Is there a wrong way for a man to wear shorts? There sure is. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear them, especially not with these heat waves we’ve been having.
If worn properly, a good pair of shorts can keep you cool in summer’s heat, and they’re appropriate to wear in most casual settings. You just need to make sure your shorts fit properly, and that they go with the rest of the outfit.
Where and When to Wear Shorts
Shorts are appropriate for most casual social settings, as long as the weather and climate call for them. You shouldn’t wear shorts to work or any business function, nor should you wear them to formal occasions like weddings. If it’s an event where you’d be expected to put on a blazer, then you shouldn’t wear shorts. But it’s fair game to wear them to gatherings with family and friends, dates, and school.
Shorts are also considered appropriate attire for a number of athletic activities. For example, you might wear boat shorts for a day on the lake, basketball shorts for a basketball game, and running shorts for a morning job. Each of these types of shorts has its own qualities that make it appropriate attire for that sport.
For example, running shorts are usually pretty short. They might only come down to the mid-thigh, and many running shorts are even shorter than that. The shorter length makes the shorts less binding when you run.
Get Shorts that Fit
Fit is one of the most important considerations when it comes to wearing shorts. A pair of shorts shouldn’t be too baggy nor too tight. It should give you room to move comfortably, without a lot of extra fabric. A slim fitting short is preferable.
You want to make sure the shorts are the appropriate length, too. Short shorts for men are not in style at the moment. Shorts should come down to just below the knee, or just slightly covering the top of the knee. If you get something shorter, like boat shorts or running shorts, reserve them for the activities for which they’re intended.
Pair with the Right Top
Creating an outfit around a pair of shorts is the most difficult part of wearing shorts. Sure, you can just throw on a t-shirt, but that’s a low-effort outfit. If you want to look a little more put-together, you should go for a collared shirt like a polo or a short-sleeve button down. A long-sleeve button down may be a bit too formal to wear with a pair of shorts. If you want to wear long sleeves with your shorts, it’s easier to pull off a sweatshirt or a crew neck sweater. Don’t be afraid to layer a cardigan or jacket on top for those brisk autumn days. You wouldn’t normally wear a blazer with shorts, but in some countries, like Bermuda, it’s so commonly done that you might even go to the tailor and have a business suit made with shorts instead of trousers. That said, even though you shouldn’t wear shorts to anything that requires a blazer, wearing a blazer with shorts to an informal function might just appear fashion-forward rather than oddly mismatched.
Buy Shorts in Different Styles, Colors, and Fabrics
Shorts are available in so many colors and styles that you’d be remiss if you didn’t take the opportunity to get creative with your summer outfits. For summer attire, look for shorts in light cotton fabrics like madras cloth or seersucker. Linen shorts are also good for hot weather. For those times when you need a little more durability from your shorts, go for twill or khaki. Unexpected fabrics like corduroy can also be fun, and denim cut-offs are coming back in style.
Olive, tan, navy, black, brown, and hunter green have traditionally been popular colors for men, but don’t feel like you have to honor tradition. Go for shorts in fun colors and match them with tops in neutral or complementary colors. When experimenting with color, keep it simple – don a plain t-shirt or short-sleeved button down so as not to overwhelm the eye.
Shorts are a cornerstone of the modern wardrobe, but many men are still concerned about whether or not they are wearing them properly or even if they should wear them at all. Never fear – any man can look stylish in a pair of shorts if he wears them properly. It’s largely just a matter of getting shorts that fit right, and then striking a balance between the shorts and the rest of the outfit.