Shorts season can be stressful. Finding a pair that will keep you cool, won’t ride up (or down), and will protect you from the dreaded fiery thigh chafe — all while still looking stylish — is no easy task. “For as long as I can remember, shorts seemed as though they were not made for plus-size women,” says style expert and model Sharonda Grandberry. “Finding the right pair of shorts has been a journey.” To help you find your new favorite pair (and fast, since the days are only getting hotter), we spoke to Grandberry and 11 other stylish women about the best plus-size shorts, including denim cutoffs, stretchy cotton utility options, and breezy, high-waisted linen in a range of sizes from XL to 15XL.
Best under-$50 plus-size shorts for women
According to model Priscilla Del Castillo, “from the prices to the quality to the size range, you really can’t go wrong with Target.” She especially loves these belted shorts that go up to size 18 and have a Gwyneth Paltrow–in–The Talented Mr. Ripley feel. They also come in four other colors.
Arianne Thigpen, a fashion blogger and co-founder of the Austin-based community Curvy in Austin, has been eyeing this Ava & Viv striped pair at Target because “they can be easily dressed up or down as needed.” They also go up to a 4XL.
Writer Marie Southard Ospina told us she gets most of her shorts from ASOS Curve’s denim range because “they’re particularly sturdy and built to last.” You can also get a lot of styles in a high-waist fit, which she says she “absolutely adores as it pairs so well with crop tops in summer or cropped sweaters and wool tights in colder seasons.” You can often find fun prints, too — like these green gingham shorts she purchased earlier in the summer, which go up to size 22.
Grandberry told us she has tried shorts from expensive brands and her neighborhood Walmart alike. “I would get so annoyed by shorts not fitting in the right places or not having the right amount of style,” she says, until she finally found Fashion to Figure, which carries options up to size 24. Grandberry says she loves everything from the company’s high-rise denim to its non-denim options, like these utility cutoffs.
When these cotton Madewell shorts were recently featured as our Deal of the Day, two Strategist writers (including the writer of this story) snatched up a pair. The extra-large fits up to a size 16 but has a touch of stretch and an elastic waistband to offer extra room. As a bonus, they’re even cheaper now than they were then.
“Even though I’m not a mom, I love rocking the high-waist mom-jeans look, so a short in that same fit is my go-to for the hotter weather,” says Samantha O’Brochta, a travel blogger and digital strategist. The blue acid wash is a “great shade for summer,” she adds, and the shorts go up to size 28. “The best part? They’re long enough in the inner-thigh area to avoid painful chafing.”