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. We recently looked at board shorts and today it’s all about the most stylish men’s shorts.
What Makes A Good Pair Of Shorts
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 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.
Prints & Patterns
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.