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The Best Denim Shorts by Inseam

June 30, 2021


Erin Schrader

As much as I love shorts season [aka summer] I sometimes despise the actual “denim shorts season” itself. Shorts can be tricky. Sometimes they are too tight, too short, too loose and the list of all of the discomforts of shorts goes on. Today, we’re here to put some of those discomforts to rest and bring you the shorts we really recommend for the season. To make it even more clear, we’re bringing you shorts by inseam lengths and on two different bodies! You can see how they look on somebody who is 5’4 [hi, me!] up to 6’0 [Allison, one of our LIY Ambassadors!]! Our ultimate goal is to get you into shorts that you’ll love and feel confident in all summer long. Introducing, the shorts we’d be okay [or dare I even say, thrilled] rocking all season long….

3″ Inseam Favorites

  1. Free People Vintage High-Rise Shorts [Size up if in between! Erin size 27, Allison size 29] // Similar Shorts

While we both prefer to typically wear a 4″ inseam [or longer!], the Free People Vintage High-Rise Short took first place for 3″. If a shorter inseam is your jam, we’re betting you’ll love these. We loved the button fly and fun distressed details on these. This pair is slightly more on the “spend” side, but does feels like a higher quality denim and we could tell they’ll hold up well for several seasons. And bonus points for not squeezing our thighs like stuffed sausages!

2. Old Navy High-Waisted O.G. Jean Shorts [Size up if in between! Erin size 4, Allison size 8 but would prefer 10]

If you’re looking for a great budget-friendly pair of classic denim shorts, look no further. The Old Navy High-Waisted O.G. Jean Shorts check all the boxes and seem to almost always be on sale! We felt like these offered a bit more coverage than the cut-off styles [although they have the same 3″ inseam!] and really loved the stitch on the cuff so you don’t have to worry about it rolling down while walking or after a wash.

3. Liverpool x Living in Yellow High Waist Frayed Hem Stretch Denim Shorts [out of stock, true to size, Erin wearing in 2] // Similar Liverpool Shorts

This Liverpool pair is new since originally creating this blog post, but I’d be remiss not to include these new favorites! They’re the perfect 3 1/2″ inseam with just the right amount of stretch!

4″ Inseam Favorites

  1. Caslon Boyfriend Shorts [Size down if in between! Erin size 2, Allison size 6]

If you’ve been following for any length of time, you might already know my love for the Caslon Boyfriend Shorts runs deep. I’ve owned these for several years now and reach for them over and over again. They’ve held up well and have only gotten softer over time! This pair does run slightly large, so size down if in between. I love the relaxed fit and again– bonus point for no thigh squeezing. Cheers to that, friends!

2. Universal Thread High Rise Jean Shorts [Size up if in between! Erin size 4, Allison size 8 but preferred 10] // Mid Rise Option

For my 4″ inseam ladies, check out Universal Thread High Rise Jean Shorts at Target! While they’re a little bit more rigid than my go-to Caslon Boyfriend Shorts, these ranked just as highly and are a fraction of the price [under $20!]. They don’t have much stretch, so be sure to size up if in between! Shop the mid rise option here!

5″ Inseam Favorites

  1. Liverpool Vickie Fray Hem Short [True to size! Erin size 2, Allison size 6]

Liverpool never lets us down! If you’ve ever tried their jeans, you should know their shorts are just as soft, stretchy and made with the high quality material you already know and love. We found them true to size, but if you’re in between sizes, I would suggest going down.

2. Old Navy Mid Rise Cuffed Jean Shorts [Size up if in between! Erin size 4, Allison size 8 but preferred 10]

Another great 5″ inseam budget-friendly option comin’ atcha! By now, we’ve realized you can pretty much count on Old Navy coming in clutch for shorts on the “save” side. They may not be quite as high of quality as some of the other brands, but you better believe they get the job done and look good while doing it! We recommend going up a size if you’re in between– ya know, for a little extra wiggle room [and a little less leg squeezing].

7″ Inseam Favorite

  1. Old Navy Extra High-Waisted Jean Shorts [True to size! Erin size 4, Allison size 8] // more 7″ inseam options from Old Navy

While a 7″ inseam isn’t my favorite length for my height [I felt a little pirate-y and swallowed up in these], this pair from Old Navy was Allison’s favorite overall! We loved the full coverage and the fact that they didn’t ride up at all when we walked. They’re not too tight around our legs and come at a great price point. Old Navy strikes again! See all of their 7″ inseam denim shorts here!

9″ Inseam Favorite

  1. Liverpool Pull-On Bermuda Rolled Cuff Shorts [True to size! Erin size 2, Allison size 6]

*slow chant* Liv-er-pool! Liv-er-pool! Last, but certainly not least, are the 9″ inseam Pull-On Bermuda Rolled Cuff Shorts. Say it with me friends, “Liverpool can do no wrong”. If you’re purchasing one pair of Bermuda Shorts this season, let it be these. They’re soft, stretchy, made with high-quality fabric, and don’t ride up. While they’re fitted around the thigh, it didn’t feel like they were squeezing at all. Here’s to cute, comfortable coverage!

Shop all Shorts Below:

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