pair of denim to fit true to size. They are made of 100% cotton, so bear in mind that they don’t have any stretch. They are also a slightly heavy-weight denim. 

2. Best Distressed Jean Shorts

denim shorts, levi 501, ralph lauren blazer, stripe shirt
jean shorts, adidas gazelle outfit, cutoff denim, navy blazer, preppy outfit

If you are looking for a shorter style that is a bit more casual, look no further than a classic pair of Levi’s. These 501 denim shorts are the shortest shorts on the list. They are also the cheapest, coming in at under $75. I actually own these shorts in multiple washes, (including this wash), and I bought my first pair years ago (seen them styled here). Clearly, they have more than earned their spot on the best jean shorts list!

When styling, I love the juxtaposition of a shorter short with a longer, more voluminous top tucked in. I have been wearing my Levi’s with this oversized button-down and classic pair of Chanel ballet flats or sneakers. If you’re on the hunt for great flats, be sure to check out this roundup of my current favorite ballet flats. These shorts also look great with a simple tank, strappy sandals, and layered jewelry.

Sizing Details

In my opinion, these fit very true to size. They have a 2.5’’ inseam and a mid-rise fit. These are also 100% cotton, so there won’t be much stretch or give!

3. Best Retro Denim

alemais printed top, kori platform sandal, pistola, vintage earrings
blue outfit, cable sweater, printed blouse ootd, prada leather bag

These lighter wash denim shorts have a high rise and a clean hem, causing them to give off that 80s denim feel I love. I plan on wearing mine with a cropped stripe tee and Gazelle sneakers (here are some additional Adidas Gazelle outfit ideas!) I love a fun, sporty look like this in primary colors. But, you could also take these shorts in a completely different direction by pairing them with a funky top, platform sandals and a bright bag

Sizing Details

Once again, these are 100% cotton, with little to no stretch, and fit true to size. They are a high-rise denim, and the inseam is 4’’, making them more of a mid-length short. As you know, I love my Pistola high-rise ankle jeans, as seen here and here. So it is no surprise I fell in love with these as well!

4. Best Loose Fitting Pair

tnuck stripe mia top, agolde, stripe look for summer

The Parker fit in long is another AGOLDE pair worthy of making the best jean shorts list. I ended up getting these in both the black wash and a mid blue wash, and I love them both! The Parker does also come in a shorter cut. However, when it comes to shorter denim, I prefer Levi’s 501s. While these shorts can be styled so many different ways, at the moment I love pairing them with a stripe top and coordinating stripe bag.

Sizing Details

Some of the reviews stated that these denim shorts run large, but I took my normal size. They are meant to be a loose fit, which I like. I’m guessing some reviewers wanted a tighter fit, and this is why they recommended sizing down. They have a high rise with a 4’’ inseam. The measurements and fits are similar to the Pistola denim shorts listed above. However, the wash and seam details make these two shorts feel very different from one another. 

5. Best White Jean Shorts

white denim shorts, fisherman sweater, raffia bag
white jean shorts, platform loafers, pearl earrings, classic look

Is there anything harder to shop for than white denim? Some are too sheer, some feel too tight and revealing, and some are a dirty looking wash. After trying on over six pairs of white denim, this one was the winner! I knew I wanted a high-rise, cleaner, non-distressed pair of white denim shorts, and I wanted them to have a 4’’ inseam (at minimum). These ticked all the boxes, making them the best pair of white jean shorts. I am loving the vest trend and feel like these shorts would look darling with this lightweight summer vest and these chic ivory sandals. I styled them here with these shoes and a fisherman sweater.

Sizing Details

This denim fits true to size, has a high rise, and has an inseam just a touch longer than 4’’. But, unlike the others, this short does have 2% elastane. So these have a fair amount of stretch to them!

Favorite Denim Shorts

Are you a jean shorts gal during the warm months, or do you prefer wearing dresses with sandals? Maybe a mix of both, like me? If you’re looking for additional spring and summer outfit inspiration, head on over to my posts on the best one piece swimwear, Adidas Gazelle outfit ideas, the spring bag edit, and my 40 favorite strappy sandals.