Denim shorts may be casual, but that doesn’t mean you have to look sloppy wearing them. Plenty of blokes have rocked them fashionably over the years, it’s just a matter of considering a few factors when shopping and then finding the correct attire to complete your outfit. Thankfully, most of us already have a decent cotton t-shirt and a pair of canvas trainers in our wardrobe so it's pretty easy!
In this buying guide, we’ll help you identify the best denim shorts around by advising on the length, fit, wash and cuff style. From there, we’ll go on to show you some of our favourites from classic brands such as Levi’s, Wrangler and Hilfiger which are available to buy right now at Amazon, ASOS, eBay and John Lewis. From medium wash oversized shorts to black pairs with ripped hems, we've got a wide range of options for you to browse!
In this section, we’ll be looking at the main factors you should be thinking about when buying a pair of denim shorts. Even if you already feel confident in your style, it's worth reading our advice before you head over to the top 10 section!
The first aspect to consider when shopping for shorts is the length. Generally, this type of clothing has gotten shorter over time, but according to stylist Dan May who has worked with top celebs like Eddie Redmayne and David Beckham, a length that comes to the bottom of the thigh is best.
This length works well for men who want to cover up as well as those who like to show off, because a pair that's too long can draw attention to areas that you might be trying to avoid. As with a pair of jeans, the inseam is measured inside the leg and typically comes in four sizes: 11", 9", 7" and 5".
Sadly though, companies don’t always provide the inseam length of shorts. For this reason, we’ve opted to classify them as short, medium or long in our specification tables. If you need more specific information, you can always contact the website or brand directly for precise measurements.
If you’re unsure which length to go for, we recommend medium as it should suit most men. However, this will of course be relative to your height — longer shorts might look better on tall blokes, and vice versa for shorter guys.
As with jeans, there are different fits when it comes to denim shorts — the two most common being slim (tailored) and regular. These are both about the same length, but they have subtle differences. Slim fit shorts tuck in towards the hem, which creates a more modern, streamlined silhouette. If you’re not into the slim side of things though, a regular fit has a similar shape but offers more flexibility in terms of movement.
Other styles, such as skinny shorts, are super tight and not very forgiving in either the waistline or flexibility department. That being said, gym buffs with plenty of muscles like to wear these to show off their hard-earned gains. Those who prefer to cover up, however, may want to avoid this fit.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have oversized denim shorts which are easily done wrong and can quickly make you look like an extra out of an LL Cool J video from the mid-90s! If that's the aesthetic that you’re going for though and you regularly wear baggy clothes, you should be able to pull them off. They're a great choice for lounging around the house or hitting the beach on holiday.
There are plenty of different washes of denim out there to choose from, but what you might not realise is that the shade can determine how casual a pair of shorts appears to those around you.
Most denim shorts are a classic medium wash — in fact, this is probably the colour that comes to mind when you imagine any kind of denim. This shade and lighter hues are generally considered the most laid-back option. Therefore, they’re the best bet if you’re looking for a pair that you can wear daily.
If you’re looking to smarten things up a little bit, a darker hue through to a washed black shade would be a better choice. Granted, this doesn’t mean that these shorts are formal wear, but you should be able to get away with them in smart-casual settings — as long as they’re not distressed or frayed.
Finally, consider the hem of the jeans. This is generally just a style point, so it's more a case of personal taste than anything else. There are three main options: hemmed, ripped and turn-ups.
Hemmed cuffs are a classic — with this design, the bottom seam is still completely visible, as they essentially imitate your average pair of jeans. These are the traditional option, so it's hard for anyone to go wrong with this style!
Next up, you have shorts with ripped seams. These are usually found on ripped or distressed designs, unsurprisingly! They make denim shorts even more casual, so they'll appeal to guys who prefer a laid-back look as well as fans of the rock/punk aesthetic.
Lastly, turn-ups. These are simply, as their name suggests, turned-up hems at the bottom of a pair of shorts. They were incredibly popular about a decade ago but have dropped out of favour nowadays. That being said, they provide a certain type of preppy aesthetic — we'd say they're more commonly found on chino shorts rather than denim ones though.
That's all of our expert advice to bear in mind when it comes to deciding which pair of denim shorts to invest in. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best options to buy online right now!
Pull & Bear
Jack & Jones
Switch Slim Denim Shorts
501 Hemmed Shorts
Denim Scanton Slim Denim Shorts
Denim Short Shorts With Pleat
Slim Fit Denim Shorts With Rips
Loose Denim Shorts
Oversized Baggy Denim Shorts
White Denim Shorts
A Versatile Option That'll Suit Everyone
Made From AllSaints' Signature Soft Denim
Iconic, Durable and Incredibly Stylish
A Go-to Pair That You Can Wear Year After Year
70s-Style Shorts With Subtle Pleats
Affordable Shorts From a High Street Brand
An Relaxed Option in a Longer Length
About as Classic as Jean Shorts Come
For Those Who Are Brave in Their Fashion Choices
Nothing Says Summer Quite Like White Shorts
|Shade||Medium wash||Washed black||Medium wash||Light wash||Washed black||Light wash||Light wash||Medium wash||Medium wash||White|
Can't get enough of denim? We've got plenty more recommendations to keep you looking sharp, from casual jackets to stylish skinnies and rocking ripped jeans. Check out the links below to see our faves!
After reading our article, you're hopefully feeling a lot more confident about what you would like from your new denim shorts and you've decided which pair to add to your wardrobe. Fingers crossed that the sun stays out so you can wear them soon!
Author: Lewis Clark
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