Check out this complete guide on men’s shorts that covers all the questions you might have regarding the right fit, colour, and style. As an added bonus, this Guide to Men’s Shorts includes advice on how to pair your shorts with loafers, trainers, sandals or boat shoes.
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Summer is just around the corner, so it’s only natural to want to show off your legs in a stylish pair of summer shorts. As it’s the summer season, shorts are perfect for occasions such as the holidays, BBQs, a day at the pool, or strolling downtown for a catch up with the boys.
With that being said, you can notice that there is no particular dress code imposed by any of these situations. Don’t get fooled! Just because you’re not constrained by a dress code, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put a little thought and actually make a smart purchase.
This guide will take you through every single type you can find on the rack: denim shorts, sweat shorts, short chinos, smart shorts, cargos, or twill shorts. We’ll cover the right colours and most importantly, the right fit. You will also get advice on how to pair them with the right shoes, so scroll on and enjoy!
First things first: the fit. By nature, shorts are inherently a comfortable, casual piece of clothing that is meant to provide freedom of movement while keeping you cool. Not all of us are 6ft 4’ and slim, so make sure the shorts work to your advantage and provide the comfort you’re paying for.
The fit goes hand in hand with your body shape and the secret is knowing basic proportion rules. Shorter shorts will make you look taller than you actually are. Fitted/tighter shorts look good on slim guys and slim shorts will make a larger guy look smaller. On another note, shorts that are too wide around the legs should stop being manufactured as they don’t work to anyone’s advantage.
The Idle Man Tips For:
The Taller Guy
- Check out how short they actually look on you. The last thing you want is the hem to be pulled up on your thigh too much. That will be uncomfortable and make it difficult to walk properly. It would go against the principle of wearing shorts at all. Two to three inches above the knee would be just perfect.
The Shorter Guy
- The same principle as above, but upside down. If your shorts are too long and the hem falls below the knee, putting that pair back on the shelf would be a smart idea. If you actually like that particular pair, try to see how it would look if you roll them up a little bit. Getting them tailored is a good option, just avoid dressing in shorts that are too long as they give a lousy look and can make you look shorter.
The Built Guy
- Most guys with a bit of meat on them make the big mistake to buy the largest pair of shorts thinking it will make them look slimmer. That is not the truth! Larger shorts will give you a baggy and messy appearance. Stick to your regular size as that is the ticket to pulling off a stylish summer outfit.
The majority of guys keep it simple when it comes to the colour of the shorts. That’s why most of them just blend it with the crowd. Black, navy, burgundy, grey or khaki shorts are the favourites as these colours are versatile and easy to look after, but aren’t the only options you can try this summer.
Remember these two things! First, forget about khaki shorts. If it would make any sense to describe a colour, khaki would be called boring.
Second, it’s summer! Have fun with it and throw in a bit of colour, pattern, or print. No one will judge you if you wear pastel shorts, camouflage print, or even white shorts. The great thing about shorts is that, unless they are neon, no one will even bat an eye. If the aim is to stand out just a little bit then light coloured shorts would be best. If you are more courageous and want to make a statement then patterned or print shorts will work wonders.
The Idle Man Tips For:
Bolder Coloured Shorts
- Dark green, blue, red, or yellow are just a few suggestions. When you go down this route, make sure the shorts are of high quality to avoid the colour coming off in the washing machine. Also, that should be the only strong colour in our attire to avoid looking like a Rubik’s cube.
- A pair of white shorts is best matched with boat shoes. It’s a classic French Riviera look that will never come out of style. A T-shirt will be okay, but the white shorts match the best with a pastel shirt.
- Everyone has owned at least one pair of patterned shorts, but very few have pulled them off. The secret is in the outerwear. They go well with a blazer, summer jacket, even a shacket.
This is where it gets personal. Fashionable shorts come and go every season and style is a matter of knowing what works best for you. The type of shorts that work for the guy next door is very likely not to be what you find flattering and the other way around.
As shorts are considered casual attire, there are not proper formal rules you need to follow, so now you have a lot of freedom to try on countless looks until you get the one the fits. The style has to emulate your personality, put you in a good light, and give you confidence.
The Idle Man Style Tips
- Short sleeve shirts have no place in your wardrobe regardless of who the designer is. Choose a thin cotton long sleeved shirt. Fabrics such as linen or silk can also be a great investment.
- Put the thick heavy belts away as it’s time for something light and thin. If you can afford to buy a few summer belts that aren’t leather, that would be even better. A leather belt doesn’t scream casual wear at all, does it?
- Monochrome T-shirts are the best, but pastels will be just as good. Try to avoid dark t-shirts, unless of course, you are going for that specific look. A black or navy T-shirt will attract more heat and that’s not what you want when the weather gets warmer. Polo shirts are another great piece to have when the warm weather strikes as they’re more breathable and comfortable.
- Everything from light blazers to bomber jackets or even shackets will complement a pair of shorts. Match smart or chino shorts with a blazer, denim shorts to a shacket, and twill shorts to a bomber jacket.
- Socks can be tricky, especially in the summer. We’ve all seen those older gentlemen sporting sock sand sandals, and that’s something we don’t condone over here at Idle HQ. Go sockless if you feel like it, or invest in a pair of invisible socks that give the illusion of wearing none, as these will leave your shoes smelling a bit fresher.
- Loafers and boat shoes with shorts are perfect for the summer in case you are aiming for a smart outfit. To keep the outfit casual, match it with trainers or sandals.
This is for the alternative guy who knows how to pull off denim. The key piece for this summer look is a pair of denim shorts, so to soften the rigidness of the denim, match the shorts with a lighter or pastel coloured polo shirt. If you opt for a regular t-shirt instead, match that to a checked shirt so you stay warm if the night gets cold. Accessorise this look with a pair of aviator sunglasses if you want to go for gold.
In regards to the shoes, trainers are the best to match with denim shorts. Vans, Converse or a pair of Pointers are all perfect choices that will live up to the expectation of a complete Americana summer look.
This option is for the guy who loves being outdoors, be it in football practice or firing up the BBQ. The most important item for this particular look is a pair of sweat shorts. It’s very simple to get the look right as you can match these shorts to any t-shirt, hoodie, or sweatshirt. It’s also very simple to make a mistake if you wear this outfit in the wrong place.
The sporty guy attire is appropriate in situations that don’t involve walking in a bar, having lunch in a restaurant or catching up for a pint with your mates. In regards to footwear, trainers and running shoes are the best bet. Le Coq Sportif and Saucony do quite an impressive range of shoes that will go perfectly with sweat shorts.
This is for a guy who wants to look on point 24/7 regardless of the season. The key pieces for this look are the chino and smart shorts. The secret of making smart shorts look good on anyone is dressing up. Think big: perfectly ironed shirt, well-fitted blazer, and a subtle belt. You can take it further and wear a bow tie if you happen to attend a summer party, or a Panama hat if you’re going to a garden party.
The shoes have got to be loafers or moccasins with shorts, in suede preferably. This sort of shoes complete the exquisite look and give you an elegant vibe when you actually are very comfy in your shorts!
This style is for the guy who likes his comfort but not at the expense of looking fly. The key piece for this look is a pair of cargo shorts. In order to pull off cargos, you need to pay attention to the size of the side pockets. If they’re too big, it will make you look baggy, and that is something to be avoided. Match them to a white polo t-shirt and don’t shy away from putting on a cap. Finish off the look with a simple pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses.
The most appropriate footwear would be a pair of sandals. Many would pick alternative materials, but you should stick to leather as it’s the most resistant and cost effective choice.
It’s time to get some tan on and there’s no better way that going down to the beach for a summer escapade. The key piece for a beach boy attire is a pair of swim shorts. On this occasion, you are strongly encouraged to play with extravagant colours you wouldn’t normally wear. In regards to the upper body, a t-shirt will be okay but we recommend trying on a vest top.
Regardless of how many hours you’ve spent sculpting your physique in the gym, try to avoid wearing tight clothing as it’s too hot for that and you’ll end up feeling uncomfortable. In terms of shoes, flip flops are more than appropriate in this occasion. The more colourful the better.
How to Wear Men’s Shorts
- Fit: Know your body shape and choose accordingly. Try not to wear anything too short.
- Colour: Go for neutral tones if you want to play it safe.
- Pattern: Summer is the perfect time for colourful patterns. Patterned shorts work well with a casual look.
- Experiment: Shorts are extremely versatile. Try wearing them in a range of smart and casual styles.
On That Note
Wearing shorts is all about being confident enough to embrace your body shape and not be constricted by what society thinks a “summer body” should look like. As long as you keep in mind the proportion rules covered above, you will be safe regarding whichever combination you decide on. And if you put a little thought in it, there is no reason why you shouldn’t pull off shorts incredibly.