With the summer months comes a necessary adaptation in our wardrobes. Thick knits and outerwear get filed into the back of the closet, while t-shirts, lightweight button-downs, and shorts take center stage.

While it’s true that higher temperatures tend to loosen dress codes across the board (think of the unstructured linen tailoring found at beach weddings), dressing with taste and intentionality is a priority in every season, and to a lot of guys, shorts can seem too casual, or even a little childish. This misinterpretation of shorts’ versatility and stylistic capabilities can lead to summers spent sweating it out in jeans and chinos—a fate we wouldn’t wish on anyone.

So whether you’re already an advocate for shorts or still view them with some sartorial suspicion, this in-depth guide will help you find a new appreciation for this timeless and practical garment and make the most of your shorts for many summers to come.

fit model sitting wearing The Après Short in Fired Brick Dobby

Types Of Men’s Shorts

Chino Shorts

Like many of the most timeless garments in the modern man’s wardrobe, shorts evolved out of a military context. They first appeared on the legs of Nepalese soldiers in the early 1800s before making their way into the ranks of the US Army during World War One, when soldiers stationed in Bermuda shortened their trousers to help beat the heat.

Today, the option that most closely resembles those early iterations has to be the versatile chino short.

Cotton shorts with decidedly clean looks, chino shorts are distinguished by their slash front pocketing and welted back pockets and can be had with or without pleats.

fit model walking in The Matlow Short in Baked Soil Herringbone

Cargo Shorts

While it may have swung in and out of style over the years, the cargo short's pound-for-pound utility has kept it in popular use for decades. For those who plan on hitting the trails, camping, or spending a lot of time outdoors this summer, the tough construction and expansive pocket space of cargo shorts are a practical necessity.

fit model wearing The Camp Short in Coal Chipped Canvas

Linen Shorts

Thanks to its favorable strength-to-weight ratio and top-notch breathability, linen has become a ubiquitous fabric for spring and summer. While linen shorts are probably the most capable of beating the heat, their textured, crinkly finish is best suited to casual occasions. Think tropical vacations and beachside BBQs. Many linen shorts will come equipped with an elasticated drawstring waistband, cementing them as a supremely comfortable, decidedly laid-back option.

fit model with his hand in his pocket wearing The Easy Short in Olive Linen

Hemp Shorts

Hemp shorts boast many of the same benefits as their linen brethren, and they are also some of the most environmentally responsible options on the planet. The Cannabis Sativa plant from which hemp is made is a carbon-neutral crop that actively removes CO2 from the atmosphere and replenishes the soil it grows in. The only downside to hemp is that it can be a little scratchy against the skin, so we recommend opting for a hemp blend.

fit model posing in The Après Short in Faded Black Hemp

How Should Your Shorts Fit?

To preface our answer, if you like the way your shorts look and feel on you, then wear them that way. Clothing is meant to (on top of being durable and useful) help us look and feel our best. If short and tight or long and baggy shorts make you feel confident, then do you, man.

For the guys who want some pointers, here’s how we define the perfect fit.

Your shorts should fit well around the waist and, in most cases, sit right at the hip. A higher rise is acceptable for some styles of chino shorts, and a slouchier fit around the waist is fine for casual drawstring shorts, but exercise both extremes with caution.

As for length, your shorts should hit somewhere between your mid-thigh and your knee. What length looks best on you will depend on your specific leg shape and size, but generally speaking, refrain from any shorts that hang past your knees (these shorten the look of the leg and give off a generally messy vibe) or options that are revealingly short. We don’t want to be worrying about possible “wardrobe malfunctions” every time we sit down.

As far as how snug shorts should be, we follow the same rules as we do with pants. Opt for something with room for comfort without being too shapeless and baggy. While fuller-fit styles are en vogue right now, part of what makes a style timeless is its silhouette. A short that is either skin-tight or excessively roomy will result in an unbalanced silhouette and an unflattering accentuation of your legs, making them look like stuffed sausages in the former case and twigs in the latter.

fit model sitting wearing The Après Short in Canteen Hemp

How To Style Shorts

While shorts are generally more casual, with a little creativity, they can accommodate a wide range of styles to match just about any warm-weather occasion.

The Go-To Combo

Sometimes, the most effective solution is the simplest one. The timeless combination of shorts and a tee shirt is a consistently comfortable option for casual, everyday wear. While this recipe goes great with any kind of shorts, the textured finish of linen or hemp shorts will contrast well with your cotton t-shirt, resulting in a more interesting (though still simple) outfit. Pair with sneakers, sandals, or mules. Flip-flops are acceptable if you plan on being near a body of water, otherwise leave them in the beach bag, brother.

Sharp Summer Style

For a cleaner look that works well on a night out or even in some offices, we recommend pairing chino shorts with a collared shirt. You can go for a short-sleeve button-up, a classic Oxford shirt (preferably with the sleeves rakishly rolled), or even a polo, but we recommend leaving all of them untucked to avoid looking stuffy. Finish this look off with some loafers and your favorite timepiece—done and dusted.

fit model leaning against a wall wearing The Easy Short in Olive Linen

Vacation Vibes

You don’t need to actually travel anywhere to dress like you’re on vacation. The laid-back, texture-rich style of cabana bars and white sand beaches is a great look for everything from night on the town or a weekend coffee run. Better yet, the recipe is as easy as can be.

Start with linen or hemp shorts, add a camp collar shirt, and finish with your favorite pair of shades. The open collar and natural, airy fabrics offer a perfect balance of casual and collected, giving off that je ne sais quoi that snakes people ask themselves, “Does he have a place in the Caymans?”

fit model walking wearing The Après Short in Tarnished Gold

Adventure-Ready

Summer isn’t all beach loungers and pool noodles; it’s also a prime season for adventure in the great outdoors. Be it hikes, bikes, kayaks, or climbs, a trusty pair of cargo shorts will take you far. We like to pair ours with a t-shirt or collared work shirt and a light piece of outerwear over top (preferably something rain-resistant). If you’re feeling bold, go for the “shorts and boots” look, or play it safe with some hiking shoes or trail runners.

Mixing Seasons

This look is geared toward cooler summer days, brisk evenings, or as a go-to during those tricky transition months. It’s a straightforward, comfortable combo that any guy can pull off. Just match up your favorite shorts (in this instance, almost any shorts will work) and pair it up with either a sweater or sweatshirt. The heavier knit top creates an interesting contrast with the shorts, resulting in an effortless yet intentional appearance. We like to wear this outfit with sneakers, but loafers work as well if you want to snazz it up a bit.

fit model sitting wearing The Apres Trail Short in Light Sage Slub

Explore Our Offerings

Offering a wide range of styles and fabrications, our roster of shorts is fully outfitted to get you through whatever the season has in store. Explore our purpose-built assortment, snag your favorites, and love them for many summers to come. Cheers.

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