Are you a shorts man – or are you someone who considers them a bit childish?
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Generally, guys are divided into two camps. On one hand, there’s the man who can answer a confident “Yes!” to the question. He always has a few pairs ready for the summer season.
Beyond the obvious gym shorts and swimming trunks, he won’t say no two two-piece co-ords, appreciates a pattern, and considers chino shorts his default when he’s away from the office.
At the same time, especially with inseams for men’s shorts creeping higher and higher, he’s down for something last worn in the ‘80s.
Our Top Picks for Best Men’s Summer Shorts
Then, there’s the man who stopped wearing shorts in his twenties, if not his teens. He thinks his legs aren’t worth showing off – too hairy, too skinny, or not toned enough – or equates them with children’s clothing.
As a result of the latter attitude, trends for men’s shorts have been put on the backburner. They’ve been something you wear because the temperatures heat up and you want to feel cool, or you’re off to do something more active, like kayaking.
For 2023, men’s shorts are having their Renaissance, and here’s where you – no matter where you stand now – should start exploring all the possibilities.
If utility pants are a thing, why not utility shorts? Dubbed cargo shorts and relegated toward the closets of the frumpiest-dressing men out there, this style has returned from its late ‘90s heyday through outdoor- and technical-leaning construction. Think ripstop nylon over cotton with plenty of practical and superfluous pockets.
1. Burberry Technical Wool Cargo Shorts
Wool’s reputation as a technical fabric continues to grow. This style from Burberry exemplifies that with a durable wool/nylon blend accented with two side pockets and exposed hardware.
2. Columbia Men’s Brewha II Short
Columbia is one of those brands that delivers the technical components alongside a design more comfortable for everyday wear. Here, a cargo silhouette delivers that with cotton construction enhanced with UPF protection and an elastic waist.
Guys in your high school gym class used to create these by cutting sweatpants at the knee. Kind of a transitional style for spring and regions where summer’s never truly hot, these shorts are exactly as they sound: pair heathered, midweight material with a drawstring elastic waist, and you’re good to go.
1. Polo Ralph Lauren The RL Fleece Short
When you can’t decide on a single trend, these shorts give you everything – a look reminiscent of swim trunks, bright horizontal stripes, and soft fleece construction ready for the gym.
2. Burberry Cashmere Drawcord Shorts
Who thought athleisure could end up so elevated? The quintessential sweat short takes the high road with soft 100% cashmere construction, complete with a drawstring waist for comfort.
Unless you’ve been avoiding the inevitable, men’s shorts in the present rarely fall past the knees. Chino shorts present a more versatile, flattering, and comfortable alternative to those blink-and-you’ll-miss-them Bermudas. A slimmer cut is less likely to camouflage the body and falls, in more of a narrow pipe formation, a couple of inches above the knee.
Taking a more casual approach, we’re spotting chino shorts with a work-from-home makeover, complete with an elastic or flexible waist accompanied by a drawstring. Pull them up, look casually sharp, and get things done.
1. Hugo Boss Relaxed-Fit Shorts in Stretch-Cotton Poplin
You wish you were going somewhere. These chino-style shorts take you to the pool or beach with a Bermuda silhouette, Caribbean blue hue, and elastic drawstring waist.
2. Purple Label Slim-Fit Stretch Chino Short
Inches above the knee, creased in front, and a light khaki tan shade, these shorts stand right on the line between familiar tradition and modern experimentation.
What’s the difference between chino shorts and short shorts? Although hem styles can be debated – you, for instance, won’t see a dolphin hem on the former – the inseam is the dividing factor. Going back to a TikTok video – plus a few seasons’ worth of runway collections – short shorts fall five inches down at longest, preferably shorter. Chino shorts, meanwhile, average around an eight-inch inseam.
1. Goodthreads Men’s Slim-Fit Stretch Chino Shorts
How much shorter can you go? When you stay on the line, these shorts take you into five-inch inseam territory with an easygoing design.
2. J. Crew 5″ Stretch Short
Think classic chinos but cut off mid-thigh and weathered slightly for comfort.
Menswear has no shortage of patterns – from florals to fruit prints to classics like stripes and checks to, more recently, landscapes covering the body of a garment. Then, there’s the streetwear angle, now enhanced with tie-dye.
So, if all these options grace our camp collar shirts, why not what we pair it with? Patterned shorts are everywhere now due to their statement appeal, and you’ve got to have at least one pair.
1. Hugo Boss Slim-Fit Shorts In Seasonal-Print
Hugo Boss’ summery shorts have a moderate rise and a slender silhouette. The pair are made of stretch-cotton satin – which is at least 60% organic cotton. The light print and material makes it perfect for warmer seasons, so much so that you will never want to take them off.
2. RRL Photo-Print Twill Field Short
Explore the short-short trend with a style printed with vintage blue-toned retro illustrations of carnivals.
We know – these died out in the ‘90s, when they hung past the knees like pants cut too short. Now, though, you’ll see denim shorts with wider and shorter cuts, plus in more relaxed, lighter versions, so they don’t feel as if they’re chafing or weighing you down.
1. Polo Ralph Lauren 6.5-Inch Polo Prepster Denim Short
Dive into denim with a lighter, more flexible style that’s built for summer’s more humid days.
2. Levi’s Men’s 505 Regular Fit Short
Go classic and uncomplicated with this pair of Levi’s 505s shortened so that they fall just above the knee.
As a reminder, boardshorts aren’t the same as swim trunks. They might serve similar purposes, but boardshorts have wet-to-dry dressing down pat. Nylon or microfiber is treated with quick-dry properties to shed moisture as soon as you’re back on land. A chino or cargo cut, meanwhile, is less likely to stick out once you’re past the beach and the boardwalk.
1. Billabong Men’s 73 Pro Boardshort
We’re getting sunset-over-the-ocean vibes from this four-way stretch pair that’s stylish enough for the boardwalk and flexible enough when you go for a surf.
2. O’NEILL Men’s Santa Cruz Solid 2.0 Boardshorts
Keep it simple with a light aqua-blue hue and quick-drying, substantial Ultrasuede fabric.
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Ivan Yaskey is a Philly-born menswear fashion blogger and copywriter. When not writing about men's style he's also an EDM and synthpop enthusiast.