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. A pair of 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.
But if warm weather is giving you a reason to get a new pair of everyday men’s shorts that can accompany you from daytime strolling to nighttime boozing, look no further as we’ve curated a list of the brands with the best shorts for men.
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 coolest looking summer outfits, complete with the best shorts you’ve ever owned.
Below knee, above the 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, and you can leave basketball shorts to Adam Sandler). For the best shorts look, 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 cargo shorts 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 with a pair of shorts otherwise you’re in hot pants territory. The best men’s shorts don’t show the contour of your frank and beans to the public.
The fit around your waist should also be comfortable but firm, although not tight. If you can wedge your index finger between the waistband and your waist, you’ve found a perfect pair.
Cotton, polyester, denim…shorts come in a plethora of material variations so choosing the right one is essential depending on the occasion. Cotton and organic cotton is usually the go-to item for more smart-casual looks whilst polyester covers the athleisure segment, and denim is perfect for a casual/street style look. There are also linen shorts these days and these are perfect for warm weather, you know those days when the mercury really starts to soar.
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, that’s 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.
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 fabric shorts, that seamlessly fit in any era from the past 50 years. Rock these men's shorts with a smart pair of simple trainers like a pair of Vans or Converse and you’re onto a summer style winner.
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 men's shorts for all occasions: swimming trunks, well-fitting chino shorts and everyday casual shorts, all of which are in simple silhouettes and at prices that won't break the bank.
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.
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 are better suited to those who prefer a more rugged summer style.
Ministry of Supply
"Born in Cambridge raised in the labs of MIT." This is Ministry of Suplly's motto and they are the leaders in sustainable menswear. They're garments are durability tested to ensure you're getting top quality without the hefty price tag. Their range of smart casual and active shorts will have you covered for the warmer months and workouts.
Vuori is a brand for the more laidback gentleman, having a prominent foothold in the yoga market. Their men's 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.
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 perfect pair to suit your lifestyle should be easy.
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 shorts, coming in various lengths and made from various materials that are better suited to changing weather types. The Athletic Chino Short, for example, offers the perfect blend of style, with sweat-wicking, quick drying substance.
For a brand that set up shop 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 men's 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 sandals, topped off with a plain tee for instant cool summer style.
For some of the most affordable menswear essentials around, you need to be check out Quince. The US brand, based in San Francisco, is proof that quality can indeed cost less, with its range of men's shorts made from organic cotton and with a small dose of spandex for stretch, resulting in a pair of chino shorts for men that remain comfortable all day long. With extra features such as dedicated phone pockets and a breathable material, not to mention an incredibly low price, and you have yourself what could be the perfect pair of shorts.
Represent has never introduced change for it’s own sake. It has chosen instead, to refine constantly the design of garments. Each development is analysed carefully to ensure that it not only meet’s the brother’s meticulous standards but adds to the luxurious pleasure to be discovered when handling the garment. Their men's shorts range is diverse and offers something for every guy. We especially like their sport inspired cargo shorts.
The Mack Weldon clothing label was founded to "reinvent the basics", which has been achieved through the development of bespoke fabrics, which have been tried and tested right down to the seam, in order to offer guys a more premium and durable collection of clothing, while not making a huge dent in your wallet. The brand's shorts collection skews towards those who keep up more active lifestyles, with pairs offering stretch, along with others that are both lined and unlined, making them perfect for everyday wear or even to the gym.
Originally founded as an underwear brand by a husband and wife team, Tommy John has since expanded into a complete clothier for guys looking for well-made essentials. Considerable effort goes into researching and developing fabrics and fits, to ensure you, the customer, receives something you can hold onto for years. Aside from a solid selection of undies, Tommy John has a few pairs of shorts up its sleeve, covering loungewear and everyday wear. Again, the brand uses innovative materials such as those with plenty of four way stretch and that are water repellent, making them perfect for wearing day in, day out.
San Francisco based, American Giant is committed to offering its customers well designed and even better made clothing. Everything is made in the US, so you can be assured of quality no matter what you buy. The company's men's shorts selection may be small; with just one pair in two colours, but the fact they're made from a durable and comfortable cotton canvas that has a hint of stretch, means they're the only shorts you need for the duration of summer.
Touting them as the "only pair of shorts you need for warmer weather", Canadian brand Unbound Merino is pretty confident in the capabilities of its chosen material. With the Merino wool being ethically sourced from Australia, it's an ideal proponent for shorts. Water repellent, exhibiting the right amount of stretch and quick drying, we're starting to believe their bold claim.
With only one pair of men's shorts on the books and only available in two essential colours, you've got the perfect base to build a whole wardrobe of summer-ready outfits.
When shorts designed specifically for those with active lifestyles can be worn when you're not pounding the pavement or pumping iron in the gym, they suddenly become an incredibly attractive proposition. That is certainly the case for Ten Thousand. The US label makes some incredibly capable activewear, in terms of both durability and flexibility, and those qualities carry over so that their shorts can be worn no matter what you're doing. They're well-designed too, serving up a minimalist aesthetic that's decidedly handsome. The Foundation is probably the most versatile in the collection, but the Session short is also well worth a look.
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.
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 men's shorts that look like chino shorts, but function like boardshorts. The perfect all-rounder for ultimate summer style.
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 bought in varying lengths, but Olivers also offers compression-lined shorts, resort short, and swim trunks that will have you looking good at the gym, on holiday, or the beach.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Figure-hugging shorts that show off your insane quads are no longer the main draw for Abercrombie & Fitch. The US clothing brand has shifted its image from being a brand for the stereotypical 'jock' to a brand that welcomes anyone and everyone. The clothing collections have benefitted massively, as you will now find a wide range of styles, fits, colours and patterns to suit all tastes.
With pairs including the Resort Short, which functions as both an everyday short and a swim short, shorts made from breathable linen or classic denim shorts, and all for affordable prices, Abercrombie is a brand you need to be checking out.
Nothing quite says preppy style like Brooks Brothers. It's the oldest clothing brand in the United States, having been founded in 1818, so with over 200 years of experience, you can be sure of genuine quality and commitment to fit and overall customer service. The brand's shorts collection is certainly varied, with chino shorts arriving in an assortment of materials, like stretch fabric or linen, colours and patterns to suit all tastes. They may be more appealing to those who spend their weekends at wine mixers or on a yacht, but that's not a bad thing.
A purveyor of affordable and incredibly well-made suits, yes, but Suitsupply understands that men don't spend their entire lives in the sartorial lane. For those days off, the Dutch brand has a complete collection of essential pieces, including men's shorts.
With cotton, linen, stretch fabric, and even wool fabrics on the cards, you'll be perfectly taken care of for the summer months and the warm weather it brings. And, just like Suitsupply suits, you can be sure of a perfect fit with their range of summer shorts.
Mission Workshop is perhaps better known 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.
Buck Mason's mission is to create as few pieces as possible. While that may sound counterintuitive, it actually speaks to the brand's ability to create pieces that really don't ever go out of style. It may mean some items take a little longer arriving in their store than their peers, but when those pieces are made from in-house designed and made fabrics, they're worth the wait and the price.
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 summer shorts. Since then, it has moved onto other garments very successfully, but it is the company's everyday 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.
Taking the menswear essentials concept and giving it a slightly more premium upgrade is Club Monaco. The American retailer, founded in 1985, remains committed to using fabrics that are a cut above the high-street labels, but don't dent your pocket so much as the higher-end brands. They're the perfect in-between, and with pairs such as the Baxter in its arsenal, offering a slim, tailored cut, we know where we'd spend our money.
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, making them a perfect classic chino style.
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 for a great pair of summer shorts!
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...
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.
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 four way stretch that provides superior comfort and movement, and look awesome as part of a midsummer, smart casual look.
Frank And Oak
This Canadian retailer is another one putting 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.
A quintessentially youthful American clothing brand, American Eagle offers a wide variety of clothing styles to suit all tastes and all budgets. Decidedly laidback in its approach to style, AE is best known for its range of jeans, but the shorts collection is just as comprehensive. Denim shorts, cargo shorts, chino shorts, jogger shorts, a resort short or swim shorts; you name it, American Eagle has it.
American company, Marine Layer make it their 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 but they're certainly not something you'd find your dad wearing.
When all else fails you can't go past GAP for a basic pair of men's shorts. Whether you're looking for a classic chino, stretch fabric, organic cotton, GAP has men's shorts available in a multitude of different colours, sizes and styles. Plus, GAP is perfect for the man on a budget.