Summer Is the Season for Shorts
Summer dressing remains to be a double-edged sword. Quite a sharp one. Because while all those ad campaigns have handsome, perfectly proportioned men frown and laze and thirst trap by deserted hotel pools, they don't show a big thighed, pool noodle-armed 30-year-old resisting the urge to pull at shorts that just aren't built for extended hours cross-legged. That's me by the way. I am the big thighed, pool-noodled armed 30-year-old in this municipal wasteland.
It's not that my go-to shorts are bad. On the contrary: They're from a workwear brand still revered by both tradesmen and the graphic designers that cosplay as them. They look good! But stiff cotton canvas isn't comfortable. And, after a year of being so utterly comfortable that it's come at the detriment of our wardrobe's pride, like Zoom quizzes and catch-up drinks with people you never really liked in the first place, there's no turning back once lockdown ends.
So what's the sweet spot? Well, it's not gym shorts. But there is something in sporty fabrics. Some swim shorts can double-up on dry land, and nylon Seventies-ish shorts are both cropped enough to provide some ventilation and are a little bit more fun than moisture-wicking Under Armours that are purpose-built for treadmills and big lifts.
Then there's length. The five-inch inseam debate rages on. The likes of Milo Ventimiglia and Normal People's Paul Mescal have got people very hot and bothered with shorts much, much shorter than TikTok's preferred ratio, but if you're unsure, the five-inch sweet spot was decided upon for a reason. It's short enough to expose some thigh, but long enough for fabric to cut across and give a more flattering appearance. Plus, it's a bit less weird PE teacher, to be honest.
Airy, sporty (but not gym-my!) shorts don't give structure, though. And if that's something you need – and good for you if it is, because you're obviously a bit polished and smart and that's a good thing – then consider canvas cotton, but longer, baggier but still streamlined. Jacquemus cargos are a long way away from Fred Durst, while Gurkha shorts are smart, roomy, and approved by Joanna Lumley. Think less stiff workwear, and more billowy fabrics that abet comfort when laid in pretty uncomfortable barren parks.
Of course, the best men's underwear factors into this and, again, they should be cotton, compact but by no means strangulating. Like your shorts then.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.