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The Best Denim Shorts of 2020 for Grown-Ups

Is there an outfit they don't work with?

Street Style : Day Four - Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018/2019
Edward BerthelotGetty Images

Like a breezy dress or comfortable sandals, a good pair of denim shorts are essential for summer. For most of us, they're the piece you throw on without much thought on the weekends or after work. Denim shorts can be dressed up or down and seem to get better with each and every wear. But not all denim shorts are created equal—some come in itty-bitty lengths, other work-appropriate options hit mid-thigh. There's a classic mom fitting blue denim or a distressed and frayed black denim. You even have your low risers and your high-waisted styles (my personal favorite). There are so many washes and styles to choose from that will set you apart from the tight-fitted booty shorts you may be used to.

If you're looking for grown-up alternatives to the booty-baring denim bottoms of your teen years, you've come to the right place. We know that finding the perfect fit can be a pain and that is why we've done the hard work for you. We present to you a round-up of 2020's best in denim shorts. The pairs ahead are made for women that appreciate fit and comfort without sacrificing style.

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1 Ombré Denim Shorts
Off-White net-a-porter.com

Give your summer wardrobe some whimsy with an ombré pattern that you don't have to DIY yourself.

2 Color Block Shorts
Heron Preston farfetch.com

Tuck a white button-down into this high waisted jean and accessorize with your favorite logo belt. Five pockets give you loads of places to stash your credit cards, car keys, and lipsticks.

3 Paper Bag Waist Shorts
ZARA zara.com

A paper bag waist will add interest to your midsection. Pair this light wash denim short with a bohemian style top and an embellished slide sandal.

4 Denim Shorts
SLVRLAKE net-a-porter.com

This denim short-culotte is a winner for casual Fridays at the office. Pair them with a structured, slightly cropped blazer, a pair of kitten heel mules, and personal jewels: like a signet ring or delicate locket necklace.

5 Helena Cut-Off Denim Shorts
GRLFRND intermixonline.com

It's that lived-in quality that makes your favorite denim shorts a staple summer after summer. For bottoms that already achieved that max comfy quality, slip on this pair from GRLFRND. The relaxed fit and subtle distressing along the edges can be worn as is or cuff the hemlines to show a little more leg. 

Black Frayed Shorts
Dee Shorts
AGOLDE revolve.com

I loved my black booty shorts when I was 15, but now I try not to wear anything that might reveal a giant slab of butt cheek. As an alternative to my black shorts of yesteryear, I'll choose these simple AGOLDE bottoms. It'll be the base for my more extravagant tops and accessories. 

Lace-Up Denim Shorts
Distressed Reverse Lace-Up Denim Shorts
Unravel Project farfetch.com

Take a fashion risk this summer in a reverse lace-up denim number. Unravel Projects is best known for pushing design boundaries and making a statement with its unconventionally cool pieces. This pair of shorts will definitely turn some heads.

Ripped Denim Shorts
Bleach High Waisted Ripped Denim Shorts
Topshop topshop.com

A conventional pair of bleached stone wash denim with subtle distressing. For a chill weekend vibe, wear this style with a vintage band tee, Golden Goose sneakers, and a pair of cat-eye sunglasses

Paper-Bag Denim Shorts
Hailey Ex-Boyfriend Roll-Up Denim Shorts
AG Jeans matchesfashion.com

If you're looking for denim shorts in an unconventional design, here's a pleated pair from AG Jeans. It has a loose fit around the legs, but a high-rise belted waist to emphasize the narrowest part of the body. Tuck in your top to show off the paper-bag waist design.

10 Denim Shorts
H&M hm.com

The mom style denim is a summer wardrobe staple, whether or not you have kids. This is a universally flattering option that can be worn for any activity, from romps in the backyard with your child (or fur baby) to running your weekend errands. 

White Denim Shorts
High-Waisted, Cut-Off Denim Shorts
Levi's aritzia.com

The hunt for a pair of white denim shorts is similar to buying a pair of white jeans: difficult. But Levi's 501 denim may have solved all of our struggles with these crisp white shorts. They're neither too long nor too short and sit slightly higher on the waist. Wear them with a simple ribbed tank for day and a sexier bodysuit for night. 

Biker Style Denim Shorts
Nikki Relaxed Skinny Denim Shorts
AG Jeans saksfifthavenue.com

For anyone seeking a pair of cute biker-style denim shorts, AG Jeans offers a relaxed fitted option in a light blue classic wash. This pair comes with already distressed details that will look even more destroyed and worn-in over time. 

Boyfriend Denim Shorts
High Waist Boyfriend Cutoff Denim Shorts
Treasure & Bond nordstrom.com

This pair of Treasure & Bond shorts are the perfect length. They're stylish enough for that twenty-something woman who wants cool details like rips and peek-a-boo pockets, but modest enough for moms on the go. Dress it up with an espadrille or down with flat braided sandals.

Mid-Rise Denim Shorts
Utility Shorts
LOFT loft.com

These mid-rise short shorts are perfect for super hot summer days, whether you're walking along the boardwalk or lounging in the grass at a park. Style with a vintage tee tucked in and pair with minimalist sandals—don't forget to top off with a bucket hat.

Deconstructed Denim Shorts
Crossover Denim Shorts
R13 nordstrom.com

For denim shorts that say "fashun" at first glance, I recommend getting a deconstructed pair from R13. The misaligned buttons and baggy style give it a less-than-perfect look, which makes it look edgier and cooler than any bottoms in my drawer. Though the price is steep for jean shorts, fashion fashun girls won't care.


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