When the sun really starts beating down, trousers just don’t cut it. While we’re not particularly mad about showcasing our calfs for the world to see, sometimes the weather dictates that we must, and summer shorts become the only option. There are rules though. In general they should be saved for 30 degree city weekends and trips abroad. Office dress codes are up for debate but they have absolutely no place at weddings or formal garden parties.
Even then shorts divide opinion. Acclaimed American author Fran Lebowitz famously proclaimed that “men never wore shorts when (she) was young”. She goes on, “There are few things I would rather see less, to tell you the truth. I’d just as soon see someone coming toward me with a hand grenade. This is one of the worst changes, by far. It’s disgusting.” An extreme view, sure, but Lebowitz is known for her sharp Savile Row suits and generally tip-top dress sense, so we must at least acknowledge her opinion.
So how to toe the sartorial line? Make sure you have the right pair of shorts for the right time and place. From casual holiday styles to tailored designs, here are the best summer shorts to buy now…
The chino shorts: Oliver Spencer
You wear them pretty much everyday anyway so by far the easiest transition from trousers to shorts is to simply go for a pair tailored like your favourite chinos. The indigo shade of this pair from Oliver Spencer is a great alternative to your usual navy and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. We’re rather partial to a striped T-shirt and cream overshirt with ours.
Oliver Spencer Kildale cotton shorts
The tailored shorts: Incotex
Are shorts acceptable for Casual Fridays in the office? It’s the question we find ourselves pondering every time the sun begins to shine and the temperature begins to rise. As with most things, this is a matter for personal taste, dress codes and office environment to dictate, but if you do decide to go for it Incotex’s tailored shorts are an ideal swap for traditional trousers. Pair with a crisp shirt, brown leather belt and finish with loafers.
Incotex linen shorts
The drawstring shorts: Orlebar Brown
It makes sense that, when it comes to great drawstring shorts, a brand famed for its innovative approach to swimwear would do them so well. These Orlebar Brown shorts are about as casual as they come – we’re talking super soft linen, an elasticated waist and a drawstring here – so save them for weekends and holidays. Which will be hard because, trust us, you won’t want to take them off.
Orlebar Brown Harton linen shorts
The short shorts: Polo Ralph Lauren
Once the reserve of 1970s tennis players and overly confident continental gentleman, the short short has been creeping its way back into sartorial acceptability over the past few years. Somewhere around the time Armie Hammer sported a pair in Call Me By your Name we’d wager. If you’re looking to try out the trend without diving into full thigh-bearing territory, Ralph Lauren’s chino-inspired style rises just a few inches above the knee and sports an elasticated waistband for supreme comfort.
Polo Ralph Lauren cotton-twill shorts
The pleated shorts: Rubinacci
If you’ve always thought of pleated shorts and trousers as something that should stay firmly confined to your grandfather’s wardrobe then it’s time to think again. Sure, gramps’ voluminous numbers may not be to your taste but a whole host of designers have put a modern spin on the tailoring technique in recent seasons and the results are surprisingly chic. With their unusual adjustable waistband, longer cut in the leg and flat-fronted pleats, Rubinacci’s offering is enough to convert anyone.
Rubinacci Manny cotton-twill shorts
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