Tom Ford famously said “A man should never wear shorts in the city. Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or at the beach.”
We’re sorry to say it Tom, but you’re wrong. Shorts are a staple item in any men’s wardrobe, although we’ll admit there can be such a thing as a ‘right’ pair and a ‘wrong’ pair. We wouldn’t be seen stepping foot outside in a pair of outlandishly branded pair of sweat shorts for example. A well-fitting pair of chino shorts, however, is an entirely different ball game.
As with their longer jean and chino counterparts, shorts can be broken down into several categories, and we’ve got you covered on all basis. If you’re looking for a new pair of swimmers or boardshorts, or you need to update your gym shorts or running shorts, you’ll find a whole list of brands on their respective pages.
But if you’re in the market for a new pair of everyday shorts that can accompany you from daytime strolling to nighttime boozing, look no further.
Just like any well-made suit or dress shirt, shorts also have their own grading system to looking sharp, albeit a bit more casual. The main criteria are simple: fit, material, length and patterns. Nail these and you’ll have one of the best looking summer outfits whether you shirt it or not.
Below knee, above knee and short-shorts. These are the three main length categories of shorts for men these days (unless you’re into reggae you shouldn’t be rocking three-quarter shorts). Choose lengths according to the rest of your outfit. Tees and singlets go with shorter shorts whilst below-knee and above-knee shorts pair well with casual dress shirts and polos.
Would you wear a pair of shoes that don’t fit? The same answer applies to your shorts. Whilst casual trends champion the idea that if a pair of shorts are baggy and comfortable then they’re perfect, there’s more to it than that.
For styling purposes, a baggy pair of cargos from 2003 just won’t cut it. What you need is decent tapering along the leg length which makes the wearer appear taller. There are rules though and that’s not to go too tight otherwise you’re in hot pants territory. The public need not see the contour of your frank and beans.
Fitment around your waist should also be comfortable without being tight. If you can wedge your index finger between the waistband and your waist, you’re on to a winner.
Cotton, polyester, denim…shorts come in a plethora of material variations so choosing the right one is essential depending on the occasion. Cotton is usually the go-to item for more smart-casual looks whilst polyester covers the athleisure segment and denim the casual/street style. There are also linen shorts these days and these are perfect for the days when the mercury is proper high.
The rules are simple for prints and patterns – make sure there’s a contrast between your top and bottom. Whether that be through colour blocking or contrasting patterns is entirely up to you. Just be wary of vertical lines as it can accentuate unflattering body lines if you don’t have the physique of Thor.
What happens when an acclaimed fashion designer and world champion surfer put their heads together for a project? The answer is Outerknown, a Californian brand built on sustainable clothing, personified by these Paz Shorts. They’re made from Organic Cotton, they’re super comfortable, and should be better suited to those who prefer a more rugged overall look.
This New York City based e-commerce men's clothing designer and manufacturer burst onto the scene with its signature curved waistband – one that actually conforms to the natural shape of your waist. The company aims to make shopping fun, completely reinventing the retail store and personalising it, so that it is now called a 'guideshop'.
For a brand that set up relatively recently, the team behind Rhone have made big waves for men who value style and practicality. It uses quality fabrics to produce a range of daily garments, including these Commuter Shorts. They’re made from Japanese Warp Knit fabric for effortless comfort, and also feature a handy media pocket for your phone. They can be worn with vintage sneakers or sandels, topped off with a plain tee.
If sustainable, ethically made fashion with transparent pricing is your thing, then Everlane is the retailer for you. The company has a range of chino short styles, coming in various lengths and made from various materials that are better suited to changing weather types. The Athletic Chino Short offers the perfect blend of style, with sweat-wicking, quick-drying substance.
You could consider LuluLemon more of a movement than a sports brand - the truth is it actually sits somewhere in the middle. Created in Vancouver back in 1998, the company initially made inroads in the growing yoga fashion market before expanding into more general sportswear. These T.H.E Shorts are made with four-way stretch, lightweight and sweat-wicking fabrics and are perfect for those stylish sporty types.
Flint & Tinder
Flint & Tinder is Huckberry's very own in-house line of men's clothing. Huckberry already knows a thing or two about high-quality men's clothing designed to accompany you in the great outdoors, so it made sense for the online retailer to venture into production of its own. Flint & Tinder has shorts for all occasions: swimming trunks, well-fitting chinos and everyday casual shorts, all of which can be had in simple silhouettes and at prices that won't break the bank.
Faherty is a family-owned business started by brothers Mike and Alex, with Alex's wife Kerry joining at a later date. Created to merge the worlds of surf culture and sustainable living, Faherty has an extensive catalogue of short styles. With various materials, colour and silhouettes, finding a pair to suit your lifestyle should be easy.
From what started out as a clothing shop in New York’s trendy Soho district in 2009, Saturdays NYC has grown into a highly respected lifestyle brand in its own right. Its minimalist approach and great choice of collaborations means it sits in a real sweet spot with modern consumers in the know. The Quinn Shorts couldn’t be more 'of the times' if they tried. They have a wide, safari-like cut and are made using lightweight cotton for everyday wear.
Olivers is an athletlic-focused clothing brand that designs clothes that not only look great, baring all the hallmarks of an essential wardrobe, but ones that are designed to perform at the highest level. The flagship style in its shorts lineup is the All Over short, which can be had in varying lengths, but Olivers also offers compression-lined shorts and swim trunks that will have you looking good at the gym and or the beach.
Wellen is a clothing brand created by online retailer Huckberry. The retailer already curates its selection of brands to include those that produce clothing in sustainable ways, so its no wonder Wellen is produced in similar ways. Huckberry has also clearly learned what consumers want and as a result, offers shorts that look like chino shorts, but function like boardshorts. The perfect all-rounder.
Mission Workshop is perhaps better known n for its extensive range of weatherproof clothing that could perhaps be seen as being better suited for adrenaline-fuelled outdoor adventures. While that may be true, it's not to say its shorts can't be worn on a daily basis. Take The Stahl short for example. Mission Workshop describes it as a high-performance riding short but we can easily see them being shown off on the high-street. Add a plain t-shirt and a classic pair of white sneakers and you've got yourself a rugged and durable, yet stylish outfit.
Shorts are exactly what brought the world’s attention to Orlebar Brown back in 2007, when the British brand released its first collections of beach shorts. Since then it has moved into other garments very successfully, but it is the company's every day shorts that still get chins wagging. This pair of Bulldogs are for life in hotter climates but well away from the beach. They have a wonderful tailored fit and feature a couple of nickel-effect side fasteners for an added touch of class - a real quality pair of shorts.
British label Reiss is the master of marrying classic, well-fitting styles with superior materials. No matter the pair of shorts you get from this retailer, you're guaranteed to look good. The Wicket chino shorts are as classic as they come, being offered in a variety of colours. Pockets on the sides and rear will happily store your valuables while the cotton-stretch fabric will ensure you get a comfortable fit that won't have you struggling to breathe.
Everything that Reigning Champ creates is both simple and super cool. From its tees and jackets to its sweaters and shorts, there is an element of real quality in everything it produces. These Mid Weight Terry shorts are a prime example, they’re made from 100% cotton and will keep you right whether you’re working out at the gym or just lounging around. They feature a drawstring cord waist and 2 open pockets for phones and keys, and once you’ve put them on you won’t want to take them off!
UK fashion designer Paul Smith needs little introduction - a flagbearer of high end men’s fashion since the 1970s - loved by gentlemen around the world. Everything Mr Smith’s team of designers throw at us combines absolute quality and touch of British eccentricity, such as these Jersey Lounge Shorts. They are made from 100% jersey cotton, and feature only flat top stitching for added comfort. The drawcord also features the stripes so closely associated with all of Smith’s garments, adding just the right amount standout colour.
Japanese label Uniqlo may have a history that goes all the way back to 1940s Japan, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that it started to make global waves. Its collections are a celebration of simplicity in pastel colours, and it has always been very price competitive. These Cargo Shorts are made from 100% cotton and work great with basic tees and sneakers. And as for the price, well, you just can’t argue with that!
Ralph Lauren’s Polo selections are all about quintessential American style, creating clothing that becomes indispensable to its wearer. These Stretch Shorts are in no way different, created using a cotton-twill blend, they’re ideal for summer days when a bit of class is needed for a smart casual look. They look great with a pair of simple Converse or Vans, or even better, espadrilles. And if you really want to do it properly, you’ll want to grab a polo shirt as well...
Closely associated with that classic American prep school look, J Crew has been providing jeans, khakis and other simple yet fashionable basics since 1989. The company has a fondness for signature pieces, such as these cotton Stretch Shorts, that seamlessly fit in any era from the past 50 years. Rock ‘em with a smart pair of simple trainers like a pair of Vans or Converse and you’re onto a winner.
Aussie brand Venroy first came to everyone’s attention back in 2010, releasing some stellar collections of wonderfully stylish swim shorts produced using their own fabrics. Move forward to today and Venroy has branched out into a variety of other garments, but these fantastic lounge shorts show it hasn't forgotten it roots. They are made from 100% flax/linen, offering a level of comfort usually reserved for kings. You will have to be a little smart about what you wear them with, however. A quality buttoned shirt and some leather on your feet should go some way to doing the trick.
Since 2013 John Elliott has been on a mission to fill the gaps he sees in his wardrobe, which it seems is functional clothing with a modern fit. There is definitely more than a slight element of casual to Elliot’s designs, but that is what makes them so nice, striking that balance between street and luxury, as highlighted by these Crimson Shorts. Made from 100% cotton, they’re inspired by US basketball shorts, with the added features of a phone pocket on the back and an adjustable drawcord.
Formed as part of the Slowear group in 1951, Incotex works with specialist factories across Italy to create premium quality clothing. These Slim Fit Linen shorts are absolutely outstanding, cut from supersoft Chinolino, the brand’s very own linen and cotton blend. Lightweight and very comfortable, they’re perfect for summer dinner parties and evenings strolling around the harbour. They can be worn with a pair of simple sneakers, but you might be better off bringing out the loafers for such quality.
Todd Snyder cut his teeth creating outerwear for Ralph Lauren before becoming director of menswear at GAP. In 2011 he started his own label, producing beautifully made and stylish garments like these Weekend Stretch Shorts. They’re made from a blend of cotton, tencel and spandex twill for superior comfort and movement, and look great as part of a midsummer, smart casual look.
Frank And Oak
This Canadian retailer is also one to put a focus on sustainably made clothing and as such, has a five-step plan it aims to have in place by 2022 that will see plastics eradicated entirely from its production lines. The Brunswick shorts are a testament to that policy, being made from 98% recycled cotton. Not only that, but they're offered with an ideal 9" inseam length. They're the perfect accompaniment either in the city, at a bar for afternoon drinks or in sunnier climates on holiday.
Online retailer of all things menswear essentials Mr Porter is another company that has decided to take a dive into producing its own clothing line. The retailer already has a solid understanding of what fits, looks and styles guys look for, and has channelled that knowledge into its Mr P. range of clothing. The shorts range takes advantage of myriad fabrics including linen, twill and herringbone, to produce a range of casual shorts that can be worn from the sofa to the beach to the bar.
Vuori is a brand for the more laidback gentleman, having a prominent foothold in the yoga market. Its shorts collection isn't solely designed for the bendy lads among us however, as it encompasses beach shorts, compression shorts and exercise shorts with built-in compression layers, not to mention some sweat styles for when you just want to kick back and relax.
American company Marine Layer make it its mission to produce sustainable clothing, in ethical ways and to be of the highest quality.
The Walk In Short is derived from the company's Walk In pant, just shorter. They're made from organic cotton and have a touch of spandex in their DNA to provide just the right amount of stretch to make them supremely comfortable. They're cut to sit on the lower thigh, so they're not hot pants and they're certainly not something you'd find your dad wearing.