There probably isn't a garment more closely associated with the summer than the classic denim short. Whether you're into the ultra-mini, figure-hugging Daisy Dukes, or the oversized boyfriend 'jorts' that have dominated the social media trend cycle for the past six months – there's really no denying their prevalence and timelessness.
As we head into warmer weather (in the southern hemisphere at least), it's time to start thinking about beginning the search for the perfect pair. Some vintage Levi's cut-offs, perhaps? Maybe some classic, relaxed-fit indigos are more your style? Whatever your prerogative, budget or style, we've got you covered with our comprehensive guide to the best denim shorts for summer, below.
Best classic denim shorts
From left to right: ABRAND, DISSH, Levi's, Assembly Label.
If what you're looking for is a stock-standard, no-frills-attached, flattering denim short that will go with just about anything, then these are the selects for you. Straight-down-the-line indigo washes with no heavy distressing or embellishing – the kind that will compliment just about any summer ensemble you dare to throw on. We can't go past a standard pair of LEVI's 80s Mom Shorts or the ABRAND A Carrie Short in Georgia. For a darker, more work-appropriate hue, we're loving the DISSH Piper Indigio Denim Shorts or ASSEMBLY LABEL's Vintage Denim Shorts.
Best long denim shorts (jorts)
From left to right: bassike, G-Star Raw, Afends, Ganni.
The jort has taken the fashionable denizens of social media by storm these last six months, and it seems like you can't go anywhere in Australia without catching a pair on the streets or at a bar – usually pared with a cardigan, crop top, baseball cap or a pair of biker boots. We're loving BASSIKE's Mid Rise Denim Shorts and the GANNI's Blue Five-Pocket Denim Shorts. For something a little more worn, try G-STAR Raw's Type 89 Bermuda Shorts, or for a more relaxed feel, we're being called to by the AFENDS Emilie Hemp Denim Workwear Short.
Best white denim shorts
From left to right: Olympiah, DISSH, Ksubi, Jil Sander.
The white denim short is a summertime affair – perfect for sitting wharf-side, or for strolling the beach. They come in just as many silhouettes and styles as their indigo counterparts, but are a great way to elevate the casual appeal of the everyday denim look. For a more tailored look, we love the exposed contrast stitching of DISSH's Joplin Cream Denim Short, or these JIL SANDER High-Waisted A-Line Bermuda Shorts.For something with a little more edge, we're looking to KSUBI for their Rise N Hi Sugar Rush Short, but for the ultimate frayed, distressed white denim, we'd recommend the OLYMPIAH Ripped Denim Shorts.
Best black denim shorts
From left to right: AGOLDE, OneTeaspoon, R13, Rolla's
Black denim shorts offer a day-to-night option for the warmer months of the year. While they might still be associated in your mind with the pop punk days of your youth, there are so many fresh and contemporary silhouettes on the market these days – you'll hardly find yourself reminiscing. These AGOLDE Broken-Waistband Denim Shorts offer a modern take on the look, and we can't go past the rugged insouciance of these ONETEASPOON Super Relaxed Shaker Shorts. We love the cross-over waist detailing on these R13 Crossover-Waist Raw-Hem Shorts, and the Daisy Duke effect of these micro-mini ROLLA'S Mirage Trade Shorts.
Best cut-off denim shorts
From left to right: FRAME, Balenciaga, Dion Lee, Paige.
The humble cut-off denim short is about as timeless as it gets – a staple in most peoples' wardrobes from the time they're old enough to walk. Durable, comfortable and fashionable; they'll take you through the brunt of summer without too much trouble – no careful handling necessary. This season we're loving FRAME's Le Brigette Denim Shorts and BALENCIAGA's Frayed Denim Shorts. DION LEE's Distressed High-Rise Denim Shorts are shredded with a heavy hand as per the designer's signature experimental construction, but if you're looking for something a little more subdued, we'd recommend PAIGEs Asher Distressed Denim Shorts.
Best designer denim shorts
From left to right: Khaite, Re/Done, Toteme, Area, Mugler.
When it comes to designer and luxury denim, there are two roads you can travel down. We have the quiet luxury route – seeking out brands and garments crafted with the finest materials and an attentive hand, but which only scream luxury to the well-trained eye. For you, we'd suggest something along the lines of the KHAITE Luey Culotte, TOTEME's Organic Denim Shorts or the RE/DONE High-Rise Raw-Cut Denim Short.
The other route is to go for a bolder, statement pair of denim shorts from a luxury brand – like the Y2K dream that are these AREA Crystal-Embellished Denim Mini Shorts, or these statement MUGLER Spiral Denim Shorts.
Best denim shorts on a budget
From left to right: Cotton On, Glassons, UNIQLO, Riders by Lee.
Not everyone is ready to drop hundreds of dollars on a pair of denim shorts – especially if you're the adventurous type, planning to spend your summer camping, hiking, and otherwise testing the limits of your garments. A pair of denim shorts for you isn't about an investment, except in the comfort and durability of their wear. But even when you're on a budget, you still want to look good. We've been loving COTTON ON's Super Baggy Carpenter Denim Shorts (which come in three different colour ways for all of your summer needs), and these UNIQLO Boyfriend Denim Shorts for that relaxed, louche feel. The perfect jort can be found in the GLASSONS Wide Leg Longline Jort in Coyote Blue. If you want something that, price-wise, falls somewhere in between – we'd be looking at RIDERS BY LEE's Girlfriend Short.