NAVIGATE YOUR WAY THROUGH THE SUMMER LEGWEAR LANDSCAPE
Written by Paddy Maddison
29th May 2017 / Complete Guide to Shorts for Summer 2017
I think I speak for most British men here when I say that there are few pleasures in life finer and rarer than feeling a warm summer breeze rustling the hairs on our pasty, pale legs. It truly is a marvellous thing. Unfortunately, we’re lucky if we get to experience it for more than a month or two each year. The thing is, because the window of opportunity for busting the shorts out is so slim, summer legwear ends up being one of the most commonly overlooked elements of our wardrobes. A shame, really, when you consider how easily it can make or break your summer outfit. Far too many guys will just reach for the closest thing to hand when the sun comes out, whether it be gym shorts, board shorts, or even just cutting some old jeans off below the knee – all of which are best avoided.
To help you navigate your way through the summer legwear landscape we’ve rounded up some key styles for summer 2017 and asked our friends at men’s personal shopping website Thread for some styling tips.
Athleisure is still riding a wave of popularity that shows no sign of ever breaking. To be honest, that’s fine by us and one of our favourite things to come out of the trend has been the rise of fitted jogging bottoms. Jersey shorts are a great way to adapt this look for the warmer months, not to mention how comfortable and versatile they are.
“These aren’t just for lounging about in the house,” says Shauine Brett, Style Director at Thread.com. “In fact, you’ll want to wear them all weekend. Look for something between knee and mid-thigh in length and avoid anything too tight, which will be unflattering as well as uncomfortable!”
Smart enough to wear out for an evening meal on holiday, but casual enough to stagger around a beer garden in on a blazing weekend afternoon. The chino short is a timeless summer favourite and endlessly versatile.
“Neutral-coloured chino shorts are bound to be your go-to summer shorts because of their in-between level of smartness”, Shaunie tells us. “Wear them with literally any casual clothes: T-shirts, polos, chambray or Oxford shirts, sweatshirts, bright colours, neutral colours… plus casual shoes ranging from trainers to desert shoes.”
If you want to make yours look relevant for 2017 try going for pastel colours; yellow, in particular, is big news this season.
While jeans are super simple to get right, jean shorts are quite the opposite and to be honest, for a lot of men, they’re better off avoided entirely. However, if you think that your legs are up to the job then feel free to get involved, because when done right, denim shorts can look great!
“These fulfil the same purpose as neutral chino shorts,” says Shaunie, “so you can wear them with the same types of clothes — but they have one major drawback; they’re hot and restrictive.”
Denim shorts should be slim fitting and break just above the knee. Any longer and you risk coming off like a 00s teenager, any shorter and you’re the builder out of Village People. Neither of which are exactly style Nirvana.
Technical sports shorts
If you’re the kind of guy who spends ninety-percent of his summer on a football pitch or basketball court, then smarter shorts are off limits. Luckily you’ve got a lot of options in terms of good-looking, functional summer legwear. Whilst they may not be much use for a fancy evening meal, sporty shorts are perfect for just about any other activity you can imagine. You’ll be hard pushed to find anything else more comfy and breathable.
Look for lightweight, stretchy fabrics and feel free to go a little shorter than with other styles. Team them up with a crew neck T-shirt and some knitted trainers and you’re all set.
Smart swim shorts
Popularised by swimwear label Orlebar Brown, smart swim shorts are on the rise. And for good reason. They’re comfortable, practical, easy to wear and versatile. When going for this style, avoid anything with drawstrings or higher than mid-thigh. That’s all well and good for swimming, but the aim here is to be able to pull them off away from the pool too.
“The last thing you want to think about on holiday is what to wear,” Shaunie tells us, “which is why these are great. They look equally appropriate at the beach and out to dinner, so they make packing and dressing for holidays easier.”
When the chino shorts just won’t cut it you can always reach for their smarter older brother. Perfect for a meal out on a hot day or evening drinks at an upmarket bar on holiday.
“Look for the same things you’d look for in tailored trousers”, says Shaunie, “A zip fly with a flap closure, thin belt loops and a sharp crease or pleat down the front of the leg. These shorts look great with shirts and lace-ups or minimal trainers. You could probably go so far as to wear tailored shorts with brogues and a blazer, but that’s quite daring.”
Whatever side of the fence you’re on when it comes to the prickly subject of cargo shorts, there’s no denying that they’re becoming more and more popular. Unfortunately, they’re notoriously tricky to wear, with only a very fine margin for error between ‘embarrassing dad’ and ‘style god’.
When buying, look for something with unobtrusive pockets and a good length; anywhere on or past the knee is your danger zone. Ideally aim for something that sits a few inches above. Team them up with a Breton top, bucket hat and white leather trainers and you’ll have it nailed.