A Man’s Guide to Wearing Shorts

by Antonio on May 30, 2012 · 224 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Style

Few items in a man’s wardrobe seem to elicit as much debate as shorts do. Today we’ll uncover just why that is, and then offer some guidelines on the how, what, where, and why of wearing them. Guidelines I’m sure will be much debated! Let’s get right to it.

Why are some men reluctant to wear shorts?

Why is there so much confusion about such a simple garment?

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries there were a number of English words for shortened men’s pants. “Knickerbockers” were baggy pants that gathered below the knee, covering it. Shorter, tighter-fitting trousers that ended at the knee were “knee pants.” “Short pants” sometimes meant knee-pants and sometimes meant shorter garments still.

All of these varieties were clothing for boys, both unofficially and as part of many school uniforms.

Grown men didn’t start wearing shorts outside of extremely hot climates until after World War II, during which soldiers stationed in the tropics had been issued short trousers both for comfort and to ration cloth.

In the post-war years, shorts caught on as a specific uniform for some kinds of sports and recreation. They weren’t fashion items or clothing that could be worn outside of a specific athletic activity — much the same way that a biker’s spandex shorts and jersey wouldn’t be worn off the bike path today. Tennis players might wear shorts on the court, but would clean up and change into trousers before socializing afterward.

In the middle of the 20th century, shorts were considered athletic-wear only. “Shorts” was more likely to refer to a man’s boxer shorts, which he wore under his pants.

Shorts as a piece of comfortable, casual summer wear for men did not show up until the 1950s. Even then — championed by trendsetters in Hollywood and other men in the spotlight — the idea took a long time to catch on as “normal.”   There are still plenty of men alive today who remember shorts being basically clothing for young boys.

Shorts are a modern addition to a man’s wardrobe and thus are still finding acceptance.  Although common everywhere in North America, they are not common wear in many other parts of the world (to include hot climate countries).   

Interestingly, while shorter trousers have gradually become acceptable in most arenas, athletic shorts went through a major shift from short, boxer-style shorts to longer mesh shorts in the 1980s. These days it’s unusual to see the extremely short athletic shorts that end as soon as the hip turns into the thigh, though some runners do still wear them. For team sports, mid-thigh or longer has become the rule.

So shorts, at the end of the day, still have a boyish association. That’s no longer a cultural expectation, and no one’s going to think you’ve lost your mind if you wear them. Clothing manufacturers love the idea of being able to sell men even more pieces of clothing each season, and men love the cool comfort shorts provide, so that genie is unlikely to ever go back into the bottle. But it is still something we, particularly if you’re an older man, instinctively think of as “boyish,” even when we’re not conscious of making that judgment.

When to Wear Shorts

Shorts are a casual piece of menswear. So when to wear them?

The simple answer is two-pronged:

1. When there’s a good reason to (temperature, environment, location) and

2. When you’re not conducting business or attending a formal ceremony/event

Recreation with family and friends is always a good default category for “shorts times.” Beaches, private parties, outdoor sports and recreation, and anything else purely for fun and not in the company of strangers or business associates is definitely in the clear.

Even those situations, of course, need appropriate weather: wearing shorts when it’s cold out is going to draw attention. Wear them when it’s hot enough that you really want them, and switch to light trousers as soon as it’s bearable.

In our modern world it also seems worth saying that a man who plans on leaving an air-conditioned house to get in an air-conditioned car and drive to an air-conditioned building can endure wearing trousers no matter what the weather is like. At the point where you have that much climate control you might as well wear the sharper-looking garment that better compliments your build.

FYI – The only people that can violate these rules are Californians.  Please see Seinfeld.

Target practice in Australia is a perfect occasion to wear shorts.

When to Skip the Shorts

Business dealings of any kind call for trousers. Even if it’s just an informal game of golf, wear a pair of light trousers instead of shorts, regardless of whether other men are wearing shorts or not. Take a cue from the pros here (the exception being John Daly).

Any sort of structured event outside the immediate family and close friends is also a time to avoid shorts. Even casual luncheons, picnics, weddings, or other outdoor, summery sorts of events should merit light trousers if you’ll be meeting strangers or relatively unfamiliar acquaintances.

Never wear shorts anywhere a jacket or blazer is expected. If the situation calls for that level of formality, it also calls for more formality than shorts offer. A few cultures have exceptions to this (shorts with blazers and ties are acceptable business wear in Bermuda, for example), but in most of the world it looks both out of place and a bit confused.

Finally, be aware of wearing shorts when traveling the world.  In many countries it clearly marks you as a tourist and may draw unwanted attention.

How to Wear Shorts Well

As a lesser-worn piece of menswear, shorts prompt all kinds of questions: How long should they be? How baggy? How many pockets? Belt or no belt? And so on.

How Long Should Shorts Be?

The far left pair are too short in my opinion. What do you think?

Short enough that your knees are visible or just slightly covered if standing still. Long enough that you’re not showing the world you rarely tan your thighs; if I have to be specific, I would go more than 2-3 inches above the knee, depending on your proportions. Barron from the Effortless Gent backs me up here.

Anything past the knees has ceased to be “shorts.” Those are high-cut pants, which is something else entirely (and not very flattering).

Shorts that do come up to mid-thigh should be limited to lightweight athletic shorts, and should only be worn in athletic settings. Running shorts get more leeway than casual shorts because the expectation is that you’re not going to walk into a store or restaurant wearing them. Exercise devotees should bear this in mind, and should go home and change (and shower) before inflicting themselves on the public outside of gyms, courts, or bike paths.

How Loose Should Shorts Be?

To some extent this is a matter of taste and style. Worth keeping in mind, however, is that shorts add bulk to the upper part of your legs only. Your lower legs will be bare, meaning that everything above them will look thicker by comparison. The baggier your shorts are, the thicker the look. So baggy shorts make your butt and thighs look big — not a look most men are seeking.

A close fit in the seat and straight legs down to the top of the knees looks good on most men. The style is reminiscent of military shorts, and their descendents, the Bermuda shorts, which are good classic styles that people have had a generation or two to get used to by now.

A baggier fit is sometimes common on the golf course, where it evokes the knickerbockers previously favored in the sport. These should obviously always be belted, preferably with a canvas and leather belt.

Pockets, Patterns, and Styles in Shorts

“Cargo shorts” or safari shorts with side, front, and back pockets are great for hiking or working outside anywhere that’s hot but not particularly overgrown (or otherwise hazardous to bare legs). Outside of that, they don’t have much of a role in your wardrobe.   Let me be clear here: baggy, multi-pocketed shorts don’t look great in social settings.  These are ultra-casual and should not be worn to college social events.

Solid colors such as tan, khaki, white, navy, olive, and off-white are the most traditional styles for men’s shorts. Plaids, especially plaids with a white base, are a preppy look staple, but should be paired with at least a polo shirt to avoid looking like a frat boy (and no collar pop, please). Madras pushes the prep look even further, and should be worn with caution.

Notice how color affects the mood of the same pair of shorts. By introducing a brighter color you can take shorts from boring to eye-catching.

Louder-patterned shorts, the kind that look like Hawaiian shirts for your lower half, should be saved for beach vacations and Jimmy Buffet concerts. (Interestingly, these are often referred to as “Bermuda shorts,” presumably because of the tropical association, but true Bermuda shorts are civilian versions of traditional military uniforms from the Pacific islands and are almost always khaki or white cotton).

What to Wear with Shorts

Can You Wear Socks with Shorts?

Can you? Yes. Should you? Only sometimes.

Socks and sandals is an appropriate pairing for old German men on vacation and no one else. So if you’re wearing sandals, which is what you’d expect when it’s hot enough to need shorts, skip the socks.  And sandals are the most casual option: fine for beachwear, not OK for a graduation party.

Shorts worn with closed-toed shoes usually look best with ankle socks. Mid-calves are starting to cover almost as much skin as just wearing trousers would have, and if you’re going to be that covered you might as well look better in trousers. Knee socks and shorts are downright laughable.

Slip-on casual shoes like boaters or loafers are also good companions to shorts, and don’t require socks (though if you need them for comfort inside the shoe, most good shoe stores will have “ballet” or “invisible” socks that don’t show above the shoe).

Shirts that Go with Shorts

Shorts are casual, so the shirt should be too. Don’t wear a long-sleeved, button-fronted, collared shirt with shorts. Even with the sleeves rolled up it’s too much of a stylistic mix-and-match.

Collared short-sleeve shirts are usually the best choice for men who want to look good but stay cool and casual. These can range from button-fronted (seersucker is particularly nice) to your basic monochrome polo shirt. Hawaiian shirts, like loud-print shorts, should be reserved for occasions where a little obnoxious tackiness is part of the fun — tiki bars yes, regular bars no, even near a beach.

T-shirts and shorts is a look that flatters no one. It may be appropriate in casual settings, but it’s not going to make you look as good as other options.

Blazers or Jackets and Shorts

This is a very fashion-forward pairing. In a few parts of the world, most notably Bermuda and South Africa, shorts with business shirts and blazers is actually an established style, and tailors will happily make you a “suit” with short pants instead of trousers. Outside of those countries, however, it’s very much a “fashion-forward” look.

If you’re looking for more fashion-forward ways to wear shorts, visit Josh and Travis here.

Materials for Shorts

Before closing, it’s worth noting a few of the cloth choices men have for shorts. These are garments meant for the most extreme heats of the year, so there’s little point in wearing them if they’re not made from something lightweight and breathable. Unfortunately, the most comfortable fabrics are often more expensive to produce, so a lot of mass-marketed shorts will be made with a thick cotton that’s worse than wearing full trousers of a lighter, more breathable material.

Cotton Shorts

Cotton is a great menswear material for heat — if it’s woven right. It’s lightweight and breathable and is by far the easiest to wash and dry without special care. However, tight weaves of cotton hold hot air close to the body, and sweat or water evaporates from it very slowly.

  • Seersucker is one of the lightest cotton weaves, with a dimpled surface that lets air flow. It’s a joy to wear in the summer and one of the best options available.
  • Madras (true Madras cloth, not just the reddish plaid print) has a very loose weave that lets air flow and dries quickly. There’s very little domestic production in the United States, so it can be costly unless you happen to be in India.
  • Gauze is more commonly associated with medical bandages, but the large weave with its visible square gaps was used for tropical military uniforms for some time and is reappearing in consumer clothes as well. It’s another good option, though not as durable as Madras or seersucker.
  • Drill or twill are both tighter weaves that hold in more air and moisture. Unfortunately, they’re also cheap and common, and make up the majority of most commercial lines. Wear them when you need a bit more durability but aren’t expecting to exert yourself too much.

Linen Shorts

Linen trousers are more common than linen shorts, but if you can find a pair they’re very lightweight and comfortable. Linen tends to wrinkle more than cotton, but the distinctive creases are part of the style, like the bumps in seersucker. Don’t bother trying to smooth them out.

Wool Shorts 

Tropical-weight wools are used for summer trousers because of wool’s smooth drape, but that property is largely wasted in shorts. There’s not a real reason to buy wool shorts, even ones made from very nice, lightweight wool.

Synthetics

Athletic shorts are usually made of synthetics like nylon or spandex. For the most part this is beneficial — the loose weave of basketball shorts keeps the artificial fibers from holding in heat and sweat, while newer synthetics can actually wick moisture away from the skin and let air flow even better than a cotton weave.

Want more?  Then click on the image below to see Primer’s visual guide to wearing shorts!

Also – don’t forget AOM’s guide to dressing in hot weather.

In Conclusion

Watch the video to have me talk you through the article.

Shorts are a modern classic piece of menswear with a storied history. They have a place in every man’s wardrobe.  Just make sure you wear them right!

 

Written By

Antonio Centeno
Founder of Real Men Real Style
Author of the Internet’s Largest Style Video Library

{ 224 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Autumnal June 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

As an archaeologist, I have to put a brief defense in for sandals.

Sandals as unmanly? Really?

Well, seeing how they were the staple footwear of the Roman Empire and its military, I can see how so many could reach that conclusion.

That said, when did we become too lazy to actually do up, tie, or buckle our footwear. Flipflops? Honestly. I could certainly picture a group of centurions laughing their arses off at that one.

102 Emily June 1, 2012 at 11:13 am

Who knew there’d be so much controversy about shorts? Personally, I love to see men’s toned calves but I would have to agree with many people above that showing too much thigh meat can be off-putting. Tall men in shorty-long-pants are yum, as are shorter guys in knee-length shorts.

103 Kenneth Payne June 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Gentlemen,
It’s not about color or length or footwear or temperature or even masculinity; it’s about maturity. GROWN MEN DON’T WEAR SHORTS. You decide.
Thank you.

104 dannyb278 June 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm

^ This ^

105 dannyb278 June 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm

similar to some other articals on this website (which i do enjoy), it seems like the thing that the contributers are forgetting, is that THE LEAST manly thing for a man to do, is let someone else define manliness for him.

106 Kenneth Payne June 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Gentlemen, It’s not about color or length or footwear or temperature or even masculinity; it’s about maturity. GROWN MEN DON’T WEAR SHORTS. You decide. Thank you.

107 dannyb278 June 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm
108 dannyb278 June 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm
109 John Hosie June 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Patrick,
I kinda don’t like your characterization of “WASPS”, being one. I think you’ll see, above, that I have my own views on wearing shorts…

David,
If you’re a grown man, based on your attitude and characterization of shorts-wearers, you probably have a pair stiched onto you – assuming you look like you write. I’m comfortable in my own skin enough so I don’t worry too much about appearances. If you’re so concerned about looking like a fool, I think you may require a good deal of self-evaluation.

Shorts are something that is very cultural. EIther you get it or you don’t. If you don’t want to wear them, I’m fine with that. But remember that you can’t tell a book by its cover, and when it comes to a man, it has nothing to do with wearing shorts or whether he polishes the back of his shoes. What matters is his integrity.

110 John June 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Are those shorts too short? I’m 6′ 6″. ALL shorts are “too short”. I’d kill to have a pair of shorts that cover as much as those on the left.

111 DreddPyrateRoberts June 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I live in a jock town. Adventure sports, not cushy team sports with time-outs and refs. We play hard and dress the part.
Sure, if you get married or pass away I will dress appropriately (noose, jacket, etc.) But in a town where the “designer” labels are Arc’terix, Outdoor Research, Mountain Hardware, et. al. you dress for the weather. Most of us don’t change after a day of skiing powder, or floating the river. We meet up and continue the festivities.
I certainly won’t feel like a boy when I climb and ski in the High Cascades in June while wearing shorts.

112 michael June 1, 2012 at 11:16 pm

I’m 49 and work in a facility full of well educated, hard working highly compensated men, Who mostly all where shorts at least 7 months out of the year.

In fact I’ve worked at several places where men routinely wear shorts and billions of dollars of business is transacted.

On the other had I worked in San Francisco for a company where everyone wore black no matter what, black dresses, black shirts, pants coats etc. And somehow they thought they were cool or chic, never realizing they were all in a uniform.

It did not matter how hot it might get either, or if your job was to crawl around in the rafters installing networking you were still expected to wear a tie and black pants and black shirt, and it had better be from a designer label.

Point is we put far too much importance on what people wear and define them by it.

But I’ll keep in mind Steve Jobs a brilliant marketer and CEO who always wore jeans and a black mock turtleneck no matter what the occasion.

For me I choose now to dress however I want wherever I’m going. My personal comfort and style choices far out weigh my need to conform or even care what someone else thinks is appropriate. What’s best for me is all that is important.

113 Z June 1, 2012 at 11:35 pm

“What’s best for me is all that is important”

And there you have, in pithiest possible form, the reason our society is in the crapper.

114 IndianaJohn June 2, 2012 at 7:50 am

Grown men wearing shorts in public pretend that they don’t look ridculous. Yet another decay signal.

115 WW Rutland June 2, 2012 at 9:01 am

I’m in Florida and shorts are year round, I hate those long baggy ghetto shorts. They are as bad as the punks wearing their pants down below their ass. I go to the gym 2 or 3 times week and wear my gym workout shorts which are above mid thigh and stop by the store on the way home. I wear mid thigh shorts most of the day and do not own a pair of ugly baggy knee length shorts. I know I’m out of style but who cares ?

116 Linda G June 2, 2012 at 9:23 am

I am an executive of a major company and when I took over, one of the first things I did was crackdown on dress code. I made several visits to our Colorado location and I had people written up and sent home for wearing jeans. I also made it known that very casual dress like shorts were unacceptable even on weekends. In fact if you work on Saturday, you have to dress like it is Monday.

Society has deteriorated too much with things like casual dress even here on the East Coast which is very well known for being very formal. It started on the West Coast and moved East. IMHO, with the bad economy, us executives and reign in on casual dress and reinstate formal dressing not only in the corporate world but try to instill it outside of work hours as well.

117 A6 June 2, 2012 at 11:02 am

@JACK
Truer words have NEVER been spoken my friend. I’ve also lived in NYC my whole life and I was never under the impression that cargo shorts and a T-shirt (or collared shirt) was the ultimate “No-NO.”
I guess we’ve been living under a rock our whole lives since we’re in the most fashion illiterate capital in the world. I never thought I would say this but: this is the most useless article I’ve ever read on the AOM…..quite possibly ever. Telling a grown man whether or not he can wear shorts (take your pick) is in my opinion similar to telling him what kind of woman to date and what kind of food he should eat for lunch and dinner.

118 Chris S. June 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I agree with one of the posters above, I have never seen so many negative comments on this site before. I have been reading AoM for a loooong time, and it has helped me in a lot of manly endeavors, but I have to to say this has gone a little too far.

Wear shorts when it is appropriate, as the article points out, and make sure you are pressed and well groomed, regardless if it is cargo shorts, and a t-shirt, or slacks and a dress shirt.

Take care of yourself and your clothes, dress for the appropriate occasion, and live life!

119 Brendan I June 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I think the main thing this article missed is that not all of us are white collar. Yes in a traditional office setting, short would be inappropriate, but not all of us work in an office. I work in production, building sets, setting up stages, working crew for events, all that stuff, and in this industry, cargo shorts are almost our uniform, which is something this article and many commenters seemingly dismissed off hand. When I work I need to carry alot of gear with me, phone, radio, knife, mulitool, water, screwdrivers/ tools, ID, full role of tape, and thats just what I need on my person pretty much at all times. This is a case of form follows function. I work outside in 90+ degree heat during the summer so no Im not going to wear pants because shorts are for “children”, and if I showed up with the “dress” shorts the article advocates I not be able to carry with me what I need to work and their just not functional. Yes they look clean and all that, but they’re not functional.
So I would ask those of you commenters who look down your nose at people who wear shorts to remember not all of us are as privileged as you to wear a suit to work everyday

120 Mike June 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I like this site, but seriously, articles like this are relics from the 50s. A style guide of when to wear certain articles of clothing and what’s too formal or too casual is for weak willed idiots who care too much about what others think. Manliness? Hardly.

121 AC June 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I am an Environmental Scientist. I spend a lot of time in the field working in hot rural parts of the Western United States. It’s a very casual work environment at the office, jeans, t-shirts, totally acceptable (I am given far more grief for my tie than the guy wearing a kilt).

The one time someone in my office wore shorts, he was given grief beyond anything anyone I had ever seen in at my office.

122 Andrew June 2, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I’ll be damned if I’ll wear long pants when it’s 88 degrees and humid, I wear shorts to work in my OFFICE, as does my CEO, and he wears flip-flops too.It’s 2012 guys, lighten up.

123 markb June 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm

is it about the clothes you wear or how you wear them? a confident/squared away guy who is confident in his own skin can make anything look good and acceptable. a clown suit to the boardroom is excessive, but within a certain range, its your attitude and the way you present yourself, not the fact that you’re wearing shorts.
the harvard graduate with the killer skills and resume is going to be the harvard graduate with the killer skills and resume with or without shorts on…

124 PoppaG June 3, 2012 at 12:05 am

The best part of this website is the tools it provides to help less mature men grow into manhood.

The point of this excellent article is, if you are a man and you wear shorts in anything but a casual beach or backyard situation, serious people will think you are a bit silly, and not acting you age.

125 John Benton June 3, 2012 at 1:18 am

I have to agree with many commenters here that those who are so actively anti-shorts must have a one sided perspective of things. I’m an educator, so I never would wear shorts to work, but there are plenty of manual labor or field jobs where it’s completely appropriate. When you’re in Texas and working in 115 degree heat, if you were wearing a full suit, or even full length denim jeans, frankly, I’d think you stupid. Do I think slacks and/or a suit look better in pretty much every situation? Yes. But in many jobs, as was already mentioned, form follows function.

Heck, I’m in music education, and when the band is rehearsing before school in the beginning of August, all the directors wear shorts. Once school starts up and we’re inside more often, we’re back to professional dress. But it’s just silly to wear full length pants in many situations.

126 Bruce Hinkler June 3, 2012 at 2:02 am

This article is interesting to me, as I’m an Australian reader and we as a society don’t have any of these short-wearing conventions. Shorts, thongs (flip-flops), and a t-shirt are pretty much our national dress code. Shorts are worn in most social situations in Australia. I think this possibly reflects our more laid-back society.

127 Peter M June 3, 2012 at 7:15 am

I own several pairs of slacks but only one pair of pants. Why? Because I live in the great state of California where board shorts and flipflops aren’t just the norm, they’re the uniform. I find it quite hilarious that there are questions about shorts still, they’re a thing you put on when the weather permits it (which is all the time for me *brag brag brag*). About as straight forward as you can get. Shorts are definitely masculine, because it’s not about what you wear but how you wear it.

I was disappointed that Rugby shorts weren’t mentioned in the sports section. Dear God those are short, but it’s all for practicality there. But even so, I still feel out of place wearing them to the gym. A very strange thing indeed.

128 Kaine June 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

Shorts are for swimming. That is all. Any decision like this can be made easily using the code that i have gone by my entire life. What-would-John-Wayne-do? Would “The Duke” wear short-pants? End of discussion.

129 jrobertlysaght June 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm

It does nothing to help the case of shorts being for grown up men when you seen these same short wearing men completing the look with a backward baseball cap and printed t shirt.

130 Steve June 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Those of you who think it’s ridiculous to wear shorts in social settings are taking yourselves way too seriously. Do you honestly think you are better than someone else because you’re wearing a pair of pants? The only people I know to wear pants year-round are farmers. Other than that, I find people who are wearing jeans in 100 degree heat to be ridiculously stupid. Lighten up and stop judging people for what they wear.

131 Juan June 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm

“Hey you kids! Get of mah lawn with yer shorts and sandals and t-shirts! You hooligans in pants can stay–you in the kilt, what the hell you think you’re wearin! It’s 2012 fer cryin out loud!”/sarcasm because whether or not someone wearing shorts is totes series bizzness

Retro as this blog is, sometimes you can find useful bits of information. This is not one of those times. Though the anti-shorts crowd does bring some unintended hilarity with them.

So when do we get an article on kilts and other unbifurcated garments for men? I wanna read the comment section in that. =) Or even grown men using smileys! xD

132 Robert C June 4, 2012 at 12:48 am

As with many topics, opinions come out like rats from a sinking ship. For me personally if feel that first the man, then the clothes. A worthless person in a suit is still a worthless person and by the same token an awesome father in casual wear (shorts) is still an awesome father.

Any man worth his salt will be able to gauge a situation and come up with something that will be appropriate to wear from within his wardrobe.

133 Brian June 4, 2012 at 3:29 am

The author of this article and the website editors should bring your “stylish” collection of wool suits to Arizona. After spending a summer here, you’ll change your tune.

134 Sean June 4, 2012 at 10:52 am

Most men’s legs aren’t attractive enough for shorts. Leave them to kids, athletics, and most women. I don’t like being tortured by the sight of obese men and women in tank tops and shorts.

135 Clark "Death Valley" Kelley June 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I have been a follower of AOM for some time. Most of your articles are spot on with valuable information, and a reminder that I share the world with other men. This “shorts” article is hogwash. I have worn the totally unaceptable ‘short’ khaki shorts, year round, even in the snow. When I worked, I had to had a pair of BDUs for
for transporting prisoners to court.
The reason most men wear the long, girley-boy shorts, is that they are emabarrasse of thier puny legs, or they
have sexual hangups. There is nothing like the feel of your legs being in the world. The shorts you show as acceptable make these men look silly.

136 Marc June 5, 2012 at 1:13 am
137 Paul White June 5, 2012 at 10:44 am

LindaG, I just hope I never work for you. If you’re making your staff work 7 days (coming in on saturday and sunday), I hope to hell you pay them good over time and/or let them wear casual wear.

As for this article…I’ve read AOM for a couple of years now and this is the first article I thought to be truly a waste of my time.

I’m in the Texas Panhandle and I wear shorts pretty much all summer…cargo shorts, with a T-shirt. Not at the office obviously (slacks and dress shirts there). But at the grocery store, a friend’s house, or out walking? or at anything other than a formal event? Yep, shorts. Knee length or slightly over as I feel that looks best, paired with a solid plain T-shirt. It works, it’s fairly comfy, and fits the occasion. No, you don’t wear them to a wedding or a funeral, but going grocery shopping isn’t a formal event.

138 Paul White June 5, 2012 at 10:49 am

Oh, and there is now, thanks to the TSA, a real reason to wear sandals–if you are going to be flying, they are far easier to take on and off, making the security process less painful. I’m actually looking for a semi-decent pair of sandals just for the occasions when I have to fly. Usually I dislike sandals, but when I’m dip netting in a stream (looking for amphibians) or flying, they’re a god send. And they certainly don’t offend me on other people.

139 Tim June 5, 2012 at 11:03 am

I have to disagree with the collared button down shirts. If you are going to spend money on a short sleeve collared shirt, the polo is the only way to really go. Unless you are channeling some southern boy country charm, or a rockerbilly look I would steer clear of button down short sleeved shirts.

I would say you can do long sleeved with rolled up sleeves though. Just own it and be confident and you will look fine. Make sure you leave the first 2 buttons undone and wear an undershirt with some color instead of white or black. Try playing with compliments for an eye catching look. (keep one of the colors, usually the undershirt more subdued though, too much contrast will actually hurt to look at.)

140 Native Son June 6, 2012 at 1:32 am

Couple of comments.
1. IMHO, one major problem with shorts as workwear is that something on the order of 99% of the guys wearing them wear them sloppily. Sorry, gentlemen, if you look sloppy, you”re percieved as sloppy.
2. History provides that the Aussies wore shorts in the Outback and North Africa. The shorts vanished quite quickly after they go tinto real tropics, like New Guinea.
An aside on one of the photos. Am I the only one that realizes most of the Aussies doing “target practice” appear to be scared of their own sidearms. The bloke in the beret is the only one showing proper form…

141 Ilya June 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

I have to agree with many of the posts here. I feel like overall the website has some valuable information but advice such as this is pure non sense. Someone needs to realize its the 21st century and stop trying to live in days long gone past. To be honest I am visiting AoM less and less these days.

142 Moeregaard June 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

I’ve worked for the same southern California aerospace R&D firm since 1989. Our management recognizes that the creative types we need to survive prefer to dress a lot more casually than the folks you’ll find working in a bank. As a machinist, I’ll kick anyone wearing a tie out of my shop, and short sleeves are much safer than long when working around machinery. The best shorts I’ve found are sold by Cabelas.

Two issues I’d like to address with LindaG: First, “crackdown” is a noun; you attempted to use it as a verb. “Crack down” is proper. Second, I’d like to know what the turnover rate is like in your Colorado office. I once worked for a company that hired an East Coast ice maiden, and that giant sucking sound was mass exodus that followed. There’s no excuse for dressing like a slob at the office, but a clean pair of shorts and polo shirt while working on a Saturday is hardly a cardinal sin.

143 Mrs. Peel June 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Great article – thank you for addressing this issue. My husband is a snappy, tasteful dresser and disdains the wearing of shorts outside the most casual situations. I am surprised at the number of derisive comments I’ve read, and would have expected a negative reaction had an article of this nature been addressed to women – but not to the male readers of AoM! I’m an old school woman and try to follow similar dress guidelines; basically, dress code for church as much as reasonably possible in the Arizona heat. That means shoulders, cleavage, and knees are always covered. Always. Thanks for the post!

144 T June 8, 2012 at 2:50 am

Ignore the Ignorant Comments. This is great. Thanks.

145 Toby June 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Hey guys, I have a pair of pleated Brooks Brothers linen shorts that Im hesitant to wear due to the pleats. Should I be?

146 nic wahl June 9, 2012 at 5:14 am

lol at kenneth payne

yeah they do

147 nic wahl June 9, 2012 at 5:16 am

the antishorts dorks in this thread probably just look like crap in their crappy shorts. shorts are great

148 Brad June 9, 2012 at 9:59 am

Shorts are OK for the gym, a picnic, mowing the lawn etc I never wear them when doing business or other errands that demand I look somewhat presentable. How you dress determines the level of service you get.

149 Mike June 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm

So you’re not manly if you wear shorts? I don’t understand what the hell shorts have to do with manliness. If you want to wear shorts, wear them. If you don’t like shorts, that’s fine too, but don’t look down on those that do.

150 David June 11, 2012 at 11:33 am

I have lived and worked in the deepest parts of Texas and I have never (since the end of Elementary School) worn shorts. They just aren’t practical enough to wear. If you wear shorts on a hot day working out in the field, you’re going to get bug bites in places where you don’t want them, and you are going to cut up your legs. The only place shorts belong are while you are swimming. Looking like a schoolboy is not manly at all.

151 Brad Columba June 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Excellent article. I think you should do one on kilts next.

152 rambopandabear June 12, 2012 at 12:15 am

@Kaine Well pilgrim, looks like you’re gonna need to change clothes. The Duke f*cking loved shorts. http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lop6l0owmw1qdwl9jo1_1280.jpg

153 fuuuhhhhh June 12, 2012 at 3:36 am

this guide should be prefaced first by stating it is a ‘how to wear shorts guide for old white dudes’

i’m from california. shorts are here year round. theres no nasty insect infestations like in third world countries (or texas).. we have fantastic weather and yes it is ok to wear shorts outside. wtf
secondly, cargo shorts look better with certain clothing than others. and basketball shorts haven’t been high and tight since stockton wore them. every guy in his 20′s that you will see on a basketball court will not be showing any knee or thigh. knees WILL be covered.
as a rule of thumb most guys in their 20′s do not wear shorts that show thigh or knee. on account of it looking lame and reminiscent of something isiah thomas wore in 1985.

i digress tho, and i suppose i should realize that this site is probably geared towards men in their 50′s with liver spotted hands who wear sweaters over their shoulders. lmao @ 2-3 inches above the knee. i might as well give up vagina forever if i ever walk out of my house wearing small ass shorts

154 fuuuhhhhh June 12, 2012 at 3:38 am

LMAOOOO @ that picture of john wayne. he’s showing the biggest camel toe i’ve ever seen. there isn’t a snake in those trowsers theres a clam in them

AND he’s wearing the same ‘espadrille’ lookin TOM’s shoes bullshit i see girls wearing all the time.

someone please tell me how ‘manly’ his outfit is, i need a good laugh. he’s dressed like a venice beach hooker

155 Steve June 13, 2012 at 11:17 am

I rarely wear shorts, even in the summer. I am still somewhat of the “shorts are for boys” mindset; also, I seem to like hot, humid weather more than most people I know, so it does not bother me to sit outside in 90/90 weather in jeans. I did wear shorts for taking a short hike in the Smokies a couple of weeks ago as they seemed more appropriate than the long jeans the really old guys (like my 85-year-old dad) were wearing on the trail. But for the most part, nah, not for me. And all those young (and not-so-young) guys in their cargo pants filling up the tables in the coffee shops just look like they’re trying too hard to fit in and be “cool” (and I don’t mean in a temperature way).

156 Atticus June 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Have to agree with many of the opinions here. Judge the man, not the clothes. I proudly wear board shorts all year around and don’t give a damn what others think of me. That’s their problem, not mine….

157 Bill Altreuter June 13, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I’d say that as a rule shorts should not be worn outside one’s own backyard after seven PM.

158 Nataraj June 13, 2012 at 11:38 pm

I wear shorts. I wear BOOTY shorts to teach pole dancing to young women. My wife of 25 years thinks it’s hilarious, and knows I am one hot 50-year old. Oh, and I wear a kilt too. You old, scared dudes who are afraid of your legs, or only wear culottes (and yes, I mean culottes) are not manly. You’re ‘fraidy cats.

159 Revo June 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm

@Kennith Payne
There’s a point in which style can become stupidity. Wearing Pants in a super humid place with the temperature around 95-102 degrees is one of those things. Wearing Pants in a sandy beach is the same. So yes, theres a good reason to wear shorts if your a grown man.
(Its also good to wear them in a 3rd world country like central america btw. Not only does it help prevent you from getting mugged, it – well, just go for yourself wearing pants all the time in El Salvador and you’ll see what I mean).
@John Benton
Exactly

Not only that, but shorts are great at home. However, in public, with airconditioning existing nowadays almost everywhere, it should be pants.

160 Jack June 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm

The picture someone posted of Teddy Roosevelt was not of him wearing shorts but rather him wearing knickerbockers. I made myself a pair of knickerbockers and I wear them regularly. They are what true adventurers wear…..

161 Youngster June 15, 2012 at 4:33 am

I like shorts! They’re comfy and easy to wear!

162 Danny June 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

Many of the negative comments seem to miss the title of the article: “A Man’s GUIDE to Wearing Shorts.” Guides are understood to not be completely authoritative, but are primarily employed for advice in unfamiliar territory. The primary purpose of the article is to assist those who are unfamiliar with navigating the shorts region of “Fashionland.”

163 Jack June 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Hey Guys,

Anyone know where the model got the short sleeved dress shirt?

164 BD June 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

@Kaine June 3, 2012 at 10:27 am
“Shorts are for swimming. That is all. Any decision like this can be made easily using the code that i have gone by my entire life. What-would-John-Wayne-do? Would “The Duke” wear short-pants? End of discussion.”

Check this Kaine…the Duke in shorts! (verry short shorts)

http://totalfratmove.com/628084

165 Steele June 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I remember when I first arrived in New Zealand, at eighteen years old, sitting shoulder to shoulder, in the back of a small car, with a big hairy fellow wearing who was wearing short shorts. I couldn’t believe what he was wearing; any shorter and his balls would have been hanging out. After living here for seven years I think that shorts which go below the knee look ridiculous ninety percent of the time. I know a lot of women who like to see some strong legs too.
I forgot how staunchly world views can become intrenched in a person.

166 Iwi June 19, 2012 at 8:26 am

“Socks and sandals is an appropriate pairing for old German men on vacation and no one else” -> looks like a modern advice based on modern tastes, which is awkward since you want to “revive the art of lost manliness”. You have to understand that what is “cool” and “acceptable” changes over time, at least in a society based on consumerism. In today’s society, we aim at looking more and more “cool”. Which is why long socks, like in the old pictures in this article, are no longer used by most people. Because they’re uncool. Manliness shouldn’t be about being cool.

167 Justin June 20, 2012 at 12:09 am

This is the first AOM article I have read that I wholeheartedly disagree with. Sure, advising men not to wear shorts to weddings and funerals is a good point, but also obvious. You don’t need to go to AOM to learn that. T-shirts and shorts not being flattering is absurd. The reason you wear both is to be casual and comfortable. Hey, maybe I should just wear a 3 piece suit to the amusment park with my daughter in July because it’s classier. It’s the 21st century and casual is the word. Why don’t you better describe what tops and bottoms go well together (color schemes, patterns, and material) and leave the style of shirt and number of pockets to the man adorning them.

168 Justin June 20, 2012 at 12:11 am

P.S. How old is the author of this article? Grown men may not have worn shorts in 1925, but last I checked, grown men have been not only wearing but looking classy in shorts for no less than 40 years.

169 Brucifer June 20, 2012 at 10:55 pm

As with most of this sort of discussion, it comes down to two things.

One, whatever one chooses to wear, formal or casual, shorts or slacks, should be clean, well-kept, coordinated and worn well.

Two, sometimes comfort must be *gasp* sacrificed for style and appropriateness. How “manly” is it pray you, for a 6ft 200lb grown man to act like he is being utterly strangled by a mere neck tie? Big Baby!

Too many in our current uber-informal society choose to think it manly to be slobs … in whatever they wear.

I would also submit that slovenly dress often leads to … slovenly manners.

170 The Murk June 22, 2012 at 3:02 am

Not just Californians can break these rules. I reckon Hawaiians too!!

171 Aaron T. June 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Wow I must say I am surprised by how many negative comments are here on the AoM. It seems like the most judgmental crowd are the ones attacking the article, not the ones advocating appropriate dress. I was really taken back by the comment by Brendan I which assumed you were privileged if you had to wear a suit to work. I used to wear a suit when I worked in an office and now I wear shorts doing labor work at an appliance store. Let me tell you buddy I was much less “privileged” then when I worked in an office. I wore a suit, not because I thought I was better than anyone, but rather because it was appropriate. So don’t judge a book by its cover. And no this article is not just for old men. I’m 24.

172 Lewis June 27, 2012 at 7:51 am

Thanks for the article. Shorts in the shouth are very “over worn” I think they are okay in the appropriate setting granted that they are fitted well. Those baggy pocketed shorts are just TACKY period. Appropriate dress is something that one must learn and follow

173 Ewan June 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Real men don’t wear shorts. Unless shorts are a practical necessity–and I mean necessity, not convenience–then it is ungentlemanly to wear clothing in public which exposes any flesh other than wrists, hands, neck, and face, and maybe a small portion of upper arm in extremely casual circumstances. This is a basic fact in most civilized countries where European languages are the most commonly spoken. The only exceptions are appropriate games settings such as football or tennis, or the beach; if wearing shorts on the beach, change into trousers before going back to the promenade.

Not only that, but shorts are really not practical: hot weather brings sunshine, and sunshine brings sunburn. I would not want sunburn on my legs, which have happily not been exposed to the sun in more than twenty years.

174 frizzlefrap September 19, 2012 at 12:15 am

shorts are wayyyyy too long nowadays. need to be shorter to be cooler and look better. i’m not very tall and long cargo’s look like crap on me.

175 Jem September 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I wear short,shorts, can’t find any in men dept. I buy them in the women dept. from 4 to6 inch ,also run a auto. shop 5 days a week. They are cooler than long pants,but for the last 3 to 4 years I started wearing above the knee , Cargo SKIRTS, ( or SKORTS most of the time ) I think ( as lot of women ) they look better than shorts or pants and are the most comfortable of any thing the Male can wear.

176 Daniel Sebold October 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm

I am tired of sexism against men’s thighs. Who do the writers of this article think they are trying to dictate to men how long their shorts should be, and who do women think they are complaining about discrimination and sexism and then turning around and telling men that they can’t wear women’s style short shorts, then harass men on the streets when they do liberate themselves from their long shorts? There is no freedom for men in America. That’s why so many of us have remained single. Why be a sexless slave to sexist feminism?

177 Jayzer October 9, 2012 at 7:31 am

There are several reasons why men in America nowadays are ‘banned’ from exposing their thighs. Firstly, American men have fallen victim to radical feminism’s hatred for everything male. I remember when in law school we were discussing a case where a girl went up to a room with a guy and claimed she was raped. I said that because she went hand in hand with him, it seemed like consent, and the other students were shocked that I’d say anything so politically incorrect–some lawyers they’d be! Then you get the situation where women demand rights, but still expect men to pay for engagement rings and dates, which is ridiculous. And boys are routinely given the short end of the stick in schools. American men need to claim their freedoms and equality, and wearing short shorts can be a symbol of that movement. If you go to Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, you’ll see that men in short shorts is perfectly normal–young men included–so there’s no reason it shouldn’t be normal in America.

178 Jordan October 14, 2012 at 7:22 am

Hey @DanielSebold, I can’t help but notice that it’s 99% men making the comments here telling you it’s ‘unmanly’ to wear shorts, or shorts above a certain length. That’s hardly feminism-induced sexism, but man-on-man hate. As a woman, I can reassure you that I’d love to see more of your shapely man thighs

179 Cameron October 15, 2012 at 5:20 am

it is the mark of a grown man in NZ to wear what are affectionately called “stubbies”. A pair of shorts that end high up the leg, with a pocket barely big enough for your car keys. Usually teamed with jandals (flip-flops)

Perfect in almost all situations.

180 Greg October 16, 2012 at 5:17 am

Not a fan of short shorts but each to their own I say!

G

181 Jen October 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I think that shorts are necessary given different weather conditions. I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that they should NOT be worn to business functions or any other formal occasion, however I think the blanket statement that shorts are NEVER ok is not realistic. There are times when you simply cannot wear pants!

182 Eugene November 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Thanks for a great article. I am from South Africa, and with our high temperatures we have a lot of short wearing guys. I procure vegetables for a retail company, and most of the men I deal with are farmers who wear shorts.
I see you refer to jackets and ties with shorts in South Africa; I have to corrct you there. This is only seen in the high fashion conscious men; regular people would laugh their heads off to see such a pairing.
I do not wear shorts to work for two reasons. First one is that proper pants looks so much better and you receive more respect than if you would arrive in a short. Secondly, I do not have the calves to pull it off!,

183 Jake November 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm

When I first moved to Germany I stood out quite a bit with my Cali style dress code. Overtime I grew to love European fashion, and the only time I’d be caught in shorts was hiking a trail on my way to a Biergarten. Five years later my job brought me to New Orleans, and holy heck was the place hot. I completely had to ditch my Euro fashion, it just didn’t work in 100 degree with with drenching humidity.

184 Andrew November 25, 2012 at 9:34 am

smartness is the key.

Guys walking round town in tacky sports shorts and flip flops or sandals with or without mens short socks look horrible. However smart shorts a couple of inches above the knee and proper wool or similar kneesocks look perfectly smart to me.

It covers most of the legs but leaves the freedom of movement around the knees.

It is just the fact that not many men do that that makes it unusual and a talking point.

I am from the uk and dress like that and dont care what anyone thinks

185 Troy November 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I hate pants. Period. I feel claustrophobic when I have pants on. They are constraining and uncomfortable. I wear shorts most of the year, all summer and as much as I can tolerate in the winter (it gets to -40 here in Canada). When its too cold, I wear long-johns under my shorts. And hey, I’m 43 years old. Whoever said “grown men don’t wear shorts” is obviously just a rat in the race, too concerned about conforming to break out of the shell and say f*ck it, I wear what I want, when I want, who cares what other people think!

186 Datajockeys November 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I agree, shorts are not the most manly of garments. If you need to keep cool, and be a real man in the process, GET A KILT!
http://www.utilikilts.com/

187 Hmmm... November 30, 2012 at 6:55 pm

I would make an addendum that it is never NEVER acceptable, if you are a man, to wear shorts on stage. Performing music, that is.

Exception: drummers, because there is an accepted level of douchebaggery when you are a drummer. Also, no one will see your legs behind the bass drum(s).

188 Barry December 2, 2012 at 3:01 am

This is so ridiculous, reading all these negative comments about wearing shorts. I mean to each his own, but i love wearing shorts, and only wear pants at work because i have to.
I can understand people with skinny, pale, or just plain ugly legs might wear pants to cover up, but to criticize people for wearing them, regardless of size (though mid-thigh is a bit too short for a man) is just stupid. Do you, and dont worry about what others find comfortable/appropriate. Id wear shorts to a fine dining restaurant, and not give a f what others think.

189 Palifox December 6, 2012 at 5:49 am

I spent most of my life in tropical Australia and shorts are normal day wear, so are sandals. As for your fifth picture, the ones on the left are just about right, the other two are tooooo loooong and to me look untidy and one of the more lamentable current fashions, a revival of the ghastly “Bombay bloomers” worn once by the British in India. They may as well wear backward baseball caps as well, or pith helmets..

When I was 22 I knew a German bloke name of Rudi, he was some years older than I and had done a fair bit of travelling. His brother lived in Cincinatti, having got a green card and a job in the USA. So when Rudi first left Germany he stayed with his brother for some time. It was July, hot so they decided they would walk to local pool, or maybe it was the Ohio River, I forget. In shorts. They had walked about three blocks when they were stopped by police and told they were indecently dressed. In Germany & in Australia nobody would have noticed.

Rudi said that incident and a couple of others made him decide the USA was not for him and kept moving.

Oddly enough, a character from New Orleans told me a similar story a few years later.

190 Perry December 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Cut off jeans are my favorite, as long as they are long enough that the pockets don’t hang out of the pant legs. In the 60′s and 70′s, everyone but the old duffers wore short shorts- the duffers wore bermudas and were laughed at accordingly. The reason for shorts is to beat the heat- long, baggy shorts aren’t much cooler than long pants and are only good for fashion slaves, or those who don’t mind the heat.

191 J. Crusoe December 24, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Embrace the shorts, be not ashamed of showing one’s manly legs. While shorts certainly aren’t John Wayne masculine, wearing shorts with the right attitude and good taste conveys self-confidence and pride in one’s body. Consider these men (in rather short shorts), who I say look quite manly:

James Dean: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7209/6775627938_b28bb714f3_b.jpg

Elvis Presley: http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2012-01/83638020-27154630.jpg

An earlier comment suggested that the distaste for shorts arises basically from modesty and I agree. Are mens’ thighs a particularly sexualized body part and I’ve just been ignorant to it? Exercise good taste but don’t be such prudes.

Try shorts that are short. Don’t be afraid! http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/BathingMachineDontBeAfraid.jpg

192 Phil January 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I don’t know how you think fraternity men dress but It’s not like a slob like you’re implying. We try to dress properly for all occasions. Despite the bad press not all of us are mindless drunks. Most care about our appearance.

193 Thodboddy February 4, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Shorts to or at the knee? O’rly? Upon reading this entry, one is truly drawn to wondering if it was not in fact written by the local imam to reinforce sharia law-derived codes of proper Islamic modesty. The attempts at inducing bodily shame by the writer and some respondents alike are beyond shockingly Victorian. What a truly useless column this entry was. One supposes that the next bit of advice will be woolen turtleneck sweaters with long sleeves for tennis, golf and pick-up basketball matches. Or perhaps the necessity to don spats when contemplating picking up a latte at Starbucks.

Last time I checked it was the 21st century and among the greatest evils of that particular time period was the mass tendency toward obesity (the most reliable, surefire style-killer of all!) and the short, sedentary life. Long pants, and indeed shorts designed to promote the minimum amount of bare skin on display do nothing whatsoever to assist in solving that particular problem.

Wearing shorts is indeed a field laid chock full o’ landmines for those with burdened with skinny, pale hairless bird-legs which they have done nothing to try to ameliorate, and/or pear-ish torsos (ditto with the lack of exercise thing), but it indeed more a problem of heart-stopping fear for those insecure baby-men who are irrationally terrified of being objectified by women (or by gay or bi men for that matter) for their appearance. To those men I say “Boo-hoo dude! We are in a visual world. Women and men alike are checking you out and judging you anyway. Rather than be instantly and forevermore dismissed as an hopeless(ly unsexy) prospect, why not give them some decent eye candy?” If you doubt me, take another gander at the above posted link to the spectacular picture of the late James Dean, lovingly washing the instrument of his eventual demise. There is a reason persons of both genders still swoon over Mr. Dean you know, and you are looking at it in that photo.

For those of us who, like me, are indeed fortunate to have been endowed by nature with proportioned physiques that come complete with sturdy, furry, tanned, soccer-playing tree-trunk thighs and don’t-mess-with-me calves (not unlike Mr. Dean’s I am humbled/tickled to admit!), shorts wherever and whenever weather and occasion permit (and yes, I do drop into the grocery store thus clad) are the rule. Preferably tarty, shorty-short hiking shorts with 4″-6″ inseams.

But beware: in addition to having naturally good pins or even those created by dint of effort at the gym or through sport, pulling off such a get-up also includes serious, sneakers (a.k.a. “runners” or “trainers” – depending upon the local vernacular) or hiking shoes and the kind of socks rarely spotted in the field on American men – pristinely white athletic socks rising approximately 2″ taller than the useless ankle-height tennis socks that barely peep from the shoe most commonly seen, and signifying ASPSF (American Sock Proportion Sense Fail).

The same advice applies to men from other countries inclined to wear socks of any other hue than white and any other height that reaches more or less than 2″ above the ankle.

Exception: real hiking boots and thick, wooly, tall socks, shrugged down to lower calf level.

Most importantly, shorts should be scrupulously clean, unfrayed (unless they are cut-off 501s, in which case let those tantalizing bits of loose thread prevail!), pressed if so styled, and paired with an appropriate top – and with a body that looks as if its occupant dead lifts more than the TV clicker and runs further than to the fridge door.

And never, never, never, EVER wear flip-flops. In fact, don’t even OWN any, unless you are the sort of man whose flawless appearance is supplemented by regular and frequent professional pedicures due to your professional modelling/acting career. Sandal lover? closed toed sandals only please.

I live an active, athletic lifestyle in a climate with short, hot, humid summers and long, if not spectacularly cold winters. Other than for work and dress occasions, I am out and about in shorts and assorted sporty gear anytime it is warmer than -5C outside, if for no other reason than to taunt those unfortunates bundled up by shame or religious dictate (or both) in niqabs, abayas, burkas, knee-length shorts, and other semi-mobile, sartorial gaols.

194 RON February 18, 2013 at 10:02 am

I wear shorts most of the year, I live in the country where I often hike, boat and fish and also work out on a regular basis, in the summer I work outdoors most of the time. All of the shorts I wear are high above the knee as I do not want the silly farmers tan and short shorts are very practical when climbing ladders and scrambling around roofs. My favourite shorts are probably my old beaten up rugby shorts which I like to chill in and potter around the garden in, also a bit of nostalga there reminding me of younger rugby soccer playing days. The result is I have tanned and toned legs all year round which my wife loves and I often get compliments from other ladies too even some guys, I am 60+ so I must be doing something right, I also wear speedos at the beach.

195 Lamont Cranston April 4, 2013 at 10:03 am

A gentleman only wears shorts on the sporting field. (The deck of a boat is included in the definition of a “sporting field.”)

Otherwise, they are for boys.

196 Robb May 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm

It might be “manly”, but it’s still pretty stupid not to care about how other people perceive you. When middle-aged men shuffle into the restaurant where I work dressed in shorts and flip-flops, I don’t see “manliness”, I only see slobbiness. Someone who doesn’t care about how he’s dressed usually also won’t care about how he behaves, or whether or not the waiter gets a good tip. Bottom line: dress like a you give a crap.

197 Pat H May 21, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Oh shorts. . . around here, men from here, just don’t. Too much sun, and it just isn’t done.

As an aside, during World War One the Australian army found that wearing shorts contributed to sometimes fatal leg infections for mounted men. Sweaty horses, sweaty men, flies, etc.

198 Khalfani May 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm

The Nike Tempo track shorts we see women wearing a lot are the same type of shorts I wore in high school for P.E., track, cross country, and basketball. I wear them to run in and they are comfortable. I might get some strange looks, but the women like it. Yes, I get them form the women’s section of the athletic stores.

199 David May 31, 2013 at 11:03 pm

I still like to wear jean shorts or “jorts”…in fact, I dont give a flying piss who says jorts are played out…to each its own. If it looks good on me, why not rock it?? end of story.

200 Bruce June 6, 2013 at 6:50 am

Being an Australian, as a kid I was always perplexed while watching the Brady Bunch why Greg, Peter and Bobby (and the dad for that matter) NEVER wore shorts, when out here EVERYONE did, and always did for as long as I can remember (I was born in ’61). Even watching movies set in hotter parts of your country I would wonder why the hell weren’t you guys wearing shorts on sweltering hot days! I must admit on more American TV shows these days shorts are getting more popular (Charlie on 2 and a Half Men). Most of our school uniforms (yes nearly all our government and private schools have uniforms) mostly feature dress shorts. Where I live on the Queensland coast (climate similar to Florida) shorts are everywhere.
BTW that photo of our soldiers is from WW2.
Cheers Mate!

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