Tom Ford famously said that a man should never wear shorts. But, as men’s wear continues to contradict itself (think the return of old, bespoke tailoring and the rise in sports-inspired casual wear), we are equally seeing a return of the casual fashion bottoms made notorious by Nineties dads and mullet-rife trailer parks.
Paired with a unstructured blazer, these elastine-cotton shorts are tailored and clean for a neat garden party look in bottle green.
Made from neoprene (think wetsuit), the shorts are drop-crotched and wide-legged for comfort and room.
Blue Blue Japan
Specialists in indigo, BBJ have crafted these roof tile-print shorts from a pure cotton-canvas fabric.
In a juicy plum-hue, COS has tapped Mr Porter for a dressy, stretch-cotton twill short, with neat pressed creases and sharp slant pocket.
In durable cotton twill, these tan drawstring shorts are easy wearing with a tonal, piping trim and slim-fit leg.
A classic five pocket chino made from fine cotton twill, these shorts come with a buttoned back pocket and embroidered woven patch for a Euro-city look over white sneakers.
Freemans Sporting Club
Made from recycled cotton, these Made In America denim-look classics come in a modern worn-in washed finish.
With a clasp closure, these polka dot shorts are super lightweight in a semi-formal cut.
In a casual wave print, these belt-loop shorts offer a laid-back surfer style. Made from pure cotton with standard pockets. Surf’s up!
Made in lightweight, twilled cotton chambray, the lounge-y shorts are a cooler version of regular denim.
In breathable linen, these forest green mid-rise shorts come royally with a Prince of Wales check.
Inspired by the Eighties, this floral turquoise print comes with an adjustable built-in webbing belt. Wear them as you like; lose or cinched.
These woven cotton shorts mesh sports and luxury. Slightly dropped-crotch, they have functional elasticated side inserts, a striped belt loop and D-ring.
In army-green, these conservative shorts are cut from brushed stretch-cotton twill. All the dressier details are here: belt loops, four pockets and button/zip fastening.
Made from cotton and linen patches, these Scandinavian Aros Patch shorts embrace the qualities of indigo in a traditional four pocket set up.
These tailored swim shorts are printed in a mazed-geometry for an illusional texture when sitting by the pool. Pull-tight waist tabs give a secure, retro fit.
These wide-fit shorts are cut from light and comfortable linen. With a pleated front, they are luxury shorts in dark navy.
Inspired by New England, the Grafton Shorts are a classically cut pair of shorts constructed from a 100% cotton twill in a black palm print for dressier summer fun.
Polo Ralph Lauren
In easy matching bone, RL’s classic chino shorts are a summer staple for night and day. Made from cotton-twill, the pair come tailored for a streamlined, straight-leg fit.
The Saturdays NYC
The Austin Short is a relaxed fit in 100% cotton jersey finished with an appliqué logo patch. Ideal for lounging, there are two front pockets, conveniently angled to slip your hands in.
In an organic-look cotton chambray fabric, this summer-weight pair is tailored slim-leg option for casual days.
The Elder Statesman
Made in USA, these cashmere shorts are every bit luxurious for pairing equally soft sweaters and and pima cotton tees.
Sport-inspired, these two-toned shorts come in midnight-blue synthetics agains the black woollen trim. Zip pockets and a drawstring waist offer functional sensibilities.
These swim shorts are the epitome of oceanic with an octopus print in an inky hue. Keep these lethal shorts for the beach.
A Short History
The short has had a love-hate relationship with men. The modern short silhouette came along in the mid-century, when the British military were looking for a way for soldiers to keep cool in warm places like Bermuda. It freed men from hot trousers in the summer months, providing less restrictive, more comfortable bottoms.
Hollywood style icons Paul Newman and Robert Redford picked them up in the Sixties and common men soon followed, before the Seventies saw shorts peak on the tennis court with John McEnroe. The aerobics-era of the Eighties saw shorts climax before the ‘normcore’ Nineties created shapeless denim and three-quarter length cargos, letting the dad dressers relish in the fact they never had to wear trousers again.
Ten years later, designers are reworking short silhouettes and prints into styles much like the ones seen decades ago. It’s a lot easier for men to buy stylish shorts these days, so click through the slideshow of the 25 best shorts for men, to get things started.
Breaking It Down
Despite their simple nature, shorts can still go very wrong. No longer one-type-suits-all, shorts come in a slew of styles, in differing lengths and various fabrics, making them occasion-appropriate for certain functions where a little relaxation is in order. From beach holidays to weekend getaways, summer garden parties to lounging around the home, the short needs just as much attention and planning as one would give their suit. Taking out the difficulties, we’ve compiled a complete guide on shorts.
When To Wear Them
Shorts are a casual piece of menswear – no arguments. You wear them because of the heat in summer, for comfort and as break from the restraints of trousers. Plus, they are offer a playful look to an otherwise ‘standard’ outfit. The big rule regarding shorts: they must not be worn in a corporate setting or in a formal environment (think weddings, funerals, formals and black tie).
The Big Five Types
Generally speaking, there are five types of shorts for men to take note of in 2016: dressy, casual, denim, swim and sportsluxe.
A slight oxymoron, dressy shorts are practically cut-off trousers or chinos. The structured fit and finish of the pant remains, with standard pocket detailing, belt loops and a zip fly. Like trousers, the dress shorts will come in plain, neutral or pastel designs, which can be paired with almost everything tailored in your wardrobe.
In keeping with the formal vibe, opt for a button shirt in crisp, white and add a pair of summer loafers or brogues – always sockless. Tuck the shirt in for a more formal look and add a belt to blend in with the leather from the shoes. Feeling super suave? Add a blazer in a lighter hue so that it feels summery.
The casual short will differ in look and/or structure from the dressier variety. The structure of the casual short is softer and can be buttoned up, zipped or tied with drawstring. A key component is the print. This season is seeing a trend graphic patterns in geometric shapes, camo and wallpaper florals, so take your pick.
Because these are very much statement shorts, match the bottoms with a muted white shirt – cut-off at the sleeves or a polo shirt or tee. Keep the shirt untucked in a shorter length or tuck it in (no belt) so the pattern below remains the features.
The denim short sees a return to denim’s industrial American roots. With a focus on indigo, the jean short for 2016 is a great off-duty look. It represents an organic, earthy approach to casual bottoms, matched with the easy-go versatility of what regular jeans bring to a contemporary street wear look.
Some denim varieties are literally cropped jeans, still featuring the workwear functionalities of five-pocket details, brass zips and buttons. Then there are the new generation of indigo-hued shorts, using minimal details in washes that feel Japanese-inspired. Both are made to be relaxed, so don’t over think your outfit.
The most playful of the shorts styles, swimwear comes in floral and animated animal prints this season, as well as hyper, block-colours. Not meant to be taken too seriously, these shorts are snap-button closed for a tight, retro vibe or cord-pulled for looser varieties, which provide a bit of roomier bunching.
Never wear them wet when away from the beach and pair swim shorts with flip-flops (thongs) and a tee or tank. Or nothing at all, making sure you stick close to water to avoid looking like a show-off.
With the athleisure trend continuing its furore, the intermixing between sports and luxury fashion has not escaped the short. The silhouette of these shorts are evidently roomier, less structured and sometimes unhemmed and drop-crotch. The muted colour of the sports short gives it a parred down feel, not designed to draw attention, but more aligned with comfort and minimalism.
Going for a pair of gym-look, lounge-y shorts under a tee and sneakers is a great wind-down look for the weekend and post-workout, with the active-fashion hybrids designed for an effortless transition from sweating to street.
Rules of Length
As a general rule, shorts should be short enough so the knees are visible, but long enough that you’re not flashing a horrid tan line from last summer. Shorts that do come up to mid-thigh should be limited to athletic body types, confident of having the pins to pull them off. This excludes swim shorts and retro-inspired casual pairs, which need a little shorter length to give-off those Seventies-vintage vibes. Final rule: never go past the knee (ever).
Baggier silhouettes should be kept to certain versions of swim shorts and sportsluxe types, which get their urban, lounge-y attitude from appearing a touch oversized. Dressier shorts, like the Bermuda, are a classic style that need a close fit the leg and crotch (the seat) and follow tapered down toward the knee.
Fabric: In Short
Cotton is the most common short fabric. It’s lightweight, breathable and comfortable – all things expected of summer clothing. Common cotton types this season are seersucker (a light cotton weave with a dimpled surface); twill (a durable, denser cotton); and linen (wrinkly and breathable).
Other key fabrics for shorts in 2016 are denim and chambray for casual shorts, and neoprene, jersey and polyester for sportsluxe types.