26 Denim Shorts That Are Always Cool, Never Basic

·2 min read

Denim shorts, much like the crop tops or tight dresses of the world, tend to walk that fine line between cool and basic. It’s all too easy to settle for the mass-fashion end of the spectrum when it comes to these types of trends (you know those millions of “meh” options we’re talking about). But if you’re looking to edge toward the side of cool, it’s all about knowing where to shop.

While we all have that pair of cut-off denim shorts that we reach for during too-hot weekends, you won’t regret having an alternative option on hand that’s a little more of a conversation starter. Wouldn’t you rather show up to your weekly park date with your besties and grab all the compliments? Exactly.

Click on to shop some of the best next-level denim shorts, and leave those denim cutoffs castoffs in the back of your drawer in exchange for the cool-girl picks ahead.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

<br><br><strong>H&M</strong> Denim Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww2.hm.com%2Fen_us%2Fproductpage.0974800002.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:H&M" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">H&M</a>


H&M Denim Shorts, $, available at H&M
<br><br><strong>Free People</strong> Romeo Rolled Cut Off Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.freepeople.com%2Fshop%2Fromeo-rolled-cut-off-shorts%2F%3Fcategory%3DSEARCHRESULTS%26color%3D010" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Free People" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Free People</a>


Free People Romeo Rolled Cut Off Shorts, $, available at Free People
<br><br><strong>& Other Stories</strong> Spark Cut Denim Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.stories.com%2Fen_usd%2Fclothing%2Fshorts%2Fproduct.spark-cut-denim-shorts-black.0933205001.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:& Other Stories" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">& Other Stories</a>


& Other Stories Spark Cut Denim Shorts, $, available at & Other Stories
<br><br><strong>Hudson Jeans</strong> Devon High Waist Cutoff Denim Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nordstrom.com%2Fs%2Fhudson-jeans-devon-high-waist-cutoff-denim-shorts-reflection%2F5902960" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nordstrom" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nordstrom</a>


Hudson Jeans Devon High Waist Cutoff Denim Shorts, $, available at Nordstrom
<br><br><strong>Reformation</strong> Sammie High Rise Relaxed Jean Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thereformation.com%2Fproducts%2Fsammie-high-rise-relaxed-jean-shorts" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Reformation" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Reformation</a>


Reformation Sammie High Rise Relaxed Jean Shorts, $, available at Reformation
<br><br><strong>Violeta By Mango</strong> Medium-Waist Denim Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fshop.mango.com%2Fus%2Fplus-size%2Fshorts%2Fmedium-waist-denim-shorts_87005522.html%3Fc%3DTM" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mango" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mango</a>


Violeta By Mango Medium-Waist Denim Shorts, $, available at Mango
<br><br><strong>Topshop</strong> Lola Distressed Denim Cutoff Mom Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nordstrom.com%2Fs%2Ftopshop-lola-distressed-denim-cutoff-mom-shorts-bleach%2F5898950" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nordstrom" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nordstrom</a>


Topshop Lola Distressed Denim Cutoff Mom Shorts, $, available at Nordstrom
<br><br><strong>Everlane</strong> The Way-High Jean Short, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.everlane.com%2Fproducts%2Fwomens-way-high-denim-short-washed-midnight" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Everlane" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Everlane</a>


Everlane The Way-High Jean Short, $, available at Everlane
<br><br><strong>COS</strong> Slim Denim Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosstores.com%2Fen_usd%2Fwomen%2Fwomenswear%2Fshorts%2Fproduct.slim-denim-shorts-blue.0992934001.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:COS" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">COS</a>


COS Slim Denim Shorts, $, available at COS
<br><br><strong>Oak + Fort</strong> Denim Paper Bag Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.oakandfort.com%2FDENIM-PAPER-BAG-SHORTS" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Oak + Fort" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Oak + Fort</a>


Oak + Fort Denim Paper Bag Shorts, $, available at Oak + Fort
<br><br><strong>Levi's</strong> 501® Original High Rise Mid-Thigh Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.levi.com%2FUS%2Fen_US%2Fclothing%2Fwomen%2Fshorts%2F501-original-high-rise-mid-thigh-womens-shorts%2Fp%2F858330013" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Levi's" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Levi's</a>


Levi's 501® Original High Rise Mid-Thigh Shorts, $, available at Levi's
<br><br><strong>BDG</strong> Poppy Denim Drawstring Short, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.urbanoutfitters.com%2Fshop%2Fbdg-poppy-denim-drawstring-short" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Urban Outfitters" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Urban Outfitters</a>


BDG Poppy Denim Drawstring Short, $, available at Urban Outfitters
<br><br><strong>Agolde</strong> Criss Cross High Rise Upsized Short, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.verishop.com%2Fagolde%2Fshorts%2Fcriss-cross-high-rise-upsized-short%2Fp4356236312599%3Fcolor%3Dmomemtum" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Verishop" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Verishop</a>


Agolde Criss Cross High Rise Upsized Short, $, available at Verishop
<br><br><strong>Madewell</strong> High-Rise Mid-Length Denim Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.madewell.com%2Fhigh-rise-mid-length-denim-shorts-in-vintage-canvas-wash-MD746.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Madewell" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Madewell</a>


Madewell High-Rise Mid-Length Denim Shorts, $, available at Madewell
<br><br><strong>Good American</strong> Good '90s Bermuda, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodamerican.com%2Fproducts%2Fgood-90s-bermuda-blue695" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Good American" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Good American</a>


Good American Good '90s Bermuda, $, available at Good American
<br><br><strong>H&M</strong> Denim Bermuda Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww2.hm.com%2Fen_us%2Fproductpage.1000878001.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:H&M" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">H&M</a>


H&M Denim Bermuda Shorts, $, available at H&M
<br><br><strong>Levi's</strong> 501 Original Short, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.revolve.com%2Flevis-501-original-short%2Fdp%2FLEIV-WF56%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Revolve" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Revolve</a>


Levi's 501 Original Short, $, available at Revolve
<br><br><strong>Denim Forum</strong> The Joni Loose Long Short, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.aritzia.com%2Fus%2Fen%2Fproduct%2Fthe-joni-loose-short%2F82856.html%3Fdwvar_82856_color%3D18920_2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Aritzia" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Aritzia</a>


Denim Forum The Joni Loose Long Short, $, available at Aritzia
<br><br><strong>Staud</strong> Painter High-Rise Denim Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.matchesfashion.com%2Fus%2Fproducts%2FStaud-Painter-high-rise-denim-shorts-1422044" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Matches Fashion" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Matches Fashion</a>


Staud Painter High-Rise Denim Shorts, $, available at Matches Fashion
<br><br><strong>Frame</strong> Le Vintage Bermuda Denim Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.net-a-porter.com%2Fen-us%2Fshop%2Fproduct%2Fframe%2Fclothing%2Fknee-length%2Fle-vintage-bermuda-frayed-denim-shorts%2F2499567820158345" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Net-A-Porter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Net-A-Porter</a>


Frame Le Vintage Bermuda Denim Shorts, $, available at Net-A-Porter
<br><br><strong>Agolde</strong> Riley Distressed Organic Denim Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.net-a-porter.com%2Fen-us%2Fshop%2Fproduct%2Fagolde%2Fclothing%2Fshort-and-mini%2Friley-distressed-organic-denim-shorts%2F4394988609189260" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Net-A-Porter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Net-A-Porter</a>


Agolde Riley Distressed Organic Denim Shorts, $, available at Net-A-Porter
<br><br><strong>Dr Denim</strong> Plus Nora Sky High Denim Mom Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.asos.com%2Fus%2Fdr-denim-plus%2Fdr-denim-plus-nora-sky-high-denim-mom-shorts-in-mid-blue%2Fprd%2F23771158" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ASOS" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ASOS</a>


Dr Denim Plus Nora Sky High Denim Mom Shorts, $, available at ASOS
<br><br><strong>Rolla's</strong> Original Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shopbop.com%2Foriginal-short-rollas%2Fvp%2Fv%3D1%2F1512953729.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shopbop" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shopbop</a>


Rolla's Original Shorts, $, available at Shopbop
<br><br><strong>Hudson Jeans</strong> Lori High Waist Denim Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nordstrom.com%2Fs%2Fhudson-jeans-lori-high-waist-denim-shorts-tainted-love%2F5791959" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nordstrom" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nordstrom</a>


Hudson Jeans Lori High Waist Denim Shorts, $, available at Nordstrom
<br><br><strong>Zara</strong> Mom Fit Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zara.com%2Fus%2Fen%2Fmom-fit-shorts-p08197008.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Zara" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Zara</a>


Zara Mom Fit Shorts, $, available at Zara
<br><br><strong>Ética</strong> Skylar Distressed Raw Hem Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nordstromrack.com%2Fs%2Fetica-skylar-distressed-raw-hem-shorts%2Fn3530386" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nordstrom Rack" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nordstrom Rack</a>


Ética Skylar Distressed Raw Hem Shorts, $, available at Nordstrom Rack
<br><br><strong>AE Ne(x)t Level</strong> Curvy Denim Mom Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ae.com%2Fus%2Fen%2Fp%2Fwomen%2Fhigh-waisted-shorts%2Fcurvy-high-waisted-shorts%2Fae-curvy-denim-mom-shorts%2F0337_6618_094" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:AE" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">AE</a>


AE Ne(x)t Level Curvy Denim Mom Shorts, $, available at AE

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