Denim Shorts | Finding YOUR best fit

It’s getting warmer so it’s time to break out those shorts! If you’re anything like me, you know it can be a struggle to find a great pair of denim shorts. Sure, some might look great on the size 2 model but when slipping them over my size 12 thighs or zipping them over my mama pooch they don’t quite look or feel the same as in the picture. 

I’m also all about shorts that are not too short because… well thigh rub is real.

In my experience what works for one woman as their “favorite shorts” may not be what is best for my body and that comes down to 3 factors:

  1. Butt Shape
  2. Rise
  3. Inseam

Understanding and knowing these factors when choosing shorts is CRUCIAL to getting pairs that actually fit the first time around. So let’s go step by step…


Gap Low Rise Stride Denim Shorts | Tank (L)

In general there are 5 rear shapes and while it’s great to know your exact shape (that can help with picking styles) but you at least need to understand if you have a curvy hip or straight hip.

Don’t know your hip shape…

Stand in underwear or something close fitting in front of a mirror. Look at your silhouette and identify the widest part of your bottom half. Then think to yourself when I buy “curvy” styles do I have excess fabric at my hips, are they always tight in the waist? There is a good chance you are a straight hip.

If you always have issues with gapping at the waist or the thighs being too tight there is a good chance you are a curvy shape.

Now a great visual are Old Navy shorts that are the same “style” yet in a curvy vs straight fit. You can see that the curvy styles give that extra room in your lower hip to accommodate the A, Heart and O shapes where the straight styles are more rectangular.


Gap Low Rise Stride Denim Shorts | Tank (L)

The next step in finding your best fitting shorts is understanding rise. Now this part is tricky because retailers LIE!!!! Ok maybe not lie but terms like “high rise” and “low rise” mean nothing. Also I’ve found several times that while a listing might have the exact measurements they are incorrect when it comes to my size.

This year the Gap Shorts say that they are a 10-3/8 rise but in my size 14 (the size 12 were too tight) the rise is 11″. This increasing rise based on the size is very common unfortunately. A&F, Liverpool and Z Supply are all brands that I know increase rise based on the size.

A&F High Rise Mom Shorts | KUT Gidget High Rise Fray | Express Mid Rise Boyfriend Jean Short | Gap Low Rise Stride Denim Shorts


The final step and measurement you need to know is inseam.  Inseam is the measurement from the crotch to the end of the short. While a 3.5″, 4″ and 5″ inseam are pretty standard for shorts what you really need to know is where they hit on your body.

Too short of an inseam can cause that dreaded short gobble (aka the shorts ride up in the crotch) and too long of an inseam can seem off proportion with your legs and body. While longer inseams are becoming more popular my PERFECT denim inseam is a 4″. This is long enough to avoid thigh rub but short enough to elongate my legs.


Now that I’ve shared how I get those magic numbers to make online shopping easier it then comes down to just trying them on! This season I’ve found two new styles I’m loving and two tried and true favs that are still in stock.

Gap Low Rise Stride Denim Shorts | Tank (L)

Size 14 | Inseam: 4″ | Rise 11″

At first I was a little hesitant about these shorts because they are more of a real denim feel with minimal stretch but once I got my correct size I loved how they felt. These are more flared in the hips than all my others making them a good pick for all shapes. While they might be called “low rise” they are only a .5″ shorter than the popular Target “high rise” so once again don’t be fooled by names.

Express Mid Rise Boyfriend Jean Short | Tank (L)

Size 12 | Inseam: 4″ | Rise 11″

I was so excited to try these shorts that I originally got them in a size 14, thinking they might run small but they don’t!! If anything these run slightly large, plus with a bunch of stretch they are really comfy. I like that these have a bit more room in the thigh area making them good for H, Heart and A shapes.

KUT Gidget High Rise Fray | Tank (L)

Size 12 | Inseam: 4″ | Rise 11.5″

For the past few years these have been my ride or die shorts. They have that perfect blend of higher rise, not too tight in the waistband, long enough inseam and they loosen as I wear but even going several wears without a wash they don’t get baggy.

These are great for a V and H shape because they are not too tight in the waist AND the are tighter in the thigh for V shapes. Beware though these are only on Amazon, the style at Nordstrom is a lower rise and fit different.

Target Universal Thread Midi Short in Medium Wash | Tank (L)

Size 14 | Inseam: 3.5″ | Rise: 11.5″ 

These are my #1 affordable short pick. These are in the medium color and have some heavy distressing on the front. They are super stretchy but don’t get baggy in the rear while wearing. These are actually a great short for nearly all shapes because of the slightly tighter waistband and super stretch all over.

My only drawback to these shorts is the inseam. I size up so I can wear them slightly lower and get all the length I can but these are a 3.5″ which is borderline on my short comfort level. 

I hope this helps you find your perfect short this season because all bodies are beautiful, it’s just finding that perfect fit!

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