The long-awaited heatwave is here, and with it, hellish commutes, wanton public displays of pepperoni-mottled flesh, and the need for a brand new pair of men's summer shorts. Note we say need, and not desire.
That's because you'll melt without a decent pair. Stuffy office spaces will only compact the crushing celsius outside, and that makes a rare outing for your legs essential.
Still: wearing shorts can fill even the most stylish men with fear—and understandably so, for there is much that can go wrong. But don't worry. We've got you covered.
1| Find the right style for you
Some guys like a tailored short. Others prefer streetwear-friendly frayed denim. Both are more than acceptable, and luckily there are multiple variations in-between.
Shorts by Zara
To make sure you end up feeling comfortable rather than like an novelty act, match your shorts to your preferred style of dressing in the colder months. So: more conservative dressers should stick to classic cotton shapes, casual dressers should opt for denim or chino shorts, and risk-takers can go for a bold print. Just not too bold.
2| Consider your build
'Dress for the build you have, not the build you want'—a style diktat worth remembering whatever the item. In other words: if it doesn't suit you, leave well alone.
When it comes to shorts, this means identifying your leg shape and choosing accordingly. If you're conscious of having thicker thighs, a darker color can slim you down by eliminating shadow, whereas a bold print can help hide skinny legs.
Those lucky enough to boast in-between, averagely sized legs however can experiment with color and print as they see fit.
3| Get the length right
Unlike the style of your shorts, there's less wiggle room with length. Too short, and you're going to risk being asked to leave family establishments; too long, and you may as well crack open that tin of Monster and boot up Warcraft right now.
Shorts by Mango H.E.
Aim for the sweet spot: the inches of space above your knee, but below your mid-thigh. Landing here will ensure your wider outfit remains in proportion. Don't forget to add a turn up if the stitching of the hem allows.
4| Remember trends apply to shorts, too
Granted, there are only so many ways to rejig men's shorts without settling for hot pants. (Which no man should ever do, by the way).
That doesn't mean summer trends don't apply, though. This season why not go for some vertical stripes like those in Call Me By Your Name (the perfect summer style guide, don't you know) or a shade of pink a la Tom Ford, Versace, or Ermenegildo Zegna. Summer is about color, after all.
5| Don't be a sock block
When the mercury soars, reducing your layers is the aim of the game—except when it comes to your feet. In short, unless you're in slides or sandals (beach only, thanks) never forgo socks.
Invisible Shoe Liners by M&S
The invisible kind are preferable to gym and ankle socks: they'll cover the soles of your feet and toes, but remain hidden once sneakered. But if you'd rather stick to normal length socks, ensure they stay monochrome as to not distract from your look above. Left-field prints do not belong on your ankles.
6| Swimshorts can work on dry land
Providing you don't choose Copacabana ball stranglers, swimshorts can work on dry land. Just know that it isn't an easy plank to walk.
First, apply the aforementioned length rule. Then factor in the print. Shorts that are too bold will look a tad 'Full Moon party' for any grown man to wear. That includes any floral patterns better suited to the poolside.
Instead, go dark and classic. Not only will this mask the appearance of water-friendly fabrics, but a vertical or side-stripe detail is much easier to pair with staples up top.
7| Remember, some shorts are flat-out forbidden
Behind every badly-dressed man is a sad pair of cargo shorts. Or three-quarter lengths, complete with football hooligan toggles. And probably a pair of boardshorts, too—bright orange and covered in surf-slang graffiti nobody outside of Bondi understands.
In short, some styles will forever be off-limits. For all the room there is to experiment with the texture, color, or print, don't opt for anything pre-2010.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.