Above the knees? Check. Well-fitting? Check.Facebook/J Crew
There’s an ongoing debate over whether grown men should actually wear shorts. If you do choose to wear them, we won’t judge.
It’s warm, and you don’t want to suffocate. We get it. But there’s no debating how to look good in them.
Since there’s so little fabric to shorts to begin with, the details have to be exactly right. That includes length and width.
At this point, we’re almost making a parody of ourselves by saying men should avoid cargo shorts. Nevertheless, it bears repeating: cargo shorts look terrible, often fit poorly, come with inseams that are too long, and create a mismatched silhouette.
Shorts need to fit well.
First: Make sure your shorts hit above your knee. This is the most important thing to consider when wearing shorts. We don’t care how short or long they are exactly, as long as they hit above the knee.
For most guys, this is going to be about 5 to 7 inches of inseam if you’re about average height. Any longer, and you start looking like you’re about to hit the skate park.
The second-most important thing to consider is how tight your shorts are. You want them to be slightly fitted, following the natural taper of your legs. If you have a pair of shorts with a large leg opening that billows around your knees, that’s going to ruin your silhouette, causing an imbalance and making your bottom half look awkward and visually heavier than your top half.
Fit them into an outfit.
The rest of wearing shorts comes down to what you pair them with. We recommend you wear low-top shoes like a moc-style loafer or white sneaker with short socks, no-show socks, or no socks at all. Large socks coming up your ankles look a little weird when most of your legs are completely bare.
The next thing you have to pay attention to is the top block. While the safest choice is to wear a short-sleeved shirt or t-shirt, you can also get away with sweatshirts or long-sleeved shirts. Just remember that shorts are inherently casual, and your shirt and shoes should be, too.
You cannot, however, wear a blazer with shorts. The visual imbalance is too great to get away with, and shorts are much too casual a look to pair with formal clothing.
The rest is up to you.
As for color, style, and choice of fabric, the rest is completely up to your discretion and your own personal style. Chino-style shorts are very popular as default casual shorts, as are what some retailers are dubbing “dock shorts” — elastic waistband shorts that are very comfortable and come with a drawstring and fewer pockets.