6 Ladylike Ways to Wear Denim Shorts (Yeah, We Said It)

You’re a grown woman. You do your own taxes. You have a house rosé (it’s $8, but still). As such, you want to dress your age, which means ruling out certain styles like tube tops and bodycon mini dresses. Jean shorts, though, do not belong in the toss pile (yes, even despite their teen-at-Coachella connotations). You just have to know how to wear them, as these sophisticated women so chicly prove.

The Best Shorts Style for Every Body Type

With A Blazer And Polished Flats

OK, we’re not saying you can wear denim shorts to work, but this outfit is a fun alternative for Friday-night drinks. A pair of shorts topped with a tee and blazer is unexpected and elegant. Add a pair of two-tone ballet flats and your look is much more 2017 Alexa Chung than 2009 Miley Cyrus.

Get the look: Topshop blazer ($75); J.Crew shorts ($80); Chanel flats ($750)

how to wear jean shorts loafers
Gal Meets Glam

With A Half-tucked Button-down And Loafers

Hello, easiest outfit formula ever. If you’re like us, button-downs factor heavily into your wardrobe, and here they add a slightly elevated touch to more casual bottoms. For a doubly grown-up effect, slip into a pair of pristine loafers, which, in addition to being comfortable as hell, are fancier than, say, a pair of sandals or sneakers.

Get the look: Madewell top ($72); Rag & Bone shorts ($195); Mansur Gavriel loafers ($425)

With A Denim Jacket And Sneakers

Not that there’s anything wrong with sneakers, of course. This ensemble, while certainly casual, is also age-appropriate, largely thanks to fit. Note how these shorts are a bit more like trendy mom jeans. A looser-fitting pair is a great option for those still hesitant about the whole denim shorts thing. And while you're at it, why not make it double denim with a jean jacket, an indispensable part of any wardrobe, regardless of age.

Get the look: Levi's jacket ($90) and shorts ($198); Converse sneakers ($50)

With A Striped Tee And Espadrilles

Nothing says summer more than a striped tee and shorts, and this take on that combo is effortless and refined. The three-quarter-sleeve length of the top balances the shorts’ higher hemline, while the flatform espadrilles add a touch of height without veering into shorts-and-stilettos territory. They’re also on-trend and easy to walk in.

Get the look: Gap tee ($30); Old Navy shorts ($25); Tory Burch espadrilles ($225)

With A Flowy Top And Lace-up Flats

Super-short jean shorts are great for showing off your legs, but can read a little inappropriate worn with, say, a tight or cropped top. Enter a flowy, tunic-like blouse, which balances the lack of shorts length and adds a cool, boho element.

Get the look: Joie top ($115); Gap shorts ($40); Isabel Marant flats ($510)

With An Oversize Sweater And Neck Scarf

So this isn't for the hottest of summer days, but come early fall (or even some July and August evenings), denim shorts look great with a lightweight sweater. Then, jazz up an otherwise neutral palette by tying a colorful silk scarf around your neck.  

Get the look: BP. sweater ($39); Madewell shorts ($70); Kate Spade scarf ($78)

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...