The Best Denim Shorts for Grown Women: 50+ Options, Size-Inclusive Options

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The best denim shorts for grown women by Wardrobe Oxygen

Denim shorts are a summertime classic, but not all denim shorts are created equal and not all denim shorts are what grown-ass women are looking for. Don't fret, I've gathered the best denim shorts for grown women for you to simplify your summer wardrobe shopping!

What Makes Denim Shorts Great for Grown Women?

I believe a woman can wear whatever she wants. The most stylish thing is confidence, and if it feels good rock it! However, there are some things a grown woman may look for when buying denim shorts:

  • Length: What length you want will vary on a lot of things, but most grown women desire a bit more length to offer coverage when bending over, chafe protection, and the ability to wear untucked tops without looking like they forgot to put on pants.
  • Fit: Since denim shorts are usually for casual situations, a grown woman may desire a denim short that is a bit more relaxed in fit and designed to retain shape and keep everything covered when squatting and sitting.
  • Style: While a grown woman may desire anything from distressed faded shorts to a dark rinse crisp pair of denim to a color with stretch, it's likely she would like a style that is on trend now and will still be on trend 1-3 summers from now. If it fits and looks great, it's nice to have it remain stylish beyond one season.

Considering not all grown women desire the same exact length, fit, and style in their denim shorts and that grown women come in all shapes and sizes, below I offer a variety of what I find to be the best denim shorts for grown women organized by category.

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The Best Denim Shorts for Grown Women

After trying many myself and doing a lot of research, below are what I deem to be some of the best denim shorts for grown women. Different length inseams, different fabric makeup, different details, and plenty of options in a range of sizes (plus size, petite, tall, and more!).

The Best Plus Size Denim Shorts

Why is it that the selection of denim shorts shrinks the larger the clothing size? With over 67% of American women wearing size 14 and larger and denim shorts being a wardrobe staple, it's ridiculous that the options are minimal and often poor quality and style. But I found some gems; below I share my picks for the best plus size denim shorts. Next to each number I offer the brand and the size range available:

the best plus size denim shorts

one (Levi's: 16-24) | two (Old Navy: 0-30) | three (Levi's: 16-24) | four (Universal Thread: 00-26) | five (SLINK Jeans: 14-24) | six (ELOQUII: 14-28) | seven (Levi's: 14-26) | eight (Levi's: 16-24) | nine (Lane Bryant: 14-38/40) | ten (Good American: 00-26) | eleven (Lane Bryant: 12-28) | twelve (Torrid: 10-30) | thirteen (Good American: 00-26)

For more options of great denim shorts in plus sizes, see the carousel below. Tap on an image and the shopping page will open in a separate window:

The Best Petite Denim Shorts

Sure, denim shorts come in a range of lengths, but petite women often fare better with denim shorts designed for petites with a shorter inseam and cuves in the places for a shorter torso. These are the best petite denim shorts I found on the internet (and some come in plus sizes!):

the best petite denim shorts

one (NYDJ: 00P-18P) | two (Gap: 24-30P) | three (Gap: 23-20P) | four (NYDJ: 0P-18P) | five (Gap: 24-30P) | six (Talbots: 0P-24P) | seven (Code Bleu: 2P-14P) | eight (Democracy: 2P-18P) | nine (LC Lauren Conrad: 0P-18P) | ten (Topshop: 0P-12P) | eleven (LOFT: 24-24 petite) | twelve (Ann Taylor: 00P-16P)

For more of the best petite denim shorts, check out the carousel below. Tap on an image and it will open in a separate browser window with additional information:

The Best Tall Denim Shorts for Women

While a lot of denim shorts come in longer inseams, tall women often find that long lengths aren't long enough in the rise for a great fit. Below I have found some of the best tall denim shorts for women:

the best tall denim shorts for women

one (ASOS: 0-16T) | two (Long Tall Sally: 4-22/24T) | three (New Look: 4-14T) | four (Eddie Bauer: 6-20T) | five (American Tall: 25-36T and 28-34 Extra Tall) | six (Gap Factory: 4-16T) | seven (a.n.a.: 2-20T) | eight (Long Tall Sally: 4-22/24T) | nine (Gap: 27-33T)

For more of the best tall denim shorts, check out the carousel below. Tap the image and a separate browsing window will open:

The Best Curvy Denim Shorts

I am not sure why, but shorts seem to fit differently from jeans, and a curvy fit is needed even more to be comfortable and have the shorts lie correctly. Luckily a lot of retailers now carry curvy fit. These are the best curvy fit denim shorts I've found:

the best curvy denim shorts for women

one (Lane Bryant: 12-28) | two (Madewell: 23-33 and 14W-20W) | three | four (NY&Co: 0-20) | five (Universal Thread: 00-24W) | six (J.Jill: 2-28W) | seven (Abercrombie: 23-37) | eight (Eddie Bauer: 0-24W) | nine (Talbots: 14-24) | ten (Universal Thread: 00-24W) | eleven (Lee: 24-32) | twelve (J.Jill XS-4X)

And if you deal with a gap in the small of your back when wearing jeans or denim shorts, this hack is very easy to do, even if you aren't the best sewist. No sewing machine needed, just a needle and thread, a piece of elastic, and two safety pins!

The Best Bermuda Denim Shorts

Let's face it, when we get older we see the benefit of a longer short like Bermuda shorts. They can look polished, they offer modesty, look nice with looser tops, prevent chub rub, and have been a classic for years. Here are some of the best Bermuda denim shorts I've found:

the best bermuda shorts for women

one (Karen Kane: 2-16) | two (Chico's: 0-20/22) | three (Talbots: 2-24) | four (Wit & Wisdom: 00-18) | five (Jen7 by 7 For All Mankind: 0-12) | six (SLINK Jeans: 14-24W) | seven (Sonoma: 2-18) | eight (Jessica Simpson: 25-32 and 14W-24W) | nine (Karen Kane: 2-16) | ten (Banana Republic: 24-35)

Longer shorts are in style this season, so you should be able to find plenty of styles that have a 9″ or longer inseam. No need to be specifically a Bermuda style; choose the length that works the best for your frame and personal style aesthetic. Here are some more great Bermuda and longer shorts:

The Best Refined Denim Shorts

Shorts don't have to be reserved for the most casual of situations. Especially this summer, shorts are being paired with dressier tops and made the bottom half of suits. You'll find sailor-inspired denim shorts, paperbag waists, ironed-in creases, crisp washes and rich colors that will look more polished than your typical jean shorts. Here are some I found:

the best dressy denim shorts

one (Trina Turk: XS-L) | two (Westbound: 4-18) | three (Chico's: 0-20/22) | four (JAG: 14W-24W) | five (White House Black Market: 00-18) | six (Emporio Armani: 0-10) | seven (White House Black Market: 00-18) | eight (NYDJ: 00-18) | nine (BB Dakota: XS-XL) | ten (White House Black Market: 00-18)

Look for denim without the yellow stitching, free of frayed edges and distressing. Tencel and chambray can provide a more refined look than traditional denim, as can saturated colors like white, cream, and brights. Some more refined denim shorts:

Shorts are still being added to retailer websites and the salesfloor of shops. However, shopping early for shorts will ensure the best size selection. Often we wait until it's too late in the season for shorts and the pickings are slim.

Don't be afraid to go outside your comfort zone this summer with denim shorts. Try something fuller, or longer, or a different wash. You may be surprised how much you like it!

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  1. Hey there – number three in the Curvy Fit section doesn’t have a label – curious to know which pair that way, because it caught my eye – thanks!

  2. Hi Allie! I’m a longtime reader of your blog. I’m not plus sized, I’m not tall, or petite, or curvy (my waist isn’t particularly smaller in proportion to my hips) and I’m hunting for denim shorts. I’m 5’5″ and a 10-12 on bottom. Is there a good selection of shorts or some picks from your roundup that you think would work for me?

    1. I am about your same size, also with a larger waist in proportion to my hips, and I have had the best luck with NYDJ shorts and more recently, ones from Jen 7 by 7 for All Mankind.

  3. Nice selection of shorts!
    As someone who is not tall, but not petite proportioned I sometimes get bermudas and shorten then a little.

    In past years I’ve read blogger advice to consider going up a size in shorts. Depending on the cut of the shorts I think that’s a good idea, particularly if you’re shopping in-person and can try a different size without needing to process a return.

    1. I agree with sizing up one size in shorts. I feel like Allie actually recommended doing this a while back and it has been a game-changer for me. Even though I know it’s the shorts and not my body that is the issue, trying on a pair that fits well the first time is better for my ego.

  4. Good stuff!!
    I am somewhere between amused and annoyed at some of the photographs, though. Pointy-toed stilettos with jeans shorts? U-shaped crotches (Photoshop Fail!). Fortunately most of the photographs are excellent and nicely inclusive!

  5. I like the idea of shorts but cannot with the crotch creep especially in hot weather. Loose ones, long ones , short , pleated, skort, they all are a fail. The only shorts that don’t want to accordion fold up my inner thighs are the bike short style which accentuate my behind in an unattractive way. Short of gluing them to my legs I cannot make them work. Tips or tricks anyone? I shall continue with my hot weather standard of mid knee cotton shifts.

  6. This is an incredible list, and I love how your numbers provide links to the items — thank you. With that said, everything I hate about jeans is magnified in denim shorts — the tight waist, the metal button that digs into my stomach, the confining fit, and in summer, the absolute hotness (not in a good way) of denim. Maybe I’ll try again, so thanks for a little inspiration.

  7. Shorts feel like the wild west of clothing – I can adore the fit of pants and jeans from a brand, but then their shorts’ waist-hip-thigh opening ratios never match up to my body (and vice versa!). The absolute bane of my summer shopping are shorts that look PERFECT when standing up, and then somehow give me intense reverse-thigh-muffin-top when sitting down.
    I’m getting myself mentally ready for this year’s round of denim-short-shopping, and am thankful for your roundup to make that process easier, thank you!

  8. Thanks for this extensive list. A couple of days ago I posted my love for the gap denim, unfortunately I can not say the same for their denim shorts. I have a pair that I got a couple of years ago that are ok, but not great. But last summer I got a pair of the Levi’s 501s that are perfect. The waist fit, the length was just long enough but not to long, the thigh was loose enough I didn’t feel Ike a sausage but not so loose that it felt overwhelming, and the weight of the denim gave the shorts body but wasn’t so heavy that felt to hot to wear in the summer
    And now I’ve got my eye on the Ann Taylor dressy pair you posted.

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