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Let’s talk about summer denim. No, I don’t mean the jeans that you wear everywhere—I’m talking about that one pair of cutoffs that you have sitting in the back of your closet. You’ve likely A) had them for years and B) are sick of wearing the same shorts over and over again. If you’re in the market for a new pair in 2021, behold our picks for the best denim shorts—ever.
Shopping for shorts is tricky at best. Not to start off on a negative note here, but finding the perfect fit can feel downright exhausting. With so many styles, rises and washes to choose from, it can be hard to figure out where to even start. Just like shopping for regular jeans, buying the perfect pair of jean shorts takes a little extra time—but it’s always worth it in the end!
Jean shorts are definitely a wardrobe staple, but that doesn’t mean they’re one-style-fits-all. Before you head to the mall or spend hours browsing online, consider what you need from your shorts. What length are you comfortable with? What silhouette piques your interest? Maybe you’re looking for a vintage-inspired pair that has a wider fit on the thigh, or perhaps you want some classic Daisy dukes to wear to the beach. Whatever shorts you’re looking for this summer, I’ve got you covered with this list.
When I said I had options, I meant it—especially when it comes to price points. If you’re trying to splurge a little on your summer wardrobe, consider investing in shorts from brands like AGOLDE or DL1961. If you’re not trying to break the bank right now, Target sells more affordable options from classic brands like Levis’s and even their in-house brands like Wild Fable.
Ready to start summer shopping? Read on for 16 of the top denim shorts on the market right now.
Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Target is a STYLECASTER sponsor, however, all products in this article were independently selected by our editors. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
High-Rise Frayed Hem Jean Shorts
A great pair of high-rise jean shorts for under $20? Sign me up! This classic pair from Wild Fable covers all the bases if you’re just starting your shorts collection.
The Bombshell Shorts Shadow Pockets
This pair of shorts from Good American is available in sizes 00 through 26, so they’ll look good on so many different body types. The relaxed fit adds to the vintage-inspired vibes.
90’s Pinch Waist Shorts
For a retro-inspired feel, consider these 90’s Pinch Waist Shorts from AGOLDE, with a trendy longer length on the leg and with a super high-rise.
High-Rise Jean Shorts
In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a pair of Levi’s. These dark blue cutoffs are a great option if you’re looking for a simple, wear-everywhere style.
Cecilia Shorts Classic 3.25″
Sustainable brand DL1961 makes some of the best-fitting jeans on the market, so they deserve a spot on this list. These classic shorts from DL1961 are a must-buy for just about everybody.
High-Rise Bermuda Jean Shorts
Bermuda shorts are back in a big way for summer 2021, so stock up on them while you can! This pair from Wild Fable is priced at only $19, so it’s a great trendy piece to pick up right now.
Mid-Rise Bermuda Shorts
If high-rise shorts aren’t your fave, try a mid-rise option this year. This pair of Bermuda shorts from Torrid has a fitted silhouette on the leg that will show off your curves.
Eva Seamed High Rise Cheeky Jean Shorts
This faded pair of dark-wash jean shorts from Reformation features retro details like elevated seams across the front, so they’re great if you’re looking for a more stylized alternative to your basic cutoffs.
Mid-Rise Mom Shorts
Yes, these shorts are from Abercrombie & Fitch and yes, the brand is 100 percent back for 2021! These distressed shorts retails for just $59, so it might be worth it to buy more than one wash if you fall in love with the fit.
The Bombshell Shorts
White shorts, like white jeans, deserve a spot in everyone’s summer wardrobe. These Bombshell Shorts from Good American are super flattering, so pair them with your cutest crop tops and summer blouses to show off your tan.
Criss Cross High Rise Upsized Shorts
Curve Love Mid Rise Boyfriend Shorts
Distressed shorts instantly make any outfit feel a little cooler. Case in point: You’ll never want to take this pair of relaxed boyfriend shorts from Abercrombie & Fitch off.
Charlie Fruitloops High Rise Jean Shorts
Embroidered denim is one of this season’s biggest trends, so it makes sense that styles like these would be all the rage right now. This white pair from Reformation features the cutest fruity details.
’90s Shorts Long Fray Hem
Frayed jeans were a ’90s staple (or so my mom tells me, anyway!) so pick up the shorts version for yourself this summer. This pair from Good American comes in the coolest washed-out gray hue.
High Rise 7 Inch Shorts
If you’re looking for a pair of shorts with a longer hem, consider this pair of High Rise 7 Inch Shorts from Abercrombie & Fitch. They’re not quite Bermuda shorts, but they get pretty close!
High Rise A-Line Shorty Short
Remember how I was talking about Daisy dukes earlier? This pair from Torrid is basically the updated version of the ones from Dukes Of Hazzard, designed to show off your legs all summer long.