The 20 Best Denim Shorts of 2021 for Grown-Ups

Is there an outfit they don't work with?

A woman wearing denim shorts tucks her hand into her pocket
(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

Like a breezy dress or comfortable sandals, denim shorts are a summer essential. We're not (just) talking about Daisy Dukes, also known as the booty-skimming jean shorts you wore for every summer activity in the mid-'00s. Today's jean shorts are all grown up, and—yes—can even be worn to work, if you know how to style them. (Though if you're looking for itty-bitty options to throw into your carry-on for a day at the beach, those styles have only got better with time, too.) In short (get it?), there are no downsides to them: You can denim shorts dress up or down, and they seem to get comfier with each and every wear.

Still, as with jeans, there are a lot of options available. Some are super-short and flirty, some hit mid-thigh for a work-appropriate look, and others range from mom jeans-esque to distressed black denim. You can pick from low-rise or high-waisted styles, and there are endless washes, styles, and lengths to peruse. We know finding the perfect denim that looks good and feels good can be a pain, and that's why we've done the hard work for you.

Taylor Ayers
Taylor Ayers

Taylor Ayers is fashion editor at Marie Claire covering the new editorial fashion trends, looks, and contemporary styles.