Men's Wardrobe Basics:
How to Style Shorts

Men running on Beach in shorts
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Summer is here and you’re probably looking for some fresh ideas on styling your shorts. If you’re like me, you want things to be comfortable without sacrificing style. Today, we’ll cover the basics of how to style shorts, including how to find a good fit and what kind of materials work best with certain styles so that when you are looking for something to wear, you know exactly what outfits look great while staying comfortable!

Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as you think, and lucky for you, we’re here to help you avoid the inevitable mistakes that come with trial and error.

Inseam length

The inseam is measured from the crotch along the inner side of leg down to the leg opening. Inseam length should be the first thing you consider when shopping for shorts. It may seem like an obvious choice, but the inseam is a crucial element of your style that can make or break your outfit. Although it will vary from person to person depending on your height and how long your legs are, a good rule of thumb is to choose an inseam that falls an inch or two above your knee.

How To Style Mens Shorts - Inseam Length

5 Inch  This is the most breathable and most suitable for beach days or outdoor summer events where you’re likely to be moving around.

7 Inch This is the most versatile length and often the most recommended among men. They are long enough to fit every occasion but short enough to leave you comfortable on the hottest of days.

9 Inch – This is the absolute max length for shorts and should only be worn by taller men; otherwise, cross these off your list!

Chino Shorts

Chino shorts are the most versatile fabric of all men’s shorts, and they’re great for any occasion. Traditionally made from 100% twill cotton, chino shorts today are typically made with a more breathable cotton blend. This means that they can be dressed up or down depending on what you pair them with. If you’d like to wear chinos for an evening out, try pairing them with a button-down shirt. If you’re going casual, throw on a T-shirt and sneakers—they’ll look just as good!

Linen Shorts

Linen shorts are a great alternative to chino shorts. They’re ultra-lightweight, but still have the durability you need for everyday wear. The natural fibers of linen mean they’re super comfortable and breathable when it gets hot outside. The weave structure of linen is also quick-drying, which makes it perfect for active summer days.

Woven Shorts

Woven shorts are the most casual option and by far, the easiest shorts to wear. They’re made from nylon or polyester fabric, allowing them to keep you cool and wick away any moisture. They are a perfect match for a graphic t-shirt and your favorite pair of sneakers. Woven shorts are so comfortable, that you will find yourself reaching for them any time it gets warm.

Denim Shorts

Denim shorts are a classic casual look that has been around for decades, but they can also be a fresh way to update your look if you’re tired of wearing your standard material shorts.

If you’re unsure about denim shorts and want to try them before you buy a pair, consider upcycling a pair of old jeans. Since denim is one of those fabrics that gets better with time, they will already be broken-in to your body. Plus, you’ll save money by transforming your old pair of jeans rather than buying new ones!

There is a great guide to upcycling your old denim over at r/MaleFashionAdvice on reddit. Check it out here!

The best shoes to wear with shorts

One of my favorite aspects of shorts is, you will have plenty of options when it comes to which shoes to pair with your outfit. 

Sneakers – You can’t go wrong with a simple pair of  canvas or leather sneakers. White is always a great option for the summer.

Boat Shoes – For a casual summer night, try pairing chino or linen dock shorts with a button down and boat shoes.

Birkenstocks – If you haven’t made the switch from sandals, now is the time! They provide more support and are much more presentable.

Espadrilles – If Birkenstocks aren’t your syle, espadrilles are a great alternative for slip-on casual shoes.

Add personality with accessories

You’ve got the basics down, now you want to take your style to the next level. That’s where accessories come in:

  • Experiment with watches and jewelry. If you have an otherwise basic outfit but have some nice accessories, people will be drawn to those. The colors and materials of jewelry can elevate an entire outfit.
  • Wear hats that complement the colors of your outfit. A hat can provide form and function, so it’s important to have a few options that work well with what you’re wearing.
  • Sunglasses: inarguably the most valuable accessory for your health, they can also add personality to an otherwise simple look!

So now that you know how to style your shorts, you can wear them with confidence. Yes, they are a bit more difficult to dress up than pants, but it’s not impossible and you do not have to sacrifice style. If you have any questions or would like some advice on what specific styles look good with other pieces in your wardrobe, please leave a comment below!