Finding denim shorts that properly fit my five-foot-ten frame has become a personality trait, and every summer I kick off my annual search for a pair that is long enough to cover my butt from all angles, lays flat without bunching around the fly, doesn’t chafe between my thighs, and looks nice whether I’m sitting, standing, or walking. I typically buy at least one pair that is acceptable but still has a major flaw. I’ve come to expect that denim shorts will gather around my crotch and create an unattractive fabric pooch or ride up while I walk until they resemble something closer to boy shorts. I’d nearly convinced myself that my body type was not set up for denim shorts, but even after so many summers without a pair that made me feel confident and stylish, I just couldn’t give up my hunt.
I had been relying on old-faithful stores like Old Navy, H&M, and Target to magically start carrying my dream shorts, but I knew I needed to branch out. So I started chatting with friends and co-workers and diving deep into try-on videos on YouTube to find out where other tall, curvy women in the size-12 range were finding denim shorts. Time and time again, I was given the same suggestion: Abercrombie & Fitch.
Instantly, I flashed back to the dimly lit, overly fragrant mall store in which denim went up to only a size ten, which I couldn’t comfortably wear even in high school. Since the brand hadn’t crossed my mind for the better part of a decade, I was behind on Abercrombie’s size-inclusive rebirth that brought more styles and sizes to choose from, including the Strat-approved Curve Love jeans (which we recommend for tall women needing a few extra inches across their hips) and black vegan-leather pants (in sizes that actually fit plus-size shoppers). To get an idea of what the Abercrombie shorts looked like on a frame I could relate to, I watched a few try-on videos from Carrie Dayton and Alex Michael May, both stylish women with body types similar to mine. Thoroughly influenced and well informed, I was ready to try them on for myself.
Abercrombie’s denim shorts are available in six different styles and a range of waist heights and inseam lengths. I chose the High-Rise Dad Shorts, which have a high-waisted cut (with or without the Curve Love fit) and the longest inseam option — up to seven inches — though I opted for the five-inch inseam. While I am typically a size 12, which translates to a 31 in Abercrombie sizing, I grabbed the standard High-Rise Dad Shorts in a size 31 and a size 32 to compare. The size-32 pair was slightly too baggy around the waist and crotch area, creating unsightly bunching and gapping. But putting on the size 31 felt like a true aha moment. Like, Oh, this is how jean shorts are supposed to fit.
The high-waisted cut fit snuggly over my bellybutton, with the top of the shorts hitting me at the tip of my rib cage, so the dreaded gap in the back wasn’t an issue. The length was moderate but not frumpy, falling just shy of fingertip length. It was easy to get the shorts on over my hips and thighs, and the leg openings weren’t too baggy or too tight. With just a sprinkle of stretch, the denim has a rigid feel. The fly lay nice and flat.
Though I was in a haze of love at first sight in the dressing room, wearing them outside for a couple of hours would be the true test. Through walking, sitting, standing, and a few washing-and-drying cycles, the shorts have remained in good standing. I don’t ever have to untangle them from my thighs, constantly readjust the waist, or hold my breath to squeeze them on. I am able to confidently sit down and stand up without worrying about a rogue butt cheek peeking out from the bottom. Everything I’ve been searching for in denim shorts has manifested in the Abercrombie High-Rise Dad Shorts, and from now on they’ll be my go-to every summer.
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