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How to Find Cute Modest Shorts (Updated for 2021)


Finding cute shorts that are long enough is a battle every year. I’ve sorted through pages and pages of terrible, ugly, frumpy mom shorts to bring you this shopping guide to on-trend, fitted, easy to wear modest shorts.

Here in Charleston, SC, we are pretty much wearing shorts from March to November! My wardrobe has a shorts to pants ratio of like 6:1. So, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find cute pairs, and how to wear them so I feel like I look good. I’ve always got an eye out for them when I’m shopping, and thought I’d share my finds with you! Many of these modest shorts are in my summer capsule wardrobe and also this casual summer outfit post too.

woman wearing knee length shorts under canopy of southern oak trees.

Why Wear Modest Shorts?

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (sometimes referred to as “Mormon” or “LDS”), and have been counseled to dress modestly by our leaders. Part of that counsel is to specifically avoid “short shorts.”

But there are many reasons to choose to wear longer, knee-length shorts. Tall women (like me! I’m 6’1″) may prefer long shorts to modestly cover more of their long legs.

If your workplace allows shorts, longer shorts are more professional and can look really cute with a blazer or button down shirt. And many schools have dress codes that require shorts to reach their fingertips.

Some people just prefer the proportions of a bermuda short over a short-short. There’s lots of reasons to wear knee-length shorts, so lets find some cute ones!

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2018 Modest Shorts Guide

How to Search for Modest Knee Length Shorts

Like I said, I search high and low every year for cute modest shorts. I have learned which stores typically carry them (my go-to stores are J.Crew, Gap, Old Navy, Nordstrom, H&M, etc). Most of the time, you can search “bermuda” on their website. Bermuda short is the common name for knee-length shorts. I’ve also seen them called “city shorts” or “walking shorts.”

Knee length doesn’t always mean exactly to the knee, and honestly I like my shorts a bit above my knee. I try to go for about a 9 inch inseam. I’m pretty tall though, so if you’re shorter you may be able to wear 7-8 inch inseam without a problem.

I personally own a few of the pairs I have linked up in the images below, specifically the J.Crew Factory bermuda shorts (cough, 5 pairs, cough-cough), I’ve been wearing them for probably 5 or 6 years now. Each year they stock different colors, so hopefully they’ll add new fun colors as summer approaches. I also really like the cuffed denim bermudas that I’ve found at Gap Factory Outlet.

Modest shorts for young moms - Loft outlet Denim Bicycle Shorts

This year I found some denim bermuda shorts with a cuff at the Loft Outlet (pictured above, along with my awesome sunburn), and I like them even better than the Gap pair, because they’re not as tapered at the knee. My legs are …”muscular” even though I don’t really exercise… haha.

Modest Shorts Shopping Guide – Summer 2021

The bermuda shorts shown below are all at least a 9″ inseam (except for bike shorts), which should be long enough for most of us. I’ve seperated them into four different categories:

  • Modest jean shorts
  • Modest bermuda shorts (twill, khaki, etc)
  • Modest Athletic Shorts (biking, hiking, yoga, etc)
  • Modest Lounge Shorts

I’ve seen a lot of cut-off style bermudas this year, so that is definitely an option too. Grab a pair of distressed “boyfriend” jeans and cut them off a bit above the knee!

Modest Shorts Shopping Guide

The best of the best modest knee length shorts, separated into denim, bermuda, athletic and lounge.

Modest Denim Shorts

A go-with-everything summer staple, knee length denim shorts are an important part of any summer wardrobe.

Modest Bermuda Shorts

Preppy and classic, a nice twill bermuda short can be dressed up or down. Also called "chino shorts" or "city shorts."

Modest Athletic Shorts

Sometimes you need a longer short for working out, hiking and being active. Here are some great options!

Modest Lounge Shorts

Perfect for kicking around the house or relaxing after a day at the beach, these long shorts are so comfortable!

I’m working on a bunch of other modest summer outfit posts (the struggle to look cute and not melt is real!). Awhile back I shared my favorite breezy modest summer dresses, and my favorite modest swimsuits. You can check out my summer capsule wardrobe too.

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