How to Style Denim Shorts for an Elevated Yet Everyday Look

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Warmer weather is finally here and I could not be happier about it. I’m sure many of you who experience long and dreary winters feel the same way. On top of enjoying the brighter days, I always look forward to pulling out my summer wardrobe staples once again for the season. I also love to come up with fresh and fun ways to style said pieces year after year.

While there certainly is no shortage of go-to summer clothing (linen shorts, dresses, rompers, etc.), one piece that’s a longstanding top choice is denim shorts. I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about wearing shorts (especially if they’re on the tighter side) but I really do think they’re a fool-proof piece that can be mixed and matched with so many other summer staples.

If you’re feeling a bit lost on how to style denim shorts, I’m sharing a handful of elevated ideas to inspire you. I put all of these looks together with the same pair of shorts, but I’m also including a variety of denim shorts for those of you who are trying to find the best option for your body type. There’s truly something here for everyone, and I promise you’ll be reaching for these looks on the regular.

How to Style Denim Shorts

Denim Shorts and a Sweater Vest

If spring proved one thing, it’s that sweater vests are majorly in again—and the trend doesn’t have to stop now that we’re in the summer season. Sweater vests make for such a practical layering piece, ideal for hot days and cooler evenings. In addition to being a logical top choice, they also provide a preppy and polished look.

To recreate my outfit, throw a sweater vest on over a neutral bodysuit (a basic tank top would also work) and then slip into some denim shorts. For shoes, try sandals or sneakers for more casual outings, and ballet flats, wedges, or heels for a dressier vibe.

The simplicity of this look is what makes it so chic, so don’t feel like you have to add much to make a statement.

denim shorts outfit with a bodysuit and sweater vest

Denim Shorts, a Blazer, and a Scarf

For a more unique take, grab your trusted blazer and a cute silk scarf to level up your denim shorts outfit. I’d wear this to a brunch with girlfriends, for a date night, or even to a coffee meeting. I love that both the blazer and the scarf make this outfit feel sophisticated and feminine, while the shorts keep things summery and cool.

If this feels like “too much” for you, or if you want something a bit more laid-back, lose the scarf and opt for dainty jewelry instead. You could also go with a linen blazer (which I share an outfit idea for below) since the material has a more casual feel.

denim shorts outfit with a blazer and sandals

Denim Shorts and a Cardigan

The best part about this outfit is that you likely have all of these pieces in your closet already. If not, I’d highly suggest at least sourcing a striped tank—it’s a good basic to have on hand throughout all seasons.

Since summer afternoons and nights can get a bit chilly, tote along a sweater jacket for extra warmth. You could tie it around your shoulders for a fun way to spruce up your look. However, if a jacket feels too heavy, opt for a lightweight cardigan instead. Finish the look with a pair of strappy heels, or sandals or wedges for an everyday outfit.

Denim Shorts, a Blazer, and Heels or Loafers

If you like the idea of pairing a blazer with your denim shorts, but you want something more relaxed than the outfit above, try this instead. Like I mentioned, opting for a linen or linen-blend blazer can offer a more casual look. Plus, it’s a piece that guarantees a lot of wear for a variety of occasions.

Layer a high neck or racerback tank top underneath so you can easily take the blazer off if it’s too hot. As far as shoes go, I went with some low, strapped heels, but I also think chunky loafers would look adorable. Oh, and adding a gold statement necklace can help break up the neutral and matchy feel of this outfit.

denim shorts outfit with a linen blazer and a tank top
denim shorts outfit with a high neck tank top, belt, and loafers

Denim Shorts for Women

I hope this post helped you figure out how to style denim shorts. Which outfit is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section below.

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