Vintage Denim Shorts

Warm summer days call for the perfect pair of vintage denim shorts. Finding these shorts can be a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack, but once you do, the sleepless nights scouring ebay and vintage shops will all be worth it.

My obsession with finding said shorts began years ago when Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen launched Beach Mint. They were promoting their ultra soft t-shirts, but unwittingly sold me on their denim. The quest began and I luckily have a dear friend that works for 7 For All Mankind who graciously gifted me a pair of shorts. They were light in color, the perfect fit and only get better with time. However, they just weren’t that broken in “I cut off my old jeans” look I was striving for. Check back with me in a few years, and these will be that pair.

But for a girl that likes instant gratification, I had to begin my search again. I was talking to one of the stylists I represent, Martina Nilsson, and she suggested I shop for vintage denim that fit me well and cut them off myself. Then it dawned on me…I should contact the stylist that styled Mary Kate and Ashley for the Beach Mint shoot! Why hadn’t I thought of this earlier? I emailed Sally Lyndley, who graciously emailed me back the very next day.

She informed me that Mary Kate was wearing a vintage pair of Wranglers that Sally has had for 10 years and cut off herself from their original jean form. She originally purchased them in Dallas, TX. Ashley was wearing a vintage pair of Levi’s that Mary Kate had cut off into shorts and had purchased from the vintage boutique “What Goes Around Comes Around” about 10 years ago too. Sally suggested I go to Urban Outfitters and try out their denim revival shorts, which I found out were salvaged Levi’s made into shorts. She wished me luck and my hunt began.

I began with an online search on ebay and found a treasure trove of shorts. I ordered a pair that were absolutely perfect, the only problem was they didn’t fit. Lucky for my sister, Kelly, I think they will fit her. I then went to Urban Outfitters who had an unbelievably wide selection in their Urban Renewal Collection. The only downfall I discovered was that it is very hard to find a perfect fit with vintage denim. These jeans have been through a lot, washed and dried and worn to shreds, which is their appeal, but makes for a tricky fit. These are anything but true to size. I also went to “What Goes Around Comes Around” and their selection of jeans was vast, but the shorts selection in my size, 26, was slim. I hesitated on plunking down $200-$500 for a vintage pair of Levi’s only to cut them off, but I will keep that as a last resort. I also found out that Free People sells vintage denim shorts, but they only carry them online, not in the store, so you can’t try them on and they are final sale.

So it looks like I am empty handed at the moment, but my quest continues and Urban Outfitters and ebay get new inventory every day. These two stores seem like the most economical option and have the styles I am looking for. I will keep on my search for the perfect vintage denim shorts and wish you all the very best of luck in yours.

Urban Renewal shorts are $59 and can be purchased at

Vintage Levi’s shorts are $128 and can be purchased at