Whether you like it or not, shorts season is upon us and if there’s one piece of clothing that I don’t particularly enjoy purchasing [other than swimsuits] it is these little devils. They can be so tight on the thighs, highlight our fabulous cellulite in the worst ways possible and then there’s the whole length thing – will my cooter hang out [yes, I just said cooter] in that cute little pair of 3-inch inseams or do I risk looking like an 80-year old grandma in the 7-inch pair? Finding that happy medium is harder than you think. Between cuffed or not cuffed, distressed or not distressed, different shades of denim, blah blah blah – shorts can suck. However, today I’m doing the hard work for you and taking some of the suckiness out of the task that is shorts shopping. As you’ll see below, I tried on several pairs ranging from all different inseam lengths. I’ll share what I did like [and didn’t like] about each pair as we go. Consider this your ultimate guide to buying shorts for summer. You’re welcome.
Let’s get started with those sexy little 3-inchers [who said bigger is always better?] This just got awkward. ANYHOW. Before we get started a few sizing items to note – I am 5’4, 125 lbs, have a little bit of longer legs and am a banana [or straight] body type. Hopefully, this will help you in gauging how they may fit you.
3-Inch Inseam Options
I found these to run true to size [I am wearing here in size 2] and loved how stretchy and comfortable they were. They are fitted, however, they weren’t uncomfortably tight around the thighs. I did appreciate that the cuff is stitched meaning you don’t have to worry about them getting all awkward after washing. The fun little distressing and triangle cuff was unique. For the price, you absolutely can’t beat this pair! Five different washes available, I am wearing here in the Runaway medium.
2. American Eagle Midi Next Level Stretch – currently under $35 [30% off]Oh, how I love this wash and amount of distressing. I love a good raw hem every once awhile. I didn’t find these to be too tight on the thighs which is a major win in my book. I also found these to run true to size and am wearing in a 2 here. With all American Eagle jeans and shorts, they do have a great amount of stretch to them. If you are looking for a lighter wash, I would absolutely go with these if you’re into a 3-inch inseam!
3. Old Navy Boyfriend Shorts, currently $15 w/code THANKYOUThese little 3-inch shorts are a great price, you can’t deny that – however, they aren’t my absolute favorite in this category. I did find that they run a little big, while I am wearing here in a 2 I could have maybe gone down a size. They are comfortable and the cuff is stitched [yaay!] but in my opinion, they look shorter than the other 3-inch inseams and don’t look like the best quality from the backside.
4. Old Navy Boyfriend Distressed, currently $20 w/code THANKYOUNow, while I wasn’t a huge fan of the Old Navy shorts above, these are a completely different story. If you aren’t afraid of a 3-inch inseam, I am giving you the green light to hit “checkout” asap on these bad boys. Again, I love the lighter wash, the amount of distressing is great [not too much] and the raw hem is spot on. They are a little looser on the legs which is great and they are very comfortable. I found these to be true to size and am wearing a size 2.
5. American Eagle Ne(X)t Level Midi Short, White – currently under $35It wouldn’t be fair to not include a few pairs of white short options in this big ole roundup, so here we have it in the 3-inch category! I love this pair because they aren’t sheer [hallelujah] however, they are prett tight around the thighs [hi cellulite, good to see you too]. I would recommend sizing up if in between in these – I am wearing in 2 but could have done a size 4 to be a little more comfortable. They are very stretchy so that’s a win, but one thing to point out is that the cuff is not stitched which could give you a little bit of trouble after a few washes.
4 to 5-Inch Inseam Options
These will forever be one of my favorite pairs of shorts. I purchased these last year and haven’t stopped loving them since. It turns out that my preferred shorts inseam as I hit my 30’s moved from 3-inch to 4-inch so these are a safe spot for me to land. My biggest piece of advice on these is to size down one full size. I wear a 25 in these and I still have a little room. They are very comfortable, not tight around the thighs at all and the cuff is stitched. If you were to purchase one pair of shorts because of this post, I would have it be these.
2. Celebrity Pink Juniors’ 5″ Cuffed Denim Shorts from Macy’s – currently under $18 w/code FRIENDIf these look eerily similar to the first pair featured under the 3-inch category, it is because they are the same pair, just a little bit longer. I love that you have different inseam options when it comes to this pair! Wearing here in the chandelier wash, they are true to size, very stretchy and comfortable, not too tight on the thighs and again, the cuff is stitched. At this price, a must buy.
3. Kut from the Kloth Gidget Denim Shorts, under $70I purchased this pair last year and much like the Caslon shorts above, I love, love them. The biggest downside about these shorts is the price. Unfortunately $70 can be a little high, however, I have no doubts that they will last me years and years. One other downfall is that because of the raw hem, you can see that after a lot of washes they have started to get a little wonky at the bottom. Nothing a little ironing can’t fix, but if you’re anything like me, ironing probably isn’t going to be happening anytime soon. These are extremely comfortable and fit really well true to size.
4. Old Navy Slim Denim Midi Shorts – currently under $18 w/code THANKYOUWhile this pair is identical to the above pair of Old Navy shorts in the 3-inch category, these were much more comfortable on me [it’s amazing what a mere 2 inches can do for one’s soul…right, stop making so many “inch” remarks ;)]. I would size down if in between on these, wearing in a size 2 but have a little bit of room still. They aren’t the stretchiest of things, however, they are under $20 which is a great price. The cuff is stitched so you should be good there! A great inexpensive pair to do your daily errands and whatever life brings your way.
5. Caslon Utility Shorts, under $50 This 5-inch inseam pair of white shorts is a win and a loss in my book. They are super stretchy and comfortable, not too tight and fit true to size, however, they are slightly sheer if you can tell from the photos. Definitely still wearable, just be careful with your undergarment situation when getting dressed in these babies.
7-Inch+ Inseam Options
Coming in at a LONG 9-inch inseam here, these are the shorts if you literally don’t want half of your leg showing. They do run true to size as I am wearing in a 2, however, they are quite tight on the legs [hence the “skinny” word in the description]. Again, being that they are from American Eagle they are very stretchy and comfortable and the quality is top notch. I do like the raw frayed hem. Could my butt use some major work in these? I think we all know the answer to that.
2. Calvin Klein Jeans City Ripped Denim Shorts, currently $40 w/code FRIEND When it comes to these long inseam options, 7-inch feels much more comfortable to me than the 9 above. This pairs of Levi’s from Macy’s are 7-inches and true to size [wearing here in a 2]. Quite stretchy with a little bit of distressing, but as you can see they are tight on the legs. I don’t know what it is with me and tight things on my legs but I am not a huge fan if you haven’t noticed yet. I will say the butt is an improvement in this pair so that is a benefit!
3. KUT from the Kloth Catherine Boyfriend Cutoff Shorts, under $70 And now for my favorite pair of 7-inch inseam shorts that I tried. I would actually consider wearing these regularly [coming from the girl who SWORE she would never wear shorts this long] because not only are they quite comfortable, they aren’t extremely tight around my legs, run true to size and have a stitched cuff. They cross off all of the right items on my list! If you are a longer shorts girl, I would absolutely give these a try if they fit into the budget. I don’t think you’ll be sorry!
Phew! And that concludes today’s roundup and thoughts on 13 different pairs of shorts ranging from 3-9 inch inseams. Which pair are you most excited to try?! Also, in case you’re diggin’ the tee in these photos, it’s the Gibson x Living in Yellow Felicity V-Neck Tee in poppy [size down, wearing in XS] and the sandals are my favorite go-to Sam Edelman Gigi Sandals [size up .5].
Now, it’s time to shimmy into those shorts and get this summer thing started! Shop all of today’s items below —