14 Different Types of Boyfriend Shorts

From boy shorts to boxer briefs and chino shorts, any type of shorts a man can wear, women can wear also. Boyfriend shorts are increasing in popularity for women across the world since they are comfortable, convenient, and cute. Women do not have to borrow their boyfriend's shorts anymore!

A close look at a woman wearing a pair of denim boyfriend shorts with her kimono.

The boyfriend jean became popular and was all the rage in the colder months but what do you wear when you want a similar look but the weather outside is hot? You throw on a pair of boyfriend shorts, of course, but what is a boyfriend short and where do you find a pair? From the traditional denim short to the convenient running shorts or high waisted shorts, you will find the answers to those questions and more about summer shorts that look like your boyfriend’s favorite pair of shorts throughout this article.

Boyfriend shorts were conceived from the idea of women putting on their boyfriend or husband’s shorts for a comfortable look and fit. Many women enjoy this look and the fashion industry responded by developing an entire line of shorts, jeans, and tops that are modified versions of each corresponding men’s piece of clothing.

For example, if a men’s jacket is modified to fit women properly, it is referred to as a boyfriend jacket which is the same way boyfriend shorts are created. Instead of a woman wearing her boyfriend’s shorts and throwing on a blazer that may not fit properly and be too baggy, the boyfriend shorts she can purchase will fit properly with her body type but still provide the same look and style.

Boyfriend shorts are a type of “borrowed from my boyfriend” style that is increasing in popularity among women but they need to be styled correctly with the proper fashion sense or they can end up looking like “mom” shorts which is not the look most women are going for when purchasing boyfriend shorts. Whether you prefer a simple pair of denim shorts, short jean shorts, ones that show more thigh, or a pair that provides you with a loose fit or shorts with a frayed hem, there are a pair of boyfriend shorts in the fabric and style you prefer.

The origin of shorts seems to have stemmed from the French Revolution. Prior to the revolution, the people who were part of the working class wore long pants to do their jobs while the aristocracy opted to wear breeches or culottes. After the French Revolution was over, all of the different classes of people started to wear pants.

The idea during this time period was that shorts were only for young boys while male babies wore long white dresses which became shorter as they grew into toddlerhood. When they became boys, they began to wear shorts then changed to breeches during the middle period of childhood. By the time they became teenagers, they were wearing long trousers. The concept was that the baby boy grew from feminity to manhood, hence the phrase “the man wears the pants in the household.”

Shorts were also worn by the military back then with the earliest example of this being traced back to the 1800s when the highly respected Gurkha soldiers of the Nepalese Army wore shorts that are similar to the khaki shorts worn by both men and women in today’s world.

Their shorts did boast several large pockets, though, to make them convenient for the soldiers and they featured a very distinctive cummerbund waistband that sported several buckles and straps that were adjustable. The Boy Scouts eventually adopted shorts as part of the uniforms as shorts became the main staple of clothing for men, especially during the months of warmer weather.

While some women, mostly fashion models for Vogue, began wearing shorts in the 1930s, they really became popular in the 1950s with women throughout the country. In the 1930s, it was still considered taboo for women to rock a pair of shorts but they changed with the introduction of pedal pushers and hotpants in the 1950’s era.

Boyfriend shorts have a much, well, shorter history as they only recently made popular by many of the influencers who began wearing them on their YouTube Channels and in their Instagram stories and posts. This has opened up a whole new fashion trend for women that they seem to appreciate due to the comfort, freedom of movement, and cute style that shorts modeled after their male counterpart’s shorts can offer.

Also, style bloggers, such as Mija, began pairing their boyfriend shorts with cropped tops and booties for a very creative, edgy, tomboy style while other bloggers have dressed them up for a more soft, feminine look by adding pink blouses and statement pieces of jewelry. These bloggers offer plenty of examples of just how versatile boyfriend shorts can be for many new fashion options for the ladies.

Athletic Booty Shorts

Cadmus Athletic Booty Shorts for Women 3 Pack High Waisted Workout Pro,1021,Black,Grey,Dark Green,X-Small
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These shorts are cut to fit tightly and are very short, striking high up on the thigh. They are sometimes referred to as boy shorts and offer only a minimum amount of modesty since they are super short, almost like a pair of underpants. They are most often worn under short skirts but some women simply wear them as a pair of shorts with a tank top or other summer shirt.

Booty shorts are constructed of moisture-absorbing material that allows them to be more breathable while staying dry during exercise. They are styled after a similar version that men also wear for workouts. Athletic booty shorts are great to wear for a yoga class, a game of tennis, or a round or two of some beach volleyball.

Boy Shorts for Women

SEASUM Wome n Sports Short Booty Sexy Lingerie Gym Running Lounge Workout Yoga Spandex Short Hot Costume Outfit S
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These are the actual version of boy shorts. They are a little longer than the booty shorts but are still very high rise shorts on the thighs. They are great for workouts, including yoga and pilates, since they allow for plenty of freedom of movement.

Women’s Boyshort

PUMA Women's Boyshort, Rosewater, M
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This type of boy short is modeled after men’s athletic briefs and is very popular among women who wear them while they do a workout or while they simple lounge around the house on a lazy Sunday. They are made of soft, breathable material and are extremely comfortable.

Cut Off Shorts

luvamia Women's Casual Mid Rise Shorts Frayed Raw Hem Ripped Denim Jean Shorts Blue Color, Size XL
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Simply put, cut-off shorts are just shorts made by cutting off a pair of denim or colored jeans. They usually strike your leg above the knee or higher, depending on your preferences. They can have a ragged cut edge at the hem for a more rugged, authentic look, or can be hemmed up with a cuff. You can make your own by simply cutting a pair of shorts from jeans you already have on hand or you can purchase cut-offs that are already produced for you at virtually any store that sells spring and summer clothing. These shorts are the most popular of all of the types of boyfriend shorts on the market today.

Women’s Chino Shorts

Amazon Essentials Women's 5" Inseam Chino Shorts, navy, 8
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This pair of women’s chino shorts boasts a classic fit with a mid-length inseam that provides a very versatile style. The casual look and feel of these shorts are modeled after men’s chino shorts which originated from chino pants that are very popular with women and men alike. This particular pair even offers rear welt pockets that can be used to hold small items, such as money or tissues.

Cargo Shorts

A woman wearing a pair of cargo shorts with her boots.

These loose-fitting baggy shorts are styled from the male version of cargo shorts and offer plenty of deep pockets and always boast at least one cargo pocket. They are sometimes referred to as combat shorts and are offered in an array of colors and styles to fit everyone’s taste in clothing.

Long Leg Boy Boxer Brief Shorts

Molasus Womens Boxer briefs Cotton Boy Shorts Underwear Anti Chafing Bike Short Long Leg Under Shorts Multicolor 4 Pack Size 5
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Designed with men’s boxer briefs in mind, this type of boy boxer brief long-leg shorts are a great optioning when biking or going for a motorcycle ride since they are created with no rolling up in the legs. This means the legs are long enough to prevent chaffing of the inner thighs which in turn, reduces pain and skin irritations. They will keep your thighs from rubbing each other when you walk or run and the gusseted crotch area allows for plenty of freedom of movement.

Jamaican Shorts

A couple wearing shorts while exercising.

Jamaican shorts resemble the male version of Jamaican shorts and are designed to lie above the women’s knees and below their crotchline area. They are comfortable, stylish, and flattering for women of all body types and can be purchased online or at most stores that sell clothing when spring and summer clothing is available.

Bermuda Shorts

Amazon Essentials Women's 10" Inseam Bermuda Short, -white, 4
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During World War I, Britain’s North American Headquarters was constructed in Bermuda during World War I and there was only one tea shop on the entire island. That tea shop’s business was booming during this time period because of all of the British soldiers who frequently came there to purchase tea.

Between the hot summer weather and the steaming hot pots of coffee, the little tea shop could become unbearable at times. The owner did not want to spring for new uniforms for the staff at the shop so he simply cut their khaki trousers above the knee so they would stay cooler. Rear Admiral Mason Berridge frequently drank tea in the little shop and he decided to adopt this new style of shorts for his fellow officers and dubbed them Bermuda shorts.

The British Navy eventually started yacht clubs in Hamilton and in Saint George and the British Army also began adopting the shorts as part of their khaki military uniform. After a short while, men in London decided that the khaki shorts would be the official look for all British soldiers serving in any of the subtropic areas of the Old British Empire.

The people who lived in Bermuda also adopted the look and style of the Bermuda shorts and tailors began modifying khaki pants for nearly everyone to become shorts. The Bermuda shorts even became the acceptable outfit for local businessmen and eventually, tourists of Bermuda from the United States took on the style, bring it to America and other locations throughout the world.

Bermuda shorts are also referred to as walking shorts or dress shorts since they are longer, hitting just above the knee, and normally have a cuff at the hem.

Knee Length Denim Shorts

GRAPENT Women's Dark Blue Ripped Denim Bermuda Shorts Distressed Knee Length Stretchy Frayed Raw Hem Pockets Jeans Size X-Large
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This pair of women’s summer ripped high-rise denim knee-length shorts is made of stretchy distressed denim jean material and is a great pair to dress up or dress down, depending on the occasion. They go all the way to the knees so there is no rubbing of the thighs and you do not have to worry about them riding up when you bend over or walk. You will have the look and feel of wearing a pair of your man’s shorts but they will fit better on your body.

Capri Shorts

Hanes Women's French Terry Capri, Black, X-Large
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The women’s French Terry Capri Pant is a wonderful example of the Capri-style shorts that are modeled after the men’s athletic style capris. They end about three to five inches below the knee and are comfortable and versatile. They can be purchased online or at sporting goods stores as well as discount stores.

Knee Hugger Shorts

Oalka Women's Short Yoga Side Pockets High Waist Workout Running Shorts Navy Blue L
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Women’s Short Yoga Side Pockets High Waist Workout Running Shorts is a great example of a comfortable fitting pair of knee hugger shorts. They are styled after the men’s Bermuda shorts and some pairs offer a drawstring at the hem, allowing you to make them tighter at the knee or closed, hence the name knee hugger shorts.

Pedal Pusher Shorts

Laurie Felt Women's Silky Denim Pedal Pusher Pull-On Jeans, Brushed Medium, XL
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These shorts end about two inches below the knee and can easily be dressed up for a special occasion or dressed down for a more casual look. This type of shorts is modeled after the men’s version of pedal pusher shorts and can be purchased at online clothing sites or at discount stores, including Walmart and Target.

Athletic Shorts

Little Beauty Running Athletic Elastic Waist Workout Yoga Shorts Red L
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These women’s shorts are similar to the men’s version of athletic shorts. They feature an elastic waist and since they hit mid-thigh, they allow for plenty of movement and comfort. They are great to wear for a workout or just to relax in at home.

Five FAQs About Shorts

What are the short shorts for guys called?

Sometimes men’s short shorts are referred to as hotpants but for the athletic man, they are known simply as extreme short shorts. They are created as activewear because they offer plenty of freedom of movement and are comfortable for men to wear while they work out. This is the same for women’s short shorts that were modeled after the men’s style.

What can you wear with boyfriend shorts?

If you are going for a casual, easygoing, laid-back type of look, boyfriend shorts are a great choice for you to wear. You can pair them with a variety of different kinds of shoes, including over-the-knee boots, stilettos, flats, tennis shoes, or even hiking boots. You can accessorize with bracelets, hats, and necklaces and pair them with a dressy blouse, a halter top, or a T-shirt depending on the occasion on which you’re going to wear them.

What are women’s long shorts called?

If the long shorts fall below the knee, they are referred to as capris and if the hem falls above the knee, they are referred to as Bermuda shorts.

What length of shorts should I wear?

The length of shorts you wear is up to you, ultimately, and depends on where you will be wearing them. Booty shorts are best worn to a yoga class or to work out at the gym while longer shorts, such as Bermuda or Capris, can be worn just about anyplace. Since shorts can be dressed up or dressed down, they are very versatile.

Which shorts will be in style for 2021?

The eight most popular shorts for 2021 are denim, pleated shorts, boxers, western-style wide-leg shorts, chino shorts, mini shorts, leather shorts, and lace shorts. It will depend on your preferences when it comes to length, style, and what you choose to pair them with for a dressy look or a casual one.

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