How to effortlessy wear denim shorts in 9 stylish outfits

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These paperbag denim bermuda shorts are a new favourite from my recent Zara shop.

Sizing and details

I got these denim shorts in light blue and size 34 (see FAQ for my measurements for reference). They’re also available in white and light grey.

They’re a new favourite because they are:

  • made of a thick, durable denim, but still feel soft and comfortable to wear
  • a light blue shade that’s perfect for summer
  • super high-waisted with belt loops
  • not so ballooned out that they make you look frumpy
  • practical with deep font and back pockets

I have already styled the mini denim skirt in a previous post, but you can think of these as the wise older brother who will make sure your tush is well protected as you go about your day and take on the world.

Like the mini denim skirt, these denim shorts look great with everything. They’re effortlessly casual but also fun for mixing up with dressy pieces.

Below, I’ve styled them in 9 different outfits suitable for various occasions.

You’ll see that I’m wearing a belt in all 9 outfits, and I think you should too when wearing paperbag shorts to avoid looking frumpy.

Soft neutral colours

Light denim pairs beautifully with soft neutral colours. It’s simple, clean and straightforward.

White

This airy, off-the-shoulder, white top is my favourite white summer blouse. It’s feminine and delicate without being see-through.

Light, delicate tops are a great complement for denim shorts. Finish off with casual sneakers for a cute yet practical outfit.

High waist light wash paperbag bermuda denim shorts paired with white puff sleeve cold-shoulder blouse and white nike air force 1 sneakers.
White off-the-shoulder princess sleeve flowy blouse from YesStyle. Nike Air Force 1 sage low sneakers.

Beige

Button up your cardigan and convert it into a sweater. I love French style and this is a very French girl thing to do.

I’ve paired with my large beige Longchamp Le Pliage bag which has brown shoulder straps that match the brown leather belt.

I love this carry-all bag because you can put so much in it but its minimalistic style keeps the outfit looking clean.

High waist light wash paperbag bermuda denim shorts paired with beige cashmere cardigan sweater, beige large longchamp bag and nude leather ankle heeled pointed boots.
Cream beige cashmere cardigan from Uniqlo. Longchamp large le pliage bag in desert. Nude heeled leather boots from Kookai.

Sage

Sage is one of those colours that can look spectacular or dreary depending on the shade.

It’s meant to be a washed-out colour so if it’s too vibrant it will look artificially off but if it’s too faded, it risks looking old.

To counter this, choose a more dressy material like satin or silk, which is a nice contrast to the very casual denim.

I also used a silk scarf as a belt just for fun. Turned out to be pretty cute, hey?

High waist light wash paperbag bermuda denim shorts paired with mock neck sage green satin top with princess sleeves, cream floral neck scarf belt and nude leather pointed ankle heeled boots.
Mock neck sage green satin top with flutter sleeves and cream floral neck scarf worn as a belt from SheIn. Nude heeled leather boots from Kookai.

Bold feminine colours

Denim truly does go with everything, as long as it’s a uniform neutral shade of blue, like the shorts we have here.

Red

Don’t be afraid to go bold with a classic shade of blue red. This is the ultimate accent colour that will always look good and timeless.

Everyone looks good in red, you just need to find your shade. In general, blue shades of red look good on most skin tones.

Red also looks great with black, which is why I’ve switched the belt out for a black one here.

This is a more fierce pairing than a brown belt, so I decided to tone down the footwear department with a mauve brown shade of boots instead of more black.

High waist light wash paperbag bermuda denim shorts paired with red silk cowl neck camisole and mauve long over the knee leather heeled boots.
Red cowl neck silk camisole in claret from LilySilk. Contrast belt with double metal buckle in black from Zara. Britney suede over the knee boot in canyon from Witchery.

Pink

As you might already know, I love wearing bright pink. I think it just works well on my skin tone, but it also helps that I love the colour itself.

I’ve layered this bright pink shirt over an otherwise very plain outfit to add some zing!

I also went with grey over-the-knee boots, as I personally think the colour combo of grey and pink looks bomb.

High waist light wash paperbag bermuda denim shorts paired with white square neck crop top, pink silk button down shirt and grey suede long over the knee heeled boots.
Pink silk shirt from Uniqlo. White square neck crop top from Kookai. Grey suede heeled knee high boots from Nine West.

TEA BREAK!

  • Rest your eyes
  • Take a deep breath…inhale peace & exhale happiness
  • Make a small wish for someone you love
  • Get up & stretch your legs
  • Hydrate & energise
  • Set an intention to live your best life

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CONTINUE READING

Bold prints

Continuing on from bold colours, bold prints are also fun to wear with these basic denim shorts.

Leopard print

Leopard print is a funny one. It is indeed a loud print, but it’s only comprised of neutral shades. This makes it very versatile and easy to wear.

It tends to be more of a dressy print than a casual one, so I opted for a black wide belt and pointed ankle boots to keep up the dressy vibe of this outfit.

Don’t worry, the denim shorts will work its magic and balance everything out just right.

High waist light wash paperbag bermuda denim shorts paired with high mock neck leopard print sleeveless top and black heeled ankle leather boots.
Leopard print halter top from SheIn. Contrast belt with double metal buckle in black from Zara. Black Goldeneye ankle leather boots in black nubuck from Bared Footwear.

Black floral print

All I did for this next outfit was swap out the top for a black floral blouse. The styling ideas behind this outfit are pretty much the same as what’s already been discussed above.

Black floral works well on me with my black hair, and I love how cream floral looks on blondes, so give this generalised rule a go if you’re not sure what type of floral print to go for.

High waist light wash paperbag bermuda denim shorts paired with black floral button down shirt and black leather ankle heeled boots.
Black floral shirt from YesStyle. Contrast belt with double metal buckle in black from Zara. Black Goldeneye ankle leather boots in black nubuck from Bared Footwear.

Long boots

I love wearing long boots. I will wear leather boots with denim shorts even if it means I risk looking like a cowboy.

Over the knee

Over-the-knee boots look more classy and dressy than under-the-knee boots, so you can safely choose a more casual style of sweater if you wish.

To be honest, I love how this fluffy white sweater feels but I do find it difficult to style without looking frumpy because of how thick the fabric is.

I felt a bit of deja vu putting together this outfit and later realised that I chose a similar combination for this outfit that was styled with a little red handbag.

How did this happen? It simply comes down to this colour combination being one that just works.

High waist light wash paperbag bermuda denim shorts paired with white fuzzy sweater, cream floral neck scarf and long mauve over the knee heeled boots.
Fuzzy white sweater from Sheike. Cream floral neck scarf from SheIn. Contrast belt with double metal buckle in black from Zara. Britney suede over the knee boot in canyon from Witchery.

Under the knee

I find it difficult to style under-the-boots as I think they frequently look too casual for my taste.

So to counter that, I chose a dressy khaki velvet bodysuit with princess sleeves and pearl white buttons. I also went with the dressier double buckle black wide belt.

I was very surprised by the outcome and this outfit is probably my favourite.

High waist light wash paperbag bermuda denim shorts paired with green velvet V neck bodysuit and brown knee boots.
Green velvet V neck bodysuit from SheIn. Contrast belt with double metal buckle in black from Zara. Brown leather knee high boots from Jo Mercer.

I’d love to know your favourite denim shorts outfit in the comments below.

If this wasn’t enough style inspiration for you, check out the post on styling a mini denim skirt with 9 more different outfits.

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