A Men’s Guide to the Lengths and Styles of Shorts

A Men’s Guide to the Lengths and Styles of Shorts

Warmer weather is finally here. ‘Tis the season for long sunny days, balmy nights, weekend beach trips, and finally getting to wear shorts. If you are dying to get into some cooler clothing like seersucker or linen shorts this summer but are unsure what fabric, length or style may be right for you; then you are in the right place. We have compiled a complete guide to the lengths and styles of men’s shorts so that you can find your perfect pair this summer.

Finding The Right Fit

Much like pants, shorts are also measured by the inseam. The inseam, for those who may not be in the know, is the length, in inches, from the inside crotch to the bottom hem. The inseam is one of the more important factors when considering the right pair of shorts for you. When shopping for pants, you may find a variety of styles and fits like slim, skinny, boyfriend, or relaxed. Shorts tend to be less complex and usually just offer the inseam as the fit. Common short lengths are 5”, 7”, 9”, and 11”. What length you should commit to really depends on your height and your comfort level.

A rule of thumb that many follow is that you want the bottom hem of your shorts to rest one to three inches above your knee; however, we think you should try on multiple fits and styles and decide for yourself what feels best to you.

As mentioned, shorts are not typically offered in various fits besides the inseam. The only other measurement to factor in is the waist. This will typically be the same waist measurement as the pants you already have.

The Chino Short

Chino shorts are a great go-to shorts style. Versatile, easy and timeless, these classic shorts can be worn in many different settings. As a general rule, you can wear these shorts anywhere you would wear your chino pants.

These are the business casual of the shorts world. Depending on the office culture where you live, you may be able to wear your chinos to work with a nice button-down Oxford. Otherwise, save these shorts for summer daytime dates and outings.

Men’s Board Shorts

Board shorts have officially made the list of styles of men’s shorts. Now designed in every length, fabric, and color or pattern you can imagine, board shorts are not just for the beach anymore.

We’re not saying throw on your board shorts for a date night or to the office, but these shorts can go the distance in the summer. If you are on vacation or near a body of water, think no further than your board shorts. When styling for out-of-water activities, play up or play down this casual look with your shirt pairing. If your board shorts are a fun or busy pattern, opt for a more simple, solid-colored top. If your swim trunks are a solid color, you could choose to play up your tropical look with a fun Hawaiian print shirt.

Athletic Shorts

Classically, men’s athletic shorts are best for the gym. Just pair them with a tank top or a microfiber performance shirt. With so many styles and fabrics in this section, however, they can also be a great choice for the pool or the beach. Their versatile styles and their lightweight and quick-dry features make these shorts more than just gym shorts.

With the recently popular athleisurewear trend, depending on the style of your athletic shorts, you can wear them almost anywhere. Just pair them with a polo shirt, and you’re good to run errands or grab lunch out.

Cargo Shorts

Cargo shorts are khaki shorts that are defined by their multiple, large and easily accessible pockets and their generally long and loose, if not baggy, fit. Cargo shorts have a bad rap among fashionistas, but these shorts are comfortable, practical, and can certainly look stylish with the right pairings.

Cargo shorts are excellent for outdoor activities, and with the convenience of so many large pockets, you can probably even go on your day hike without a backpack. Just wear with your favorite athletic jacket and hiking boots, and you are ready to hit the trail.

Seersucker Shorts

Seersucker shorts were made for summer. Seersucker is usually made from cotton but can be found in lightweight synthetic blends. What gives seersucker its unique and perfectly summery look and feel is the puckered design of the fabric. It has a thick, sturdy look but is actually very light and breezy, allowing plenty of open room for breathability and comfort during the warmest months of the year.

This breezy summer style is versatile, too. Pair with a polo shirt for everyday wear this summer, or pair with a button-down shirt and a blazer or sport coat and some boat shoes for that beach wedding you have coming up.

Of course, this guide is not exhaustive, and many other styles and options exist, but using this guide as a jumping-off point is sure to help you in your search for the best pair of men’s shorts for you.


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