Athletic, relaxed, or preppy shorts are the quintessential summer staple that every man needs, but most have difficulty finding. Shorts, given their casual reputation, can read messy and unrefined if done in the wrong fabrics and if the fit is off. However, if done well, the shorts will read polished, boosting your casual wear for summery looks perfectly. From short shorts to dressier versions, we take you through the different types of shorts for men to wear.
Different Types of Shorts
Cropped Shorts / Short Shorts
Cropped shorts are perfect for men who want to experiment with retro fashion without going all out. This style can flatter slimmer to medium body types with its shorter proportions. While the classic neutral tones are always a winner, don’t shy away from trying out a colorful option – after all, the cropped short is typically a casual staple piece. Pair your shorts with white sneakers, espadrilles, and playful accessories like baseball caps, cool watches, and sunglasses to complete your overall outfit.
Tailored shorts are a great option for dressing for smart casual occasions during the warmer months. The chino-like material and streamlined fit give a polished, put-together look while still allowing your legs to breathe. Not only are they stylish, but tailored shorts are also highly practical. However, versatile colors like navy, khaki, and beige are important when selecting a pair. These colors will make incorporating the shorts into your wardrobe easier and give you more outfit options.
When choosing baggy shorts, the proportion is a crucial factor to consider. Your biggest responsibility is ensuring they are well-balanced for your body type. You don’t want to end up looking like a clown or dated in baggy shorts that are not flattering. Experimenting with different fits and fabrics can help you find the right balance that complements your height and body shape. Take the time to figure out what works for you, and always strive for a well-proportioned look.
For a laid-back and effortless style, shorts are a great item to add to your wardrobe. They’re versatile and easy to wear, allowing you to create a range of casual looks that are both comfortable and stylish. Pairing them with a chambray or linen button-down shirt can instantly elevate your outfit, giving you a relaxed yet put-together look. Of course, if you prefer a more casual approach, a simple T-shirt always works well with shorts. To complete your outfit, consider a pair of espadrilles or boat shoes. Not only do they add a touch of sophistication to your look, but they’re also more appealing than the typical flip-flops that many men tend to wear.
Smart Casual Shorts
Shorts can be a comfortable and stylish choice for many occasions, but it’s important to consider the context of the event before slipping into a pair. If you’re attending a smart casual event, it’s necessary to match your shorts with the right attire to look your best. A good rule of thumb is to team chino-esque shorts with a simplistic dress shirt and an appropriate blazer or to throw a lightweight sweater over your shoulders for a more relaxed vibe. Shoes also play a significant role in elevating your smart-casual look. Loafers or sneakers are great footwear options that keep you comfortable while looking stylish.
Sports Luxe Shorts
Sports luxe is a popular trend among fashion enthusiasts, blending comfort and style seamlessly. When it comes to perfecting the sports luxe look, it’s important to prioritize style — opting for basic colors such as black, grey, and navy blue offers maximum versatility. Sports luxe shorts can be effortlessly paired with other pieces that embody the same essence, allowing for both dressed-up and dressed-down looks. Essential staples to complete the perfect sports luxe ensemble include a bomber jacket, sneakers, and a snapback.
Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing Shorts
Here are the guidelines for wearing shorts, ensuring a perfect look:
- Choose shorts that flatter your body type.
- Pair your upper wear appropriately with shorts. Avoid pairing printed shirts with pleated shorts.
- Opt for shorts that reach the kneecap or fall slightly above the ankle.
- Maintain a simple fashion style when wearing shorts.
- Ensure that the shorts fit well, providing comfort like trousers.
- Avoid shorts that go past your kneecap, as they can be uncomfortable when sitting down.
- Keep accessories minimal, as shorts are best suited for casual events.
- Steer clear of baggy cargo shorts, which are outdated and unflattering when overdone.
- Avoid flashy styles and opt for simple designs in light colors.
Types of Shorts FAQs
How do you wear shorts correctly?
Start by ensuring the fit is right. You want shorts that fit your body shape but also allows an appropriate level of movement. Next, make sure you’re wearing them on the right occasion. Shorts are ideal for casual, smart-casual, and sports-luxe looks. Cropped and baggy shorts are perfect for everyday and casual wear, whereas tailored shorts look crisp for smart-casual occasions. Finally, choose quality fabrics, and avoid board short material unless you’re actually at the beach – it has a more teenage vibe than the mature look you’d be aiming for.
What are the most comfortable men's shorts?
The most comfortable shorts will fit you well and have some stretch for freedom of movement. Even tailored shorts can be made with fabrics that have a stretchy design. However, if you are after a more casual look, it’s hard to go past a pair of sweat shorts made of soft, stretchy cotton for the perfect amount of lounging comfort.
What kind of shorts are in style for guys?
If you’re looking for an on-trend pair of shorts, show a little leg with a cropped pair, look more formal with tailored shorts, or embrace a chilled vibe with a pair of baggy shorts.
Where can I buy good men's shorts?
Most menswear and department stores will have a selection of shorts on offer, especially in the warmer months. Online stores such as ASOS and Amazon are also fantastic; however, always check the return policy so you can send them back if it’s not a good fit. It’s also harder to tell online what the fabric quality is like, so keep this in mind as well.
Should I wear socks with shorts?
Your decision to wear socks will come down to the kind of shoes you’re wearing and the overall look. Shorts are pretty versatile, and you can get away with longer socks, as well as ankle, invisible, or no socks. Longer socks paired with high-top sneakers are great for a casual vibe, while sock-free loafers or boat shoes look best with tailored shorts for a smart-casual occasion.
What shoes can I wear with shorts?
You can choose almost any kind of casual shoe to wear with shorts. Try sneakers, high-tops, slip-ons, sandals, or boat shoes. If you want to dress the look up a little more, rock your tailored shorts with a stylish pair of loafers or even boots if you’re feeling bold.
Roger Grinstead is a senior apparel designer for X2U with over 25 years of expertise in the fashion industry. He has expertise in menswear and womenswear trends and product development. When Roger is not designing the latest fashion garments, he enjoys writing about men's fashion, hairstyles, and grooming.
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