It’s hot out and there’s one thing you know: You will not go out with your shins covered for another second in this swelter. It doesn’t matter if you skipped leg day or if you’re so hairy it looks like an orangutan is doing a handstand, these pants simply must go.
Shorts, however, remain contentious. Some feel they are too boyish. Noted author and menswear appreciator Fran Lebowitz described to Elle magazine, “Men never wore shorts when I was young… They look ridiculous, like children, and I can’t take them seriously.”
Men do not wear shorts because they give off a look of mystique or danger, as a suit might. We do not wear them because they offer a certain savoir faire or visual elegance. We wear them because it’s damn hot and we want to. And this doffing of social grace in favour of what we prefer is an excellent place to start, because not caring what others think is the very beginning of developing that ever-mercurial hint of style.
However, narrow is the road to wearing shorts correctly, and ditches filled with cargo and 80s running shorts line the path. So, a few points in your approach to achieving coolness both in your look and around the knees:
- Shorts are casual, so dress them up
- Tuck in a long-sleeve shirt, roll it up at the sleeves, then fasten the waste with a belt
- Pair them with a nice leather loafer
- Select shorts that are cotton or linen, not polyester or other man-made textiles. As an item of clothing, shorts are casual. Period. If you don’t want to appear like a child at the circus, what is then required is raising your game elsewhere or raise the dressiness of the short itself. You may:
- Go sockless, for the love of… It’s hot right? That’s why you’re wearing shorts, correct? Then why are you wearing socks? What sense does that make?
- Loose or fitted doesn’t matter
Some will say that a fitted short is the only way to make them acceptable off the basketball court, but either look can work, so long as you coordinate the fit to what you’re wearing on top: A fitted short should be matched with a fitted shirt, and a loose short requires something with a little bagginess above the belt.
- The cuffs dictate the shoe
Cuffed shorts should always be worn with a dress shoe to maintain their dressiness. Uncuffed shorts are more fitted to runners, but can also be pulled off with a dress shoe if one knows what they’re doing. Of course, if they are athletic-looking shorts, dress shoes are right out altogether.
- Buy fun colours and patterns
Because this item is so season specific, they are made in a wide breadth of colours and patterns, and this should always be taken advantage of. How much else of the year do we wear the typical blue, brown, black, or beige? And because it’s a smaller piece of fabric than a full pant, they offer more of a splash of colour rather than a full on glare.
They also come in a variety of patterns, but go for something less obvious than palm trees or starfish or things that already resemble summer. It’s time we rescued plaid shorts from their prison of the golf course!
- The cuff stops… here?
The termination point for shorts has been debated for some time. There are those that feel cuffs above the knee are for school uniforms, where others feel that hanging below the knee is for those lazy, stoner types.
In reality, this depends on the length of your leg. The taller of us are better suited to wearing shorts that terminate below the knee so that they don’t appear to be all leg. Those with short gams will have even less leg to show with shorts that extend below the knee, and so are better suited to wearing shorts that terminate above the knee, thereby extending the leg.
With these points in mind, visit our selection of men’s shorts to find what works for you.
And remember: no socks.