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I have a complicated history with denim shorts. As a plus-size tween, I found myself sized out of most girls’ junior styles early on, fitting mostly into the stretchier (less cool-looking) styles that were available. Even if I managed to find a couple of pairs that did fit, you’d find me mid-summer in too-long jeans, choosing to sweat it out rather than show off my thighs to the world.
Now as a full-fledged adult, I’ve grown to understand and respect my body’s shape. I’ve learned what kinds of clothes I like to wear, and I’ve discovered awesome plus-size women’s clothing brands to support. But the one thing that continued to elude me until last summer was a pair of damn good, vintage-looking, high-waist denim shorts.
“I’m talking non-stretch, raw denim shorts like a pair of classic Levi’s — none of that stretchy Old Navy denim that bags out after one wear.”
I’m talking non-stretch, raw denim shorts like a pair of classic Levi’s — none of that stretchy Old Navy denim that bags out after one wear. The problem I ran up against, though, was that most new Levi’s styles I liked topped out at a women’s 32 (equivalent to a size 14). Then I found an Etsy denim shop with all my answers.
NefelibataStudio is a Minneapolis, Minnesota, Etsy shop that’s been active since 2016. The shop specializes in one-off vintage finds like cargo jackets, vintage baseball tees and, surprisingly, the best damn vintage denim shorts I’ve ever found for a really affordable price.
The first purchase I ever made was these black high-waisted denim shorts. I liked that the shop let me customize the bottoms of the shorts (rolled or frayed) and that there was a really detailed size guide. Unfortunately I didn’t heed the seller’s advice and follow the size guide closely, so I ended up with a pair of shorts way too small for me. Still, the seller was really generous and provided a discount code to use until I found my perfect fit — which I ultimately did.
For reference, I’m one of those “size in-betweeners” who typically wear between a women’s size 14 and 16 in bottoms. That means I, like many American women, am grabbing clothes off the rack in the sizes where most brands begin transitioning from “straight” sizing patterns to “plus” sizing patterns, so there’s a big discrepancy between those two sizes.
When buying my first pair of non-stretch denim shorts from NefelibataStudio, I had to keep in mind that vintage styles don’t really follow modern sizing guides, and that sizing varies drastically between brands, which is why the seller has a custom sizing guide for the products. That means I ultimately settled on the seller’s listed “Size 18” style, and they fit perfectly. This year, I sized up in a new pair for a looser, baggier fit for this summer.
NefelibataStudio offers a variety of sizes and brands, but one of the more inclusive styles I’ve spotted are these vintage high-waist dark wash shorts, which are carried up to the Etsy seller’s listed “Size 26” or a 50-inch waist. Just be sure to follow the guide to a T for your most comfy fit.
All said, I’m thrilled to have finally found the denim shorts I’ve always wanted without compromising on style.
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