One of my go-to brands for shorts is Madewell. They have a ton of styles, great prices and regular sales, every size under the rainbow (they are extremely size inclusive and have great curvy jean short options), multiple rises for each pair, and a variety of washes. In fact, if you have the option to drop by in person at one of their stores, you can visit the Madewell Denim Bar, which has an extensive selection of jeans and denim shorts to try on.
With so many options, however, it can be a challenge to figure out how to narrow down which ones are best for your body type and preferences, especially if you are shopping online. So in today’s post, I’m sharing a roundup of the best jean shorts, linen shorts, and more from Madewell along with my thoughts about each. Hopefully this helps you narrow down your favorites or find a new pair to love! They have a cult following for good reason and I’ll get into all of the details in this post.
In the past, the issue I had with Madewell jean shorts was the sizing discrepancy. From pair to pair, I was anywhere from a 23 to a 25, which was super frustrating. However, this year (2023), it seems they’ve corrected that issue because all but one of the styles below fit true to size.
First, let’s talk about the Relaxed Denim Shorts from Madewell. I truly love this style. They fit loosely around my thighs, which I appreciate, and they’re a nice, longer length for women in their 30s. These have the least amount of stretch that Madewell makes (they are made with 100% cotton) and are considered a rigid fit, which is my preference. I prefer my denim to feel stiff and naturally loosen throughout the day versus feeling stretchy as I put them on. This style comes in a handful of washes and variations (including an even longer mid-length).
In years past, I felt like the sizing for this style was wildly inconsistent, but this year, my true size 25 fits well. They’re looser than other size 25 pairs I have, but I believe that’s because of the relaxed nature of the fit, versus the size.
Here are the details on these pairs:
The next pair I ordered was the Patch-Pocket Denim Shorts in Earlwood Wash. I was hesitant since this is a shorter style, but I LOVE them. The front pocket detail is so fun, and it feels more polished than most denim shorts. One thing to note is that they run small, and it’s important that you tuck your shirt in to the front of these so that it’s obvious your shorts aren’t on backwards! One huge selling point for this pair is the A-line cut which gives the leg opening a ton of space. If you hate when your shorts hug your thighs, you will love this style.
I got a size 25 and will need to go up to a 26.
Here are the details:
The Baggy Jean shorts style is new to Madewell this year and I love it. They have a much longer inseam, almost edging on Bermuda length, but Madewell has done a great job making them all feel modern. My favorite wash from this collection is the White Tile with the raw hem. I haven’t loved raw hems much this summer, but for this longer style, it feels fresh and age-appropriate.
Just like the Relaxed Jean shorts, the Baggy Jean Shorts come in a multiple washes and variations. I’m sharing the details for the White Tile pair below, but keep in mind that not every Baggy Short from Madewell will have these exact specs.
Here are the details:
These run small, so I went up one size.
The Perfect Jean Shorts are my least favorite of the Jean shorts I’ve tried from Madewell. The main difference between these and the Relaxed Jean Shorts (since the Perfect Jean Shorts also have looser and longer fitting styles this year) is the stretch. These are made with a blend of cotton and elastane, so Madewell considers them “comfort stretch”. While this isn’t my preference, I have many friends who love a stretchy denim short, and to their point, they really are comfortable, just not my preference.
When I first tried the Perfect Jean Shorts from Madewell, they only had one length, and it was shorter than the relaxed fit, so that was another turn off. This year however, they do have mid-length options, and I like them much better.
Per usual, The Perfect Jean Shorts come in a variety of washes, lengths, and other variations, so I can’t speak to all of them. The pair I’m outlining below is the Perfect Vintage Mid-Length Jean Shorts, since this is the pair I bought this year. I like these better than my older, shorter pair of Perfect Jean Shorts, for the record! I got my true size 25 and I’d say they fit true to size.
Here are the details:
This pair of shorts was on my wishlist for weeks before I finally decided to order them. The pink was just calling my name. These are a linen/cotton blend that has a tailored, flat front, balanced out with a stretchy, elastic waistline in the back that makes them easy to pull on and stay in all day.
The length is 3.5″, so while this would usually feel too short for me, the loose leg and high waist create the illusion that they’re longer than they are. I own these in a size XS and they fit true to size.
I saw the dark plum color and the pockets on the front and was sold. I love a utility/military style short that’s a touch more fun than normal. These fit the bill. These have a longer inseam than the pair below (5″), which is my ideal length for shorts. They’re stretchy, which I love for a non-denim short, and they have a super flattering A-line shape.
The material is super soft, and they run very true to size.
This pair is a bit more casual than the pink pair linked above, but they’re a similar flat-front style. The Neale shorts have belt loops, a button front, and a partially elasticized waist. Just like the pink shorts, these have a 3″ inseam, but they don’t feel too short. I ordered these in the Ochre Fresco color. These run true to size, and I got a size 2.
More to come as I find new favorites!
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