Here we are again, on the hunt for a great pair of shorts. It was 10 am Wednesday morning, LA heat was already ablaze, we were sweaty and ready to spend a half day trying on shorts for the sake of the blog. It’s what influencers do. But in all seriousness, us EHD gals were on the same page in that we needed shorts for summer (this heat is apparently going NOWHERE) and we agreed that buying shorts is not a breezy task. It should be, but it’s not. Is there some conspiracy that brands are behind where they menacingly mix and match sizing and laugh behind our backs as we try them on in horrible fluorescent dressing room lighting? Judging how the world is going right now, I am afraid anything is possible.
Funnily enough, this post is actually coming around almost two years to the day since our last shorts review post, so it felt serendipitous to be back at the Americana (an outdoor mall in Glendale) albeit this time donning masks in this strange new world. We started the day off extremely excited to be in each other’s presence, looking forward to lunch at Bacari (the absolute BEST in town IMO), and practically giddy with the promise of new shorts. But enough talk, let’s get into the nitty-gritty: Our task was to try on as many shorts as possible, take photos, and give you our HONEST reviews. This post is 100% #notsponsored, just fueled by grit and determination to find the perfect pair. Let’s begin.
Shorts Relationship Status: In theory I love denim shorts but hate how brands use the most arbitrary metric to determine sizing. I just want to have some faith that I can go into most stores and have a slight idea of what my size will be. Emotionally speaking, I don’t have any qualms about showing my legs, I just want the length to be long enough that my a** doesn’t hang out and I want the rise to be HIGH. The higher the better. I also am a weirdo in that I prefer my denim shorts to be rigid rather than stretchy even if that means they are widely less comfortable to sit in. Basically, I am down to take my shorts off at the end of the day and see every seam imprinted on my body.
Go-To Size: 32
WOMEN’S HIGH-RISE JEAN SHORTS, TARGET, $18
Why I like them (or don’t): I already own these shorts so this is technically cheating. It was probably a good thing that I started with these since the day would prove that shorts are a diabolical article of clothing. But these are good. Great wash. Good length and a healthy amount of stretch and legroom. The ones I have at home are a size 12 but I like the size 14 better. I am all about looser clothing lately and these were looser but still form-fitting (aka I wasn’t swimming in them just really comfortable).
Here is the side view and as you can see they don’t hug my thighs which I am so grateful for. By the way, Target actually has killer shorts that don’t just fit, but fit WELL. What a concept!
WOMEN’S HIGH-RISE VINTAGE STRETCH JEAN SHORTS, TARGET, $18
Why I like them (or don’t): These have the same shape and feel as the ones above. I love the exposed buttons and the light wash is very good. They might even have a little bit more legroom which I appreciate and they are wildly comfortable. Like you can sit all damn day in these and feel like you’ve been wearing pajamas. I clearly felt really cute in them and now I am wondering why I didn’t buy? I think I was thinking this shopping day was going to be much more successful than it was and didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket so to speak. They are currently in my cart and I might buy them by the time you finish this post. If just ONE person comments below that I should buy them, I will love you for justifying my inevitable purchase.
DENIM SHORT IN SQUASH WASH, J. CREW, $80
Why I like them (or don’t): After not finding any shorts in my size at Madewell (seriously, they didn’t have anything in stock over a size 30) I am annoyed at this point, feeling like shorts are the enemy. Or perhaps more accurately, brands that make shorts are the enemy. I am over brands that don’t understand how to make shorts for bigger bodies. They need to not only expand the waistband but also increase the rise!!! When you have a belly there just needs to be more fabric and because in this case there wasn’t, these were not as high-waisted as they should have been and instead of going straight across, the waistline made a super unflattering V shape, exposing my stomach. Needless to say, I skipped these!
AMBROSIO DENIM SHORTS, CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, $160
Why I like them (or don’t): This one made me laugh so I had to include. They are a size 32 and huge in the waist but fit snug in the thighs. This was right after I tried on these Levi’s that were a size 34 that fit like they should have been a normal size 32. I am not sure if I even like this length on me, but I was still down to try. Alas, the sizing was way off and further proved that brands need to start prioritizing more body types. Just like, have more fit models?? It shouldn’t be that hard.
Parker Long Short, AGOLDE, $128
Why I like them (or don’t): Here we have the clear winner of the day. I ended up buying them despite the high price point because A) I need to work on self-control and B) I fell in love with the wash and fit immediately. In the moment, I might have been desperate to find THE one so I won’t leave out the fact that I had some scary buyer’s remorse as soon as I left the store. Luckily though, once I was home I put them on again and I do truly love them. I am wearing them now in fact but you should know they have NO stretch so if you want comfort over style I’d skip these. They are true to size (FINALLY) although they could have more of a high waist. Like I said the higher the better!!
Okay, this concludes my journey so let’s move on to the rest of team EHD. Take it away, Caitlin.
Shorts Relationship Status: I don’t know WHAT is going on, but my self-esteem has been SOARING over the past few months. I think I’ve just finally come to terms with myself – like, this is what I look like, this is how my body looks, and IT’S FINE. To be fair, it’s still a bit of a work in progress – when I first saw my ~gams~ in the pics from today my internal monologue literally said, “Buzz, your girlfriend…woooooof” – but then I shut that self-talk down real fast. Like, yes, I am very pale and my legs look very jiggly in certain lighting situations (and they can also look dynamite in other lighting situations!!) but I am also an ADULT LADY who is too tired of letting REFRACTED LIGHT dictate the way I feel about myself. I’m too ornery for this. When we ran this post 2 years ago I was like “ehhhhh, I can go either way with shorts, hehe!” but now I’m militantly here to say “IT IS TOO DAMN HOT AND I WILL BE STRUTTING ABOUT IN MY BREEZY, COMFY PANTS.”
On a less self-empowerment note, though – finding shorts that I can wear has always been a struggle. I just measured to get some clarity and have a 15″ waist-hip difference (you’d literally never be able to tell as my preferred style of top can best be described as “muumuu-esque”) but finding shorts that pull up over my hips/butt and don’t squeeze the ever-living bejeezus out of my vageen when I’m sitting is basically impossible. I don’t have many shorts to share today but I am VERY PASSIONATE about the shocking brand of choice 🙂
Go-To Size: 30 – 32 (My old pants still fit but I’m up ~20 pounds over the past year and now buy larger sizes so like, WHO’S TO SAY?)
HIGH-RISE PULL-ON SHORTS, TARGET, $18
Why I like them…or don’t: These are $17 bucks, a great color, and they felt surprisingly luxe (like a really affordable version of the Madewell pull-on short that I normally recommend to folks who want a comfier short). There’s a ton of stretch – like, another person could have fit in there with me – so I could have gone down to the L, but it’s really hard for me to find shorts that don’t cling to my butt so I looooved the amount of literal breathing room these had in the legs. They’re one of the rare pieces of elastic clothing that I actually think you could dress up OR down, which is super impressive. Just as a side note: they’re described as “high-rise” and maybe it’s just because I need a lot of fabric to cover my butt but these are DEF like… “line below your belly-button-rise” at best. (Does anyone else have that???) I also bought that shirt in 2 colors because it’s AWESOME – it was $10, the fabric was so good (perfect amount of drape/flow), and I loved the length of the sleeves. Normally I’m an “invest in your basics” type but after trying this on I’m like “DON’T INVEST IN YOUR BASICS when this $10 shirt exists!!!!”
CURVE LOVE HIGH-RISE MOM SHORTS, ABERCROMBIE & FITCH, $59 (ON SALE FOR $30)
Why I like them…or don’t: Hi, uh, quick little venue change because Abercrombie doesn’t actually carry these in-store but they’re too good not to share. LET ME SCREAM FROM THE ROOFTOPS ABOUT THE ABERCROMBIE CURVE LOVE LINE. Ryann threw these on my radar and I am forever grateful – they’re made with extra space in the hips and thighs and I LOVE THEM. I usually go with a 31 for daily wear (I’m in the 31 in the opening photo and you’ll see another shot of me in the 31s with Jess below) but I’m actually obsessed with the way that these size 32s fit. TBH they’re too big at the waist – they definitely fall down below my belly button which kind of defeats the purpose of a high-waisted pant, so they need to be belted – but I’ve NEVER been able to find a loose jean short that gives me some room around my big ol’ thighs so these are my dream come true. I definitely wear this pair more for house stuff (cleaning, waiting for packages so I can run down the stairs in something that’s not PJs, running errands – really anything physical labor-y) but maybe one day I’ll pair them with a tight, non-blousy top to be like “BAM, LOOK, I HAVE A SHAPE!
CURVE LOVE 90S HIGH-RISE CUTOFF SHORTS, ABERCROMBIE & FITCH, $59 (ON SALE FOR $30)
Why I like them…or don’t: GAH. These, tragically, are my absolute favorite…and they’re too big because I sized up, like a dip. You can kinda see the fabric folding over itself in the front because there’s too much of it annnnd they’re also still falling down despite being belted BUT with all that said, I would 1 MILLION PERCENT reorder these in a smaller size. I have a feeling that these are the most popular curve love jean shorts (they’re ALWAYS sold out) but I love the way that they’re made – there’s tons of space in the legs, the structure feels great (the cut is way different from the earlier mom jeans in a way that I can’t identify but definitely prefer) and overall, these get 10/10 marks from me. If you’ve been on the fence about shorts, have an average American-sized body (especially if you’re larger in the hips/thighs), and don’t really want to put yourself through the whole try-on ringer, I am EMPHATICALLY recommending you to give Abercrombie’s curve love line a whirl. (My 2000s Hot Topic-shopping self would be SHOCKED to know that one day that sentence would cross my lips.)
Shorts Relationship Status: Better than it’s been in a long time but still super fragile. After dealing with some health stuff that I may or may not talk about at some point (FYI I’m totally fine), I started walking most mornings back in March. I called it “Bunge’s Marching March Madness”. It was a dumb name and had not a thing to do with basketball but it helped and I’ve kept it going. So while I wish I could have pranced around in shorts at any of the myriad of sizes I have been over the past few years (or in this single year), only now am I actually comfortable enough to wear them outside my house (but also HUGE shout out to Megababe’s Thigh Rescue for making this actually possible because my baby-powder-between-the-thighs youth was worthless). Body positivity and/or body neutrality is the absolute goal but 33 years of severe mental conditioning is tough to shake amiright? But also please don’t be like old me and wear those shorts people!! It’s too damn hot!
Go-To Size: 28/29
Height: 5″ 3 3/4″
WOMEN’S HIGH-RISE SHORTS, TARGET, $20
Why I like them…or don’t: I didn’t buy them but now I’m kinda regretting it. They were so cute and really comfortable. I just didn’t really need them. They are the perfect shorts where you don’t have to worry about anything “falling out”. Also perfect if you generally like a little more modesty in your shorts and great for running around with little ones. But are kinda a chic utilitarian look too, right? Ah, should I get them???
WOMEN’S HIGH-RISE VINTAGE STRETCH JEAN SHORTS, TARGET, $18
Why I like them…or don’t: I also didn’t get these but liked them a lot…especially for $18. The length and wash were nice but I was looking for a sturdier denim. But definitely cute and recommend. However, I bought that shirt! It didn’t photograph as cute as it is in person, but it’s a perfect lightweight summer top with a fun pattern which I’m trying to buy more of to spice up my wardrobe.
RELAXED DENIM SHORTS IN TILE WHITE, MADEWELL, $70 (ON SALE FOR $50)
Why I like them…or don’t: First off I am NOT a 27 right now. So if you like these I would for sure size down at least one size depending on how you want them to fit. I didn’t try on a 26 but if I wanted them more fitted I think a 26 would have worked which is wild sizing, WILD. Look, I don’t hate “vanity sizing” because you know, society has thoroughly conditioned us/me to think the smaller the size the better. But a size 26 on me is straight-up laughable and just far too unrealistic that I couldn’t even pretend that might be real. This also echos Ryann’s point about sizing. Get it together brands! All this to say that I did really like them and they were very comfortable. But I didn’t buy them because I wasn’t on the hunt for white shorts (maybe I’ll actually get a pair early next summer). FYI they also come in a bunch of different washes online so white isn’t the only one in this fit. Em has them in a blue denim, loves them, and says to also size down depending on the amount of bagginess you want.
FUN FACT (or fun-ish): These clogs are from Madewell if you were eyeing them:)
SEASIDE SHORT IN INDIGO STRIPE, J. CREW, $40
Why I like them…or don’t: I didn’t love these. Or maybe I should say, these would be great “inside shorts” for me because they felt like pajama bottoms. That isn’t a bad thing and you might LOVE the sound of that. They make them in a ton of colors so have at it:)
AGOLDE PARKER SHORT IN ENCORE, NORDSTROM, $128
Why I like them…or don’t: Y’all these were THE ONES! But of course because why on earth would I NOT choose the most expensive pair of the day????? I love the fit, I love that they’re more of a mid-rise than a high-rise, the love the sturdiness of the denim, the distress, and the wash. My only small, small wish is that they had a zipper instead of buttons to fasten up these bad boys. Seriously though, that’s it. I just feel f*ing cool in them and that’s all this gal could ask for.
BUT WAIT! MY TOP! This cropped little shoulder-padded tank is so good! Trinny Woodall, who if you don’t follow you should because she’s funny, plays so hard with her fashion while still making everything look so chic and is very pro shoulder pads to add shape and interest to an outfit. It made me want a top with shoulder pads (she has one that’s really cute) and now I own one. It comes in a bunch of colors and there’s also a non-cropped option too. The ladies said I looked like “a nice gal that could also kick your butt is necessary” which honestly was the greatest compliment I could ask for when talking about my clothes. Don’t mess with Jess, you got that!?
CURVE LOVE HIGH RISE MOM SHORTS IN DARK WASH, ABERCROMBIE & FITCH, $69 (ON SALE FOR $30)
Why I like them…or don’t: So I am still a little back on forth on these but I do love them a lot. The sizing is my biggest hurdle. The reason I got a 28 in these was because they are from the Curve Love line which gives you a couple of extra inches in the hips and leg area. So great, right?! I know Caitlin has already confessed her love for these and I concur. It’s really nice to not have a weird gap above your butt too! However, this size is snug but I can totally sit and breathe so there’s that. I should also say that I got a 29 in the not Curve Love option and they felt kinda big and not flattering. HOW? That makes me think a 29 in the kind I have will be even bigger??
So for the 28s, I can’t tell if I’ve just been hiding my body for so long that “showing it off” in smaller, tighter shorts just feels wild or if they are just a tiny bit too tight. IDK. I think I might keep them and get out of my comfort zone. It’s 2021 baby.
Shorts Relationship Status: I’ve always struggled to find shorts that are tight enough on the waist and baggy enough on the thighs. From what I hear from women in general, this is a common problem and I personally have only found success in one short: the recycled Levis from Urban Outfitters. I love these shorts. Maybe too much…I wear them almost every single day (they say low-waisted online but mine certainly are not) and I had another pair of the same shorts before too and literally wore them until they have holes and even then I sew up the holes and continue wearing them until I literally can’t anymore. Well, the pair I have right now is starting to get to the “overly worn and not in a good way” phase, so I knew now’s the time to find some new shorts. Why not buy the same recycled Levis? Well, I already have them ordered but the main issue is they’re recycled so each one fits a little different than the last…sigh. 8/10 times I like the fit of these shorts, but I ordered one recently that just wasn’t as good of a fit and I had to take it back (big sigh). That’s why I was so stoked to be going on this shopping excursion since I really really needed to do this myself anyway. And guess what? I found a pair!! Come join me on this journey…
Go-To Size: 26/27
BLACK SHORTS, TARGET, $18
I’ve always debated if I needed a pair of black shorts in my wardrobe or not, so when I saw these for only $18 I thought why not give them a try. I really like the way they fit (super stretchy and comfy) and they can either be longer or shorter (I rolled them up once in this photo) which is nice for versatility. I would have bought them except for my mission was more about denim shorts, but if I decide to finally get black shorts I might come back for these. I did get this shirt though on a side note because it was very comfy and cute (it’s gonna kill on zoom calls too) and it looks way more expensive than the $20 I spent on it.
RELAXED FIT DENIM SHORT, MADEWELL, $70 (ON SALE FOR $50)
I’ve tried these on a few times before and have never loved the fit on me, but Emily bought them and SWEARS by them (she said in our last meeting that these are the only shorts she wears now). Well, I figured out why I didn’t love the fit before…they run BIG. Especially if you like your shorts to fit tighter like I do. I sized down 3 sizes from what I normally am (but in my opinion most pants at Madewell run a little big so I usually always size down at least 1 size) so these are a size 24 and I finally like the fit. They’re not the stretchiest shorts in the world but also aren’t as stiff as Levis in my opinion. Also, since I’m going for a tighter fit in a “relaxed fit short” I felt like it was giving me a camel toe but Caitlin is a firm believer that all shorts do that no matter what and that they looked totally fine. All in all, I’d give these shorts a 9/10 but didn’t buy them in the end because I just wanted to see what else was out there and this was only our second stop. Honestly though, if I didn’t find another pair, I would have probably gone back for these.
I know Jess already discussed these, but just wanted to add that these shorts in white are MUCH stretchier and in my opinion are more comfortable than the denim ones (obviously because real denim really isn’t that comfortable until you break them in). I didn’t get these because I wear denim shorts way more than white, but if I was in the market for white shorts I would CERTAINLY come back for these.
LEVI 501 LIGHT WASH SHORTS, LEVI’S, $70
Winner winner chicken dinner. In a not-so-surprising turn of events, I tried on some classic Levi 501s (not the recycled version but still VERY light-washed) and fell in love. These shorts are admittedly a little tighter on the thigh than the recycled ones I have and wear all the time, but I’m pretty sure that’s just because they haven’t had the chance to break in yet like the other ones have. I love that these have a raw hemline with a little rip (my other’s don’t have any rips so it’s fun to shake it up) and I love how high they come up on my waist. All in all these shorts get a 10/10 and therefore took all of my money.
There you have it, folks. We had a great time doing this for y’all so we hope it was informative or at the very least entertaining to watch us navigate being “influencers” for the day.