Shorts, a men’s favorite and an absolute ‘must have’ in every gents’ & boys’ wardrobe, are one of those most comfortable, convenient yet underrated piece of clothing.
For so casual an outfit like men’s shorts, if you are thinking why you need a guide, it’s simple; from lazing on the lounge to the beach & parties and to even the fashion runway, shorts have found their place and are a year round pick! But most importantly, shorts have evolved to become a very fashionable and trendy piece of clothing, and men love them AND its summer!
From being an integral part of school uniforms to the soldiers’ war shorts to sports shorts, they really seem to have caught on the fashion fire. And thanks to Hollywood trendsetters, these are now a wardrobe staple for men today.
In this guide, we are going to tell you a few things, like the length, fit, etc., that you need to keep in mind when trying to pull on the shorts look as well cover any questions you might have regarding how and where to sport it.
Its not always ‘shorts are best short’ rule that applies. A key factor when shopping for shorts, remember the golden rule about their length and avoid anything that extends beyond the knees! Ideally, a length that extends up till the bottom of the thigh is the best (2-3 inches above the knee); its a length and style that would suit and flatter almost most body types and shapes. It ensures that you aren’t exposing too much nor comes under the fashion radar. They have to be short enough for the knees to be visible partially or fully and anything beyond the knee is definitely not considered.
Usually, like trousers, shorts are also measured by their inseam; and is generally divided into 5″, 7″ and 9″ (inches).
Shorter inseams (5”) can appear a bit too short on very tall man (with height above 6 feet), hence it is most ideal for men who are a bit on the shorter side (5’7 and below) as this would help provide the image of a well-proportioned body type.
In the case of 7”, it’s an extremely versatile length, giving you the right skin exposure without being overly conservative or over adventurous and is ideal for most body types.
For very tall men (above 6’), this is a great match and they should ideally stay away from those below 7” because shorter inseams would make them look even taller (because of the long legs exposed further), disrupting their body shapes. So the key here is to hide them just enough!
Tip: A cuff at the bottom is a great addition.
Getting a flattering fit for any outfit is the key to getting the look right, in fact if the fit is right, more than half the job is done.
In the case of men with heavier bottom or big thighs, its best to choose shorts that are slightly tapered towards the knee. And generally, for most body types its best to opt for shorts that have a gentle taper (not tight yet comfortable enough).
Tip: When shopping for shorts, always make sure that the seat and crotch part fit perfectly.
Similarly, also make sure that your shorts aren’t very wide at the bottom (as compared to the top or the hip part) as this would create a triangle or trapezoid shaped silhouette, like women’s skirts. If the width of both top and bottom is almost equal or slightly tapered towards the knee, it can help provide a proportionate and balanced body shape.
With shorts having evolved in a much more stylish and elegant way, especially with the introduction of linen and chino shorts, a lot of men today prefer tailored ones to get the fit and styling just right since it might be difficult to find the perfect one even in branded stores.
Tip: Avoid baggy as well as pleated shorts, they are no more in trend and would look awkward.
It goes without saying that shorts are one of the most casual outfits.
- They are best suited for relaxed outdoor activities, (especially when the weather is pleasant and you feel like giving your legs some breathing space) like:
- Beach outings/parties
- BBQ parties
- Brunches (unless its a restaurant that follows dress code)
- Shopping malls
- Short treks, etc.
So where should you avoid them? Though at some offices, they do consider shorts (esp chino or tailored shorts) as business casual, its best to avoid them and stick to conventional smart casual outfits.
- Never wear it to any place where a blazer is expected.
- You should also avoid wearing them to certain fine dining or 4/5 star restaurants that have a dress code policy.
- Avoid wearing shorts to religious gatherings or similar occasions/venues where the dressing is expected to be more conservative.
Fabrics, Colors, Prints & Patterns
Shorts are available today in myriad fabrics and shades, prints and patterns for one to choose from. From linen, denim, seersucker, poplin, cotton to polyester and many more. You can pick and style them according to seasons and occasions. Fabrics like cotton, linen, poplin and seersucker are ideal for summer since they have a ‘breathable weaving’ that helps you stay cool.
Similarly, apart from the most favorite solids to stripes, checks, floral, camouflage and bolder prints, the varieties in shorts are innumerable. Solids are classy, especially in darker shades like navy, blues or khaki to earthy shades of browns and beige to pastel shades of pink and greens.
Of course, the new favorite, Chino shorts, that are here to help men up their fashion game, deserves a special mention here. Likewise, there are different styles in shorts like Cargo shorts, Sports shorts, Swim shorts, Tailored shorts, Denim shorts, Short shorts, Pleated shorts etc. You need to choose the one depending on the occasion as well as your body type.
Shorts, today, is considered one of the best kind of athleisure! Its a casual outfit that can completely transform into one that brings on sophistication and fashionable elegance, with the right kind of styling.
The easiest and ideal ones to pair up with shorts are:
- Casual Shirts including Floral, Solids, Checks, Printed, etc. that will give you a chic look;
- Semi Formal Shirts (like Linen shirts) for slightly more sophisticated look. You could opt for lighter, pastel, earthy or dark color palettes depending on the shade of your shorts;
- Denim shirts or Chambray shirts;
- Polo shirt (one of the best combo) for a classy take
- Other tees (like crew neck, V neck etc.);
Layering is yet another style that a lot of men have tried experimenting with, especially with denim jackets and even blazers. A bit tricky, if you are confident enough to pull off the look, you could give it a try! But remember, when in doubt, ditch the jacket!
Tip: Its best to avoid half sleeve shirts with shorts.
Apart from flip flops, sandals, sneakers, moccasins and loafers are a good choice. Most importantly, the choice of footwear should be determined by the type of shorts that you are wearing it with.
For example, with gym or running shorts, trainers are the perfect option; with chino shorts, loafers are great idea to bring on that stylish yet sophisticated look and so on. You could even pair them with brogues, which are yet another classy choice for men, but make sure that you have paired the shorts with a shirt to make the look work well for you.
Some Do’s & Dont’s
A few simple tips to ace the look:
- When trying to pull off a casual look in shorts, its best to leave those thick, broad and leather belts at home and pick something in a casual material.
- Though, pairing shorts with jackets and blazers are quite fashion forward, it can be quite tricky and unless you are confident about styling and pulling off the look, it’s best to avoid this combo.
- Polo shirts, especially in monochrome or solid shades, make the most ideal match with shorts and is the easiest and most suited style for most men.
- Stay away from shorts that have very loud prints (save them for the vacation) or patterns. Also, avoid extremely short and skin tight shorts, unless they are swim shorts.
- No wearing visible socks with shorts unless its part of school uniform or any sport.
- Comfortable and trendy, Chino shorts are extremely versatile too. They can be dressed up as well as down depending on moods and occasions and can be easily paired with tees, check shirts as well as with a blazer to create an effortless yet classy and stylish look for men.