The Grown-Up Way to Wear Jean Shorts

If you’re in your post collegiate days, you’re keenly aware that you can no longer get away with cutoffs that basically resemble denim briefs. That’s not to say that jean shorts aren’t our single favorite summer apparel staple. Au contraire—we love them! But it’s all about choosing the right fit and styling them like the sophisticated woman you are.

So here are there are rules to keep in mind when shopping for, and subsequently styling, jean shorts:


The Chestnut Hill, What the Chung, Girl With Curves

1. Inseam Length: The inseams of your shorts should be at least two inches long. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to sit cross-legged without worrying about exposing anything.


Luella & June, Look De Pernelle, Style Lovely

2. Opt for a rolled-hem style: Not only is a rolled hem a great way to vary the length of your shorts, but the makeshift tailoring also gives a more grown-up vibe to the youthful style.


Raven Locks, Seams for a Desire, Sincerely Jules

3. Style with a button-down: There are countless styling tricks that make any denim shorts style more polished and, thus, more sophisticated. One such trick is to tuck a crisp button-down into your favorite pair, but most classics will yield the same result (Think: Breton stripes, blazers, and the like.)


We Wore What, The Girl From Panama, Locks and Trinkets

4. Find your natural waist: Choose shorts to sit comfortably at your natural waist. If you have the legs to show off a slightly shorter pair, the extra rise will balance the shorts shape. If you prefer a longer pair, a higher rise will make your legs look miles long.


Soraya Bakhtiar, Atlantic Pacific, Something About That

5. Go long: Whether you prefer a tailored style or slouchy boyfriend fit, a longer shorts style is always age-appropriate. The transitional style allows for equal parts pairing with casual sneakers and city heels too.


Camille Over the Rainbow, Collage Vintage, Tuula Vintage

6. Don’t give up on the cutoffs: Though it’s time to rethink the denim cutoffs, it’s not time to say goodbye. At least not yet. When seeking out the beloved style, make sure to keep them a bit baggy, never tight. A looser, slouchy fit will cut down on the shorts-that-look-like-underwear feel. Consider cutting up an old pair of jeans to ensure the best well-loved fit.

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