July 14, 2007

Approving of men's shorts.

Not me. You know what I think. But here's some expert opinion, approving, but setting stern limits:
I am so tired of the enormous, giant, and baggy cargo shorts from seemingly every American mall brand...

I'm still trying to find a shorter short that seems right for me.
Check the pictures. Do you look like these guys? They're all slim and tan. But the second picture? The one in the Converse sneakers? That exemplifies the biggest problem with a man in shorts: He looks like a large child. And not in cute, boyish way. In a "I'm standing around waiting for my mommy" way.

30 comments:

Jennifer said...

I think the third guy looks like a dork. But, part of his problem is the monochromatic thing which never really works for guys. Especially not in white.

The second guy doesn't look like a large child to me, but he does look young.

I think if the fourth guy did up one more button, he'd look the best of all of them.

But, then, I don't have a problem with shorts on men or even with the ubiquitous baggy cargo shorts.

Dave F said...

I don't know where the sartorialist lives, but if it's Manhattan, as I suspect from some of the other pix on his blog, there are all manner of stores that sell men's shorts that are not baggy.

A clue to the statistically illiterate: shop in stores located in zip codes for which the per capita income exceeds the average per capita income in Manhattan. Generally speaking there is an inverse relationship between wealth and ill-fitting clothes (that is to say: as people's income rises they shed the gangsta image.)

Ergo, shop below 125th St.

Problem solved.

ricpic said...

Bjorn Borg looked fantastic in tennis shorts. But then, the guy was an adonis.

Cargo shorts with their bulging pockets right at knee level are just wrong. They make the wearer look like a bowlegged drunken sailor listing first to one side, then the other, as he walks down the street.

rhhardin said...

These are perfect here , here and here .

The cargo shorts are okay (keeps the keys from wearing out the pocket if there's another pocket behind it) so long as the inseam is 5", so they don't chafe on sweaty legs when bike commuting.

Nobody cares what the gals think, contra the article.

al said...

As one who wears shorts from April to October I tend to wear styles like the first and last pictures. The other two are for people much younger than me.

As for cargo's I'm not a huge fan unless I'm going somewhere that has bag checks (and the long lines that go along with them) for entrance. Rather than a camera bag I'll use the cargo pockets for spare batteries, memory cards, etc and skip the lines.

vnjagvet said...

As an older man (over 65) with five twenty-thirty something daughters who keep me supplied in casual clothes, I wear what they give me because their take on contemporary fashion is much better than mine. Cargo shorts are a big part of that wardrobe now. In Atlanta, you would be a fool to wear long trou when you do not have to do so.

I pick and buy all of my "business casual" clothes and have no shorts in that collection.

For "party casual" I have mostly slacks, but some tailored bermuda shorts wear polo shirts, short sleeved casual dress shirts and the like with them.

One type does not fit all.

Michael Reynolds said...

Shorts are bad enough - capri pants now in view on every European street, are worse. A man who would wear capri pants is a man who needs tuning up.

J said...

It's interesting that you identify The Sartorialist as an "expert", then post criticism (that I agree with completely) of his choices.

The only shorts in the post that look decent are those in the last photo, though the Tom Jones look with the shirt is ridiculous. And what's with the manacles and the dixie cup?

I'll second rhhardin that nobody cares what the gals think, and those of us who did care would start with a different car, not clothes.

Ron said...

I agree with your view of that picture, but then don't women wear clothing that could be interpreted as infantalizing? (sp) Or is this OK?

SMGalbraith said...

Well, Ann, one alternative could be this.

Perhaps now your opinion of shorts for men goes up a few points?

Few hundred points.

Oy.

I agree though: If you're over, say 30, and not mowing the lawn, grilling food, washing the car or shooting hoops, no shorts.

Period.

TMink said...

Does a full grown man give a damn what people think about him in his shorts? Despite the profanity, I am not being snarky. It is a legit question. I have such a horrible fashion sense (it comes from being dressed as little lord fauntleroy as a child) that I do not trust my own instincts. But I wonder, Ann, if your fashion hopes for men are wasted like a woman's romantic love for a gay man. It may burn strong, but it will remain unrequeited.

Trey

Jeff said...

I live in Florida. If I don't have to be in slacks, I'm not going to wear slacks. It's too darn hot. I wear shorts pretty much year round. If I lived up north, I would probably wear shorts a lot less.

I wear the above the knee to mid-thigh shorts. I check with my wife for style, as she cares about that far more than I do.

Mike said...

"I am so tired of the enormous, giant, and baggy cargo shorts from seemingly every American mall brand..."

Amen. And living in Madison, I can't shop below 125th St. (Ann, could you pick me up some shorts next semester?)

My take on capri pants: You couldn't afford to spring for the last few inches?

I agree with Trey. Within wide margins, I don't give a damn what other people think about shorts. If it's hot, I'm wearin' em. One limit is respect, of course. You don't wear shorts to a funeral, for example.

John Burgess said...

I, too, live in Florida. Shorts are about the only thing I wear while at home or goofing around the immediate neighborhood. I'll wear them at the beach or out fishing, particularly if I'm wading.

If I go downtown, out to a restaurant, to a film, to a business meeting, long trousers is what I wear.

Back in my hippy days, shorts were de rigeur for the traveling backpacker, short-shorts at that. I would have loved cargo shorts had they been available.

Hey said...

Tailored knee shorts are fine, and board shorts. Even in the city if you are simply doing casual things - hanging out in a park, coffee on a patio in your neighbourhood, getting groceries.

Any sort of formality requires pants. Think of yacht club rules - on the grounds, at the pool, playing tennis, or in the bar shorts are fine. For lawn bawling or formal dining pants are required.

Kev said...

"Does a full grown man give a damn what people think about him in his shorts?"

This one doesn't. As I said in the previous discussion on this subject, it's really a regional thing; what people wear here in Texas is likely to vary a great deal from what's worn in Wisconsin.

And there's nothing infantilizing about being comfortable in informal activities.

As for the length issue, I won't wear anything above the knee, because it makes me look 1) really old, 2) less than mascuiline, and 3) stuck in the '80s--none of which is my desired effect.

MarkW said...

Does a full grown man give a damn what people think about him in his shorts?

Nope, not this one. Cargo shorts are excellent because of the side pockets -- a much more comfortable place to carry a wallet and phone (or mp3 player or camera or whatever) than back or front pockets. And, horrors, I've got a couple of pairs of cargo pants, too, for just the same reason.

Would I wear consider wearing shorter, tighter shorts to be more fashionable? Heh -- uh, no, not even for a minute.

Mike said...

Well, there you go, Ann. Your attempt to oppress and subjugate men through clothing isn't working.

Men of the world, Unite!

blake said...

Jeez, now I'm starting to feel bad that I don't own even a single pair of shorts!

Have I been oppressed all this time without knowing it?

Justin said...

I have to agree with all the guys from the south. When it's 90°F plus from March to October, pants should only worn when necessary. Until someone invents air conditioned pants, it's all shorts, all the time.

blake said...

I'm in L.A. and the thing about shorts is that they don't protect your legs when you get into a car that's been sitting in the sun all day.

Just for instance.

Ann Althouse said...

"pants should only worn when necessary"

That says it all. Apparently, the south is a big nudist camp. I admit to my Northernerosity.

Chip Ahoy said...

None of the men in shorts looked as bad as the two men in high-water long pants, pictures named grnDB and asianamerican3.

Galvanized said...

I guess there's something wrong with my sense of fashion, but I LOVE the look. Maybe it's a generational thing. I recently bought my hubby (who has a great physique) two pairs (khaki and camo green) of the big cargo shorts, and he looks superb in them when he pairs them with his sandals and even in tennis shoes with a polo shirt. I like for men to have a not-so-fitted look in casual wear. You don't have to look like a pencil if you're a guy -- and there's something about them looking comfortable and even a little neglectful of their appearance that I like about the everyday male. The ones that I am wary about are the ones who pay a little too MUCH attention to their silhouette and especially the ones who like their shorts...well, short, as in anywhere mid-thigh or shorter. eek! But, honestly, why should men be relegated to only long pants unless they are playing a sport? That's like putting a woman in a skirt all of the time. And I think that functionality should govern the style of clothing. Isn't this what women have finally freed themselves from? We get more liberated, and the men are now becoming more fashion-conscious. Maybe it's just a turning of the tables. Just some observations. ;)

Galvanized said...

Plus, just try living down in the humid, hot South in July/August and wearing only long pants. It's like a death sentence. Ughhhh

amy said...

yes, those of us working in the high rise offices down South pretty much stop going out to lunch during June, July and August. Luckily there's a cafe in the building. We have on our suits and coming back at 1:00 soaked in sweat is uncomfortable and unnattractive. Not that we could wear shorts anyway. :)

Nataraj said...

Poor Ann, locked into her tiny view of what's acceptable casual wear for men, and in a college town at that. I am a shorts wearer. I hate cargo shorts because they make my fine physique look lardish. I wear a UtiliKilt routinely. 'Nuff said.

Ann, ponder your sentiments in a different flavor: Women should only wear skirts, and only if they fall to the knee or lower. No exceptions.

Who made you queen?

Galvanized said...

Aw, everyone can have their opinions. Sometimes things just strike you as fashionably offensive...kind of like the seersucker suits we were talking about a couple of weeks ago. Probably as cool as shorts, but...ugh. For me, being a kind of Generation X-er, I think it would be the Sans-a-belt (sp?) pants, as well as the word "slacks." LOL My parents were born in the thirties, and I think that my dad is a generation that keeps away from shorts for men because it is reminiscent of knickers, which distinguished the men from the boys. It might be a generational thing.

Kenny said...

Just be yourself and influence the world in your style!You can do it!Euro Tailors

cabanasubmit brosyan said...


A gentleman only wears shorts on the sporting field

Men's short shorts