Shorts made easy
Stylish Summer (part 2)
As I walked out of a grocery store yesterday, I strolled past a man sporting a too-long pair of athletic shorts together with a white tank top undershirt and a cheap pair of flip flops (not a good look for shopping of any kind). He made me painfully aware of my own short-wearing missteps of the past. As you can see in the above photo, I have come a long way from the days of those too-short yellow shorts. I remember showing the photos from this trip to some people who immediately commented on the shorts. The yellow eyesore promptly disappeared from my closet. To help you avoid my mistakes, consider the following.
First, be conscious of how your shorts fit. Your waist should allow for two fingers to comfortably rest inside the band. In particular, avoid really baggy. If a size 34 waist properly fits, don’t think you can get by with a 36 and a tighter belt. On the contrary, don’t wear spandex shorts anywhere if you can help it (I understand if you cycle competitively, just reserve it for the bike only). Regarding length, they should ideally cover the thighs fully and extend to anywhere within the space of the knee cap (preferably toward the top). There is leeway to about one inch above or below that; but, don’t push it much outside of these parameters or risk the eyesore that will become your shorts.
Second, think through the style you wish to portray. The larger the lower pockets (if you choose them), the younger and more casual you appear. Further, steer clear of cut off, jean, or pleated versions. Save your soccer shorts for the field and basketball shorts for the court. As always, think classic. Starting out, you can’t go wrong with a solid color flat front pair. Also, give plaid a try with a solid color shirt (for more on matching, read my article Assembling outfits made easy). Many brands such as Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, and Ralph Lauren offer fine choices.
Third, be mindful of your shoes. With your legs exposed, your feet will stand out. Options include sneakers, loafers, boat shoes, or sandals. Stay as far away from white tube socks as possible (see above photo if you need convincing). However, I do recommend finding a way to wear socks. Employ those that remain below the ankle. While acceptable in many ways, going without socks can sweat up your feet. That said, penny loafers minus the socks provide a classic look when paired with the right shorts and shirt.
Lastly, I leave you with a suggested outfit. Combine a dark blue plaid flat front pair of shorts with a solid white (or red or light blue) polo shirt and red converse sneakers.
As seen in the above display, transforming your presentation from falling “short” to stylish is easier than you may know.
Happy stylish summer in the sun!
© Copyright 2012 Jeremy Gradney.