12 New Updated Ways to Wear Denim Shorts This Summer

Warning: You'll be tempted to buy a few new pairs.

woman wearing denim shorts

@roselinelawrence

Spring may have just begun, but we’re already daydreaming about the summer ahead. We’re counting down the days when we can trade in our soft sweats for short shorts—and denim shorts are a true summer staple. Like regular jeans, denim shorts are versatile and can be dressed up or down, depending on our mood and the occasion. And these days, they come in hundreds of different cuts, styles, and washes. 

However, with the new season approaching and the possibility to venture out more than last summer (fingers crossed), it may be time to step up our denim short outfits. Other than pairing it with the same t-shirts, here are 12 fun ways to style your denim shorts this summer. Warning: scrolling through this list may tempt you to buy a few new pairs.

01 of 12

Zoom Casual

For those still taking Zoom calls from home, you know the drill: professional from the waist up, casual from the waist down. However, why not be casual and stylish? DL1961’s denim shorts provide a put-together look that still offers comfort. The top’s silkiness dresses up the shorts without being formal, while the clay earrings give the look a pop of color. 

Karlie Short
DL1961 Karlie Short $129
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Shell Button Satin Blouse
& Other Stories Shell Button Satin Blouse $62
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The Kelia Sunset
Milk and Honey Clay The Kelia Sunset $25
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02 of 12

Cottage Core Vibes

The cottage core trend is still going strong this summer. But if you want to switch up your look from nap dresses, try pairing your favorite chunky cardigan with some pintuck seamed shorts, giving you an old-school vintage vibe. Round out the look with oxfords, and you’re ready to go on an adventure in the forest—or on one of your daily walks where you listen to folklore.

Pintuck Denim Shorts
Madewell Pintuck Denim Shorts $78
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Bonfire Cardi
Free People Bonfire Cardi $128
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Oxford Shoe
Aldo Oxford Shoe $85
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03 of 12

LBD Gets A New Look

For those who’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color, we have the outfit for you. Good American’s black denim shorts can be dressed up when paired with an oversized black blazer dress. Add a statement belt and some black heels (or combat boots), and you’re ready to hit the town. Little black dress, who? 

Good Curve Short
Good American Good Curve Short $119
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The Exec Blazer Dress
Good American The Exec Blazer Dress $235
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'Penelope - Dragon' Stretch Belt
Raina 'Penelope - Dragon' Stretch Belt $144
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04 of 12

Outdoor Brunch Ready

Summer means the return of outdoor dining and the possibility of seeing friends for brunch (while still following the CDC guidelines, of course). Express’s pleated denim shorts bring some structure to your look, while the blazer adds a pop of color. Add a handy phone bag to keep all your essentials together.

High Waisted Pleated Rolled Hem Denim Shorts
Express High Waisted Pleated Rolled Hem Denim Shorts $40
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Ruched-Sleeve Blazer
Banana Republic Ruched-Sleeve Blazer $72
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Y's By Yohji Yamamoto Phone Pouch
Y's By Yohji Yamamoto Stitched Phone Pouch $507
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05 of 12

First Date Fun

After months of virtual dating, it may be time to meet up in person. Bring on the romantic vibes with Astr The Label’s lavender puff sleeve bodysuit paired with the light wash of Levi’s ribcage shorts. Pull the look together with lavender sandals.

Ribcage Womens Shorts
Levi's Ribcage Womens Shorts $80
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Bodysuit
Astr The Label Darling Sheer Puff Sleeve Bodysuit $78
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Knots Heel Sandals
Mango Knots Heel Sandals $60
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06 of 12

A "French" Look

If you fancy yourself a Francophile, incorporate some classic elements into your wardrobe by adding a few french fashion staples like a scarf and three-quarter-length tee to your outfit. This is an easy outfit that you can wear almost everywhere: like the grocery store, coffee runs, and even just hanging around your house. 

High-Rise Denim Shorts
Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts $30
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Francoise 3/4 Sleeve Tee
Amour Vert Francoise 3/4 Sleeve Tee $68
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From Head to Bow Scarf Scrunchie
Modcloth From Head to Bow Scarf Scrunchie $10
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07 of 12

Vintage-Inspired Summer

Gingham is always fun for summer, and this picnic patterned top pairs well with these nautical shorts, creating a vintage-inspired look. Wear the outfit with these red heels (and teach yourself how to walk in them again) for a flirty summer look.  

The Gyli Nautical Short
Able The Gyli Nautical Short $68
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Acee Red Suede Platform Heels
Lulus Acee Red Suede Platform Heels $38
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Smak Parlour Red Gingham Sleeveless Go-Getter Blouse
Unique Vintage Smak Parlour Red Gingham Sleeveless Go-Getter Blouse $48
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08 of 12

Updated Classic

Name a more iconic duo than a white tee and denim shorts? We’ll wait. Elevate the classic ensemble with H&M’s lace-detailed high-waisted shorts. Add a straw hat for some whimsy. 

Denim Shorts High Waist
H&M Denim Shorts High Waist $30
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The Organic Cotton V-Neck
Everlane The Organic Cotton V-Neck $18
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Aiden Straw Pork Pie Hat
GigiPip Aiden Straw Pork Pie Hat $82
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09 of 12

Floral Fun

While you may not be able to travel to Hawaii this summer, you can bring the summer vacation vibes to you with Marine Layer’s Hawaiian button-down shirt. Pair it with cool distressed shorts from Paige and some sunnies for a vacation vibe—even if you’re just relaxing on your fire escape or backyard.   

Dani Short
Paige Dani Short $169
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Malia Button Down
Marine Layer Malia Button Down $50
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Round Metal Classic Sunglasses
Ray Ban Round Metal Classic Sunglasses $154
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10 of 12

Running Errands

If you wear flannel shirts year-round, then you’ll love this look. Throw on your favorite oversized flannel, cute distressed shorts, and Birkenstocks for an effortless look when doing your early morning errands. 

Women's High-Rise Frayed Hem Jean Shorts
Wild Fable Women's High-Rise Frayed Hem Jean Shorts $15
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Oversized Plaid Shirt
NYDJ Oversized Plaid Shirt $89
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Arizona
Birkenstock Arizona $140
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11 of 12

Beach Day

Summertime means hitting the beach and soaking up some sunshine. Use your shorts as part of your coverup. Complete the look by throwing a lovely kimono over your bikini.

The Easy Does It Short
Mother The Easy Does It Short $198
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Anais Kimono
Lovestitch Anais Kimono $58
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Tide Bikini Top
Reformation Tide Bikini Top $78
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12 of 12

Mask-Matchup

While we may be dreaming of a vaccinated summer, we still have to wear our masks for the time being. Thankfully, face masks pair well with denim shorts. Dazey LA has some truly great masks with shirts to match. Wear your mask, tank top, and cut-off shorts to create a super cool look that’s easy to style. 

Monroe Cut-Off Short
7 For All Mankind Monroe Cut-Off Short $128
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Nudes Prints Reversible Face Mask
Dazey LA Nudes Prints Reversible Face Mask $15
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Nudes Print Tank
Dazey LA Nudes Print Tank $58
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