Tom Ford famously said that a man should never wear shorts. Detractors alike reason that they’re categorically unattractive on grown men. The line drawn between being a boy and being a man is a hemline. But perhaps the taboo surrounding men’s shorts stems from sartorial strictures that date back a century when the 1916 Sears catalog sold long pants as a separator between the playground and “bright visions of a business career.’’ In ’37, a trouser ad rhetorically asked, ‘‘Who’d go back to short pants after ‘graduating’ to longies?’’ American cities across the country banned shorts with draconian dress codes, like Honesdale, PA in ’38. Plattsburgh, NY followed suit in ’59 when bare legs could translate to 25 days in jail for anyone over 16 years old. Today, shorts are often considered a necessarily evil. But we argue that in the right hands, er gams, shorts can look good. So we’ve rounded up some infallible options for the rebellious.
Men’s Slim Chino Shorts (DSTLD, $55): A pair of cool-hued stone-colored shorts will take a man a long way. These chinos, modeled after a slim jean, have a skinny fit with a tailored cuff for a modern take on an American classic.
High Coast Trail Shorts, (Fjällräven, $85): These elastic waist bottoms are a quick-drying option for the warmer, wetter weather. The webbing belt and easy-adjust buckle boast a comfortable fit, with zippered hand pockets for safe storage.
Hybrid Stretch Walk Shorts (LAIRD, $85): Constructed in a lightweight, four-way stretch fabric, these all-around walking shorts deliver versatile functionality while maintaining a refined cut.
The North Face on Mountain Shorts (REI, $70): Water-repellant with a gusseted crotch and four-way stretch translates to all-day comfort for any activity in any environment.
9 Inch Club Shorts (Vineyard Vines, $75): You have 13 different color options with these cotton clubs, spanning Flag Blue to Island Sunset. So there’s a shade to suit every man’s pasty thighs.
Tide to Trail Shorts, (Southern Tide, $79): The T3 quick-dry fabric effortlessly transition these shorts from sea to land and vice versa, so you can keep classy no matter the day's agenda.
The Regatta Short - Pleated (Southern Marsh, $59): Tightly woven, medium-weight fabric softens with each wash to give these shorts personality, but a reverse-pleated front maintain their iconic look.
HP Softshell Shorts (Helly Hansen, $110): Durable and stretchy, these belt-looped boating shorts are the crossroad between bottoms to a wet suit and casual-wear.
Durable Cotton Cigarette Shorts (Swrve, $95): Low-waisted, these shorts are designed to not dig into your gut. They’re durable and abrasion-resistant with an 11” inseam, intended for cycling, climbing, hiking and other outdoor adventures.
Everyday Shorts (Gap, $45): This super soft-wash cotton is anything but basic. We've all been wearing Gap everything since day one, and we don't see a reason to stop now.
Signature Washed-Canvas Cloth Short (L.L. Bean, $50-$70): On a recent wilderness expedition, L.L. Bean's designer cut the legs off of a pair of the brand's Washed Canvas Pants and wore them every day. So, they recreated the look with faded, broken-in washed canvas shorts because it just made sense.
Neppy Twill Stanton Short (J. Crew, $70): Each pair of these handsome neppy twill stantons are a bit dressier than your day-to-day shorts, but still washed for a perfectly rumpled look and a broken-in feel that usually comes with years of wear.