Warm Weather Style

    Reader Question: Who Wears Short Shorts?

    4th June 2012

    {Left to right: Boyz (shorts) II Men}

    Steve asks:

    “I’m having severe difficulty finding shorts for the summer.  I’m desperately in need of new pairs, but here’s my issue: I’m tall. The main noteworthy retailers sell shorts for average height people.  But men’s shorts are sold by waist size, not length, and so I can’t size appropriately like I can for, as my grandmother would call them, dungarees and pantaloons.  Where can I go to get a nice pair of shorts with a 33 waist that actually reach my knees?  Help, Style Girlfriend!  Help!!!!” 

    Get ready, because while I’m about to answer your question, you’re not going to want to hear what I have to say. I don’t think your shorts should reach your knees.

    It’s my opinion that far too many guys are thigh-shy. When they definitely don’t need to be. I say, be proud of what you’ve got going on above your patellas! Flaunt those femurs! Show off those handsome hamstrings! Put a lock down on any more leg alliteration by doing what I say, stat!

    Because really? That nice definition in guys’ quads – right above the knee – is pretty sexy. So long as you’re not flabby-thighed (which, is that even a thing?), why not give us ladies a little something to look at? Thicker legs will show more curve. And if you’re on the skinny side, a shorter short that’s sits a little tighter on your leg helps keep that “toothpick” look at bay.

    I would even argue that quite a few ladies are “leg women.” Like, if you are a boob guy, or a butt guy, or a whatever guy (and don’t say, “I’m a personality guy, Megan” because I will throw up on my keyboard at your insincerity then come to your house and beat you up). Females are just as inclined towards coveting your bodies. And since I’ve already come out against tank tops on guys, you’re going to have to take your skin-flashing where I’ll allow it.

    When I see guys in shorts like the above, I wonder which frat they’re pledging. I question if their mother is still doing their laundry. Shorts like these are the warm weather equivalent of sporting a suit two sizes too big – man child status at its worst.

    All that said, several brands offer shorts by length, so you do actually have some options. J.Crew’s “Stanton” and “Club” styles come in both 9″ and 11″. Gap (maker of all the shorts seen here) offers shorts in lengths ranging from 8″ to 12.”  So does Old Navy. And Brooks Brothers. I’m not sure how clearly they’re labeled in the store, so you might have better luck looking online.

    But heed my word! Short(er) shorts are not to be feared, but embraced!

    *Oh, and PS? Being tall is never an issue for us ladies. It’s like complaining you’re too handsome – it’s simply not possible. Trust, from a chick whose college boyfriend was a cool 7′.

    • Greg Hao

      The thing is, in the offending picture not only is the length wrong but it’s a pair of cargo shorts. The worst of the worst.

      It is true that a lot of men are afraid of “real” shorts as an extreme reaction to the dolphin shorts of the 80s but it needs to stop. Especially when I start to see men walking around in basically Capri pants.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Tackling the beast that is cargo shorts is a whole post in itself. I have to pick my battles here..

      • Jake

        Oh my gosh, seeing guys in Capri pants is the WORST. It looks sooo stupid, haha. I think it’s definitely way worse than cargo shorts.

        • Style Girlfriend

          agreed! capris are definitely terrible

          • Greg Hao

            @megan & jake – Totally! Capris are definitely way more horrible than cargo shorts. Hell, capris suck on both men and women.

            • IShoAintNoPushOver

              Since I think men should be allowed to do whatever women do if they’re allowed to do what we do, then I wouldn’t say men shouldn’t wear capris, but they shouldn’t wear them in lieu of shorts.

    • Just A Hunk

      I think the key thing here is that the question came from a tall guy.  If you’re very tall and skinny, longer shorts will keep you from looking like a beanpole (to a degree).

      Myself, as a shorter guy, I go for 8″ or 10″ at the longest.

    • Hbc14

      Go with Megan’s advice here and get a pair that hit just above the knee. You’ll feel more grown up and less material = a cooler fit for those hot summer days. You just have to put some effort into trying on different pairs until you find which ones are right. Then make sure you keep a record of what kind is perfect for you.

      • Style Girlfriend

        ha, I didn’t even mention that shorts that fit right will be cooler, did I? thanks for pointing it out!

    • Andrew So

      I’m average height but when I first started wearing 7″ shorts, I felt a bit exposed and felt extremely self-conscious about my physique.  After several weeks on my bike, my calves and quads are shredded.  Aside from the more streamlined look and the cool breeze, shorter shorts can be a great motivation to workout.

      • Style Girlfriend

        good point! clothes that fit properly *are* a good motivator to exercise. It’s like buying new workout clothes – you want to put them to good use!

    • RBiggs34234

      Another option for tall skinny guy:  turn some of your old pants into shorts.  $10 alteration at your tailor, and you’ll get exactly the length you want.

    • Dan

      Yes to everything in this post. I do squats and lunges every week so I can wear short shorts. I will not be denied.


    • TJ

      while I’m not much of a shorts guy, I agree with everything in this post. I have buddies who still wear cargo shorts to or past their knees (some in camo). I don’t bring it up with them but i’d like to say “dude, what are you doing”, get some real shorts, not half pants.

      • Style Girlfriend

        “Half-pants” – I love it! That’s exactly what they are :)

        • TJ

           I know. I would say something to them but that might be a little rude.

    • hornsup84

      Not necessarily the cheapest, but Vineyard Vines makes some pretty good shorts at a 9″ inseam, which hits pretty well for me at 6’3. 

      • Style Girlfriend

        nice, thank you for the recco!

    • Dudegb

      Real men don’t wear knickers.

    • JSBaker

      Out in California, it seems that 9 to 11 inches is the standard for shorts now.  Most seem to end about 2.5 to 3 inches above the knee.

      • Style Girlfriend

         Interesting. That’s a lot shorter than what most guys have been telling me they wear. But that’s great!

    • Spasetrucker

      I’m 58, and I have never liked wearing shorts that were so long they would hit the back of my leg every time I took a step.   Especially when they hit right in the back-side crease of my knee.   Nice blog too.   I just found it about a week ago   

      • Style Girlfriend

        Glad to have you!

    • pB
      • Style Girlfriend

        oh dear…

    • Jake

      Based off those pics, I think I like wearing my shorts around 10″. But I just got me a bathing suit that is more like 7-8″ and I think I look goooood showing off a little more leg. ;)

      • Style Girlfriend

        I’m sure you do! But if your swim trunks look good at 7-8″, why not inch your shorts up on your next shopping trip? They’ll look just as good, and you wear them more often!

        • Jake

          This is true. I dunno, though…it seems like it’s easier to be bolder with how short they are when you’re swimming…don’t know why.
          Maybe I’ll man up and try out some shorter shorts the next time I’m gettin’ some! :)

    • Steve K.

      I work out very hard to stay in shape and I wear really short shorts to show off some leg, and I really don’t care what the general population thinks. As a man, I refuse to be put in a clothing box of manpries or blue jeans. My girlfriend loves me in them and I like them and that’s all that matters. I just wish people could be a little more tolerant of something that is different from the norm. I can’t tell you how many times I have had people gut laughing at me because of my choice in shorts.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Stand proud in those shorts Steve!

    • Mike

      Those shorts are still pretty long… buy juniors or women’s shorts and I’m happy wearing them. They are much more comfortable and in the heat way cooler…People can look at me weird or call me gay but I feel more comfortable in shorter styles than long half pants.

    • Chiara Francioli

      I had never realised that the difference between the tag “sexy” (right) and the tag “nerd” (left) that my brain automatically attached to the photos up there lies in those extra 4″ =) You make me strongly wish you wrote about girls style too… =)

      • Style Girlfriend

        What a great compliment; thanks Chiara!

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