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The Best High-Waisted Shorts

Ann Haritonenko/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated May 2023

High-waisted shorts are all the rage today (and in decades past), no matter your size or style. They're popular because they cinch your waist, elongate your limbs, and add a vintage pop. Check out these top-rated shorts and choose your favorite.

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  Top Choice Best Tummy Control Best Cuffed Trendy and Formal Most Comfortable
Women’s 501 Original Shorts
Dragon Fit
High-Waist Yoga Shorts with Pockets
Women’s Juniors Vintage Folded Shorts
Black Faux-Leather High-Waisted Shorts
High-Waisted Elastic Running Shorts
Our SummaryThe first-ever jean shorts updated with a high rise.These shorts feature four-way stretch designed for fitness.Choose from multiple colors, designs, and features to get the right pair or denim shorts for you.These faux-leather shorts are easy to dress up or down.Get a more relaxed fit with an elastic waistband in these running shorts.
Pros✓ Classic denim option
✓ 20 color options
✓ High-quality
✓ Can wear with most tops
Spandex shorts
✓ Elastic waistband
✓ Breathable
✓ Four-way stretch
✓ Pockets
✓ Folded leg cuffs
✓ Tons of color options
✓ Ripped or regular style
✓ True to size
Soft and comfortable
✓ Elastic waistband
✓ Wide legs
✓ Deep pockets
✓ Silky lining
Running shorts
✓ Built-in brief
✓ Elastic waistband
✓ Sweat absorption
✓ Breathable fabric
Cons✗ May need to size up by one or two sizes✗ May need to size down✗ Baggy after long wears✗ Hand wash and hang dry only✗ Doesn't have a drawstring
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The Best High-Waisted Shorts

A tanned woman wearing linen shorts, a white shirt, and a brown leather bag.
Ann Haritonenko/Shutterstock.com

Today, high-waisted shorts are a popular style choice for every body type. They help make your legs appear longer and accentuate the smallest part of your waist for an hourglass figure. It’s wise to choose a style that flatters your overall body type and fits your style preferences. Here are some great high-waisted shorts you might want to add to your closet.

Buying Guide for High-Waisted Shorts

A stylish girl in denim shorts with a high waist.
Bohemian soul/Shutterstock.com

Why should you invest in some high-waisted shorts?

Get some high-waisted shorts because they’re flattering and comfortable for warm weather. It can be a long road to finding the right pair of shorts that make you feel like the rock star you are, especially with so many different styles and fits out there, but once you do, it’s a fantastic feeling. A quality pair of high-waisted shorts can offer the right amount of comfort without sacrificing fashion. These shorts hit at a natural point on your waist, allowing ultimate movement and flexibility and accentuating that desirable hourglass shape.

What should you look for when purchasing high-waisted shorts?

  • Comfort: If stiff denim isn’t your preference, then opt for stretchy denim or a pair of spandex workout shorts.
  • Rise: High-rise shorts can rise extra-high or more mid-height. Choose a rise that makes you feel comfortable, either for added protection when you bend over or to help hold you in for a smoother appearance.
  • Length: It’s nothing new that shorts come in a range of lengths. If you’re looking for something a little edgier to show off some extra thigh, opt for a shorter one or one that you can roll or unroll. If you want to stay a little cooler but want more coverage, opt for a longer style, such as a Bermuda short.
  • Stretch: If you want a crisp look all evening, maybe purchase a pair of shorts that doesn’t offer as much stretch, such as stiff denim. If comfort is more your style, then purchase stretchy denim or workout shorts.

What can you pair with high-waisted shorts?

Great news! High-waisted shorts pair well with just about any shirt or blouse, like a knotted tee or a crop top, and most shoes, whether sneakers, sandals, or heels. High-waisted shorts are such a versatile addition to your closet because they allow you to dress them up as much as you want, adding belts, accessories, or blazers, or you can totally dress them down with a casual t-shirt and sandals.

Our Top Picks for High-Waisted Shorts

Top Choice

Levi's Women's 501 Original Shorts

The first-ever jean shorts updated with a high rise.

Pros: You can’t go wrong with this classic. These Levi’s original high-waisted shorts offered in more than 20 colors are a high-quality way to stay and look cool throughout the sunny months. The 501 line was designed to inspire a ruggedly soft vintage vibe with higher hip placement and a stylishly frayed hem. Their fit helps shape different body types into a more balanced, hourglass figure, which accentuates your waist and complements curves. Pair your denim Levi’s with a simple white t-shirt or a fun crop top, slap on sandals or flats, and enjoy the fit.

Cons: These shorts run a tad small, so you may want to order up a size or two, depending on your measurements. Check Levi’s online measurement guide for help!

Bottom Line: This brand is loved and celebrated worldwide, making these 501 denim shorts a quality, stylish investment for warmer weather. And you have tons of color options to mix and match looks.


Best Tummy Control

Dragon Fit High-Waist Yoga Shorts with Pockets

These shorts feature four-way stretch designed for fitness.

Pros: Not all high-waisted shorts have to be denim. These breathable, elastic shorts from Dragon Fit are another way to flatter your waist and overall shape while keeping you comfy and cool during hot yoga or long-distance cycling. Made from non-irritable nylon and spandex, the non-sheer shorts feature a four-way stretch that contours with your body, no matter how far the stretch or complicated the position. Choose your favorite solid color or fun print! These shorts also feature pockets large enough to hold phones up to 6 inches long.

Cons: You might want to size down with these Dragon Fit shorts. You’ll probably find it’s a better, more athletic fit.

Bottom Line: Body-conforming, highly stretchy, high-waisted shorts with pockets? Yes, please! These comfy and flattering exercise shorts will be your favorite addition to your workout regimen. Plus, you no longer have to awkwardly search for somewhere to set your phone.


Best Cuffed

Haola Women's Juniors Vintage Folded Shorts

Choose from multiple colors, designs, and features for the right pair of denim shorts for you.

Pros: These are an adorable option for warmer weather. Hoala denim folded jean shorts come in tons of colors, including white, light to dark blues, and shades of black—or go bold and rock the star pattern or a pair with rips and tears. They’re stretchy but formfitting and ultra-high-waisted for the most flattering effect. Go ahead and order your size because these fit true to size. These high-waisted shorts are an excellent opportunity to sport a knotted band t-shirt and high-top sneakers or, if you’re feeling fancy, a long-sleeve blouse and red heels.

Cons: After some wear, the shorts become a little baggy, but that can be reversed with a fresh wash and dry.

Bottom Line: These adorable denim shorts are worth the price tag. Get multiple pairs to last throughout the warm seasons—they’ll stylishly pair with almost any top and shoe. Throw them in the dryer for a quick way to reset the elasticity.


Trendy and Formal

SCHHJZPJ Black Faux-Leather High-Waisted Shorts

These cute faux-leather shorts are easy to dress up or down.

Pros: Ready for a night out on the town? These chic, black faux-leather shorts are a hot way to cool down, whether you’re off to dinner and drinks or late-night dancing. These SCHHJZP shorts are like a mini skirt but with more comfort, functionality, and modesty, allowing you to sit, bend, and stand without any discomfort. Their materials are fashionable and easy to wear, featuring a forgiving elastic waist, wide legs, deep pockets, and a silky inner lining. The roomy pockets are a perfect fit for your phone and keys.

Cons: It’s recommended to hand wash and hang dry these shorts to avoid damage.

Bottom Line: Dress these flirty fashion shorts up or down, depending on your mood, and get ready for ultimate comfort and style. You’re bound to stand out in these sleek faux-leather shorts.


Most Comfortable

BMJL High-Waisted Elastic Running Shorts

Get a more relaxed fit with an elastic waistband in these athletic shorts.

Pros: If you’re looking for a pair of comfy, dependable running threads, we’ve found it in these BMJL high-waisted shorts. An elastic band meets the smallest point of your waist to help accentuate your natural curves in the best way. The shorts feature a convenient, stretchy inner brief (basically built-in underwear) that provides runners with more support and sweat absorption, and their breathable fabric keeps you cool and dry during runs. A traditional, split, tulip-cut hem helps keep you moving freely and effortlessly. They also feature super handy zipped pockets for safe storage.

Cons: Unlike some running shorts, these don’t feature a drawstring to help tighten the fit. So, it’s extra important to choose the right size the first time.

Bottom Line: Stay cool, dry, and moving in these versatile BMJL running shorts. They not only shape your body, but they provide the support you (and your phone and keys) need while running.

Final Thoughts

Shopping for the perfect pair of high-waisted shorts can be difficult, especially with so many options out there. That’s why we did the research for you! We hope you find exactly what you need with one of these top-rated pairs of high-waisted shorts.

Alesha Billie Alesha Billie
Alesha Billie is a momma to three kiddos (unless we count the furry ones) who has been writing and researching for over 15 years. After a start as a romance ghostwriter, she's written countless full-length novels in addition to articles, blog posts, advertorials, memoirs, and eBooks. Read Full Bio »
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