Note: This was originally written in spring/summer 2010. Some of the concepts may seem more mainstream (and popular) now but the advice still stands.
So last week I featured some of the new tailored shorts collections and hopefully convinced you why you need a pair (or three) in your wardrobe this year. I have been a massive advocate of the changing landscape within menswear this year, as we see the shift of emphasis within the industry to a more refined casual look. Gone are the days of just using jeans in every outfit, and now we have a range of chinos and slim cut trousers in order to give our casual outfits an edge and a bit of sophistication. The same goes for colours; we now do not play it safe in every outfit by using indigo and black; males are utilising bold statement colours, pastels and even all white outfits, which as recent as a couple of years ago, would of been ridiculed. I think I will always class 2010 as the evolution of men’s fashion, with the collections being better than ever, males being more receptive to new styles and willing to push their personal style. In case you were wondering, I predicted this back at the turn of the year ;).
Today we have another look book in our ever expanding series, and we are going to focus on tailored shorts. Like I have mentioned previously, I want you all to be able to build a timeless and versatile wardrobe this year that can be adapted to each trend as it comes to the forefront. We have done the Americana & Nautical trend look books, as well as a summer chinos look book so far, and what I hope you have noticed is that a lot of items we use can cross over and can multiple trends by just varying the surrounding pieces. Tailored shorts are no exception to this rule and can easily be substituted into the outfits we have already created using chinos, as well as being used within the Nautical and Americana trends which are extremely popular this year.
Not too big an introduction this time as I covered WHY these should be in your wardrobe last week. I would advise you all to take another look through the previous articles in this series because many feature shorts within the outfits and you can also pretty much straight substitute the chino styles out for the same colour shorts:
- Men’s Fashion Summer Essential – Tailored Shorts
- The Spring/Summer Chino Look Book
- The Men’s Nautical Trend Look Book
- The Americana Trend Look Book
Below you will find a collection of looks that we will be basing our outfits around today. I have done things a little different this time and grouped similar looks together on each row. The top row shows you how you can pull off a smart relaxed casual look this summer using key pieces such as blazers and shirts paired with your shorts. The second row shows a variety of casual looks which can simply be thrown on at the drop of a hat whenever the situation arises. These are very basic outfits which are perfect for bright summer days, but all look great despite their simple nature. The last row shows how we can go for a more extravagant look this year using bold coloured shorts such as deep blues, whites and pastel colours. Below you will find a description of what to keep in mind when creating each look and also I will recreate my particular favourite from each.
Image Credits: So this time we have outfits from Lookbook.nu, H&M SS10, Mango SS10 and COS SS10.
The top row shows how you can make a sharp and tailored outfit using 3 basic items in your wardrobe. I have stressed it before but if it is a hot summers day you do not want to feel smothered by your clothing. I am all for layering, but in the coming months your outfits will need to be kept simple. The way you stand out is by using great fitting clothes and colours which coordinate well. You then inject your own flair by using accessories or key statement colours/pieces in your outfits.
So with this in mind all of these looks use tailored shorts, a plain shirt and a blazer to create the basis of the look. I am going to create an outfit which combines elements from each look. Personally I love the use of grey/blue shades, especially when creating a sharp look such as this. So I have started with the light-mid grey tailored shorts which really set the whole tone of the outfit; slim tailored fit, clean lines and a beautiful light blue/grey base.
For the shirt I think we should keep it really simple and crisp. The white shirt should always have presence within your wardrobe and is a key item that can be used over and over again to help create many different outfits. It always looks great on, and is very reminiscent of summer. It also means you can lose the blazer and roll up the sleeves on a hot day and still have a sharp look which hits the nautical trend.
Due to the fact we are going for a modified version of the Short Suit trend, it means when picking a blazer we DO NOT have to pick an identical colour. In fact I would stay away from looking like you actually have a short suit on because it can quickly make your outfit appear “stuffy”, especially when mixed with a plain white shirt. Like Bruno said, less “matchy matchy”. With this in mind I have chosen to really make a statement with the bold blue blazer. Due to the fact that both the shorts and blazer base colours are in the same family, it means they will coordinate when thrown on, but they will also contrast against each other. The white shirt anchors the outfit and keeps it so the blazer makes the statement.
What also helped pick this particular blazer was the fact that it had a top breast pocket. Obviously the pocket scarf is a real statement maker and allows you to show some personal flair. Now you can either play it safe and go with a pocket scarf which is in the same colour family (blues) OR go the opposite way and choose a colour which is a bolder contrast against the jacket. Due to the fact the shirt is white, it means that you do not have to match it to your shirt or tie like you might in formal situations, but just be aware of the jacket colour itself. So I have included a navy colour square below which will look great against light blue, and a white and pink mix square which will provide a great contrast against the blue (blue and pink look great together) but also coordinate with the white shirt. Picking a colour like pink or yellow will also show confidence in yourself and your appearance as they are seldom used colours.
For shoes you can really take your pick. I am not sure how trainers or canvas would work in an outfit like this because the other items are so refined, so I would stick to a great leather deck shoe, loafer or even sandal. Brown works particularly well with blue tones, but due to the nautical theme running through this look, I have chosen to use the white leather deck shoes because I know a lot of you will already own them and again they will provide versatility.
Remember you do not have to stick to this colour combination though, mix and match and find what works for YOU. You could use greys, blue, blacks and even beige or pastels to get a similar look. Keep it simple and clean and don’t forget about the details.
So the second row of images shows some really stripped down casual looks which are perfect for summer. Here we are literally talking about pairing a simple shirt or tee with your tailored shorts. The way you stand out again is through matching your colours well, accessories OR fabric choices. The reason I mention fabric choices is because it is easy to just throw on shorts and a shirt, but the guy on the left has made himself stand out by using stone short shorts and mixing it with a denim shirt. The colour contrast is great, he has lost the belt and still made the outfit work by using different textures and a combination that 90% of other guys wouldn’t.
The second outfit (same row middle) I like because it really doesn’t get any more simple than a white tee and tailored shorts, but the scoop neck adds a dimension to the outfit as well as the fact it looks like an oversized slouchy t-shirt. It is the subtle differences that set you apart and by tucking the t-shirt in it really reinforces the fact that he is wearing slim tailored shorts but is ironic at the same time due to the tee being slightly baggy and not as fitted. The use of a great belt, statement chain and sunglasses also rounds out the outfit nicely.
The look we are going to go for though is the dark rocker vibe on the right hand side. Just because it is summer it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your personal style if you do have that edgy or rocker personality. It also shows that tailored shorts are versatile and can pull off different looks other than relaxed formal or “smart”.
So here is how we are going to get this look; start with the tailored black shorts but look for those which have a slightly more destroyed appearance or aged feel. Are we going to look anywhere but All Saints for these? I have showcased a great tailored pair in ink which have pleats but also a “crushed” finish which gives us that destroyed/rocker look. Don’t be afraid to look at using drop crotch or something else a little more fashion forward in this look either. You can still have smart tailored shorts in drop crotch varieties and they would look just as good:
For the shirt again I think we should add an edge by using a denim variety in a dark wash. You could go for indigo, black or greys for this which is why I have again shown a selection. Just because you are going for an edgy look doesn’t mean you have to focus only on black. It would also be a good idea to have a faded wash or destroyed denim:
Round the look out with some lower cut military boots again in black or grey. I would try and really ram home the look with a distressed version:
To add some flair why not try a neck chain, leather bracelets or Gothic ring in order to showcase your personality:
This row of images was designed to show you how to rock the bold coloured tailored shorts. Obviously we have some amazing statement blues as well as the really original yellow and white versions. You will find that with bold coloured shorts the key to getting the look right is to keep the top half more muted and let the shorts do the talking on their own. You do not need to match wild colours together in order to get attention, it comes across as contrived and try hard. Obviously you can go for whichever look fits your personality best, but the one I want to show you how to recreate today is the second one in from the left.
The reason I picked this outfit is because the bold blue shorts I think are an essential for this season. They work so well within the Americana, Nautical and French Riviera looks, and also just give you an upgrade over other males rocking the navy versions this year. That subtle difference will make you stand out on it’s own and that is the KEY to coming across as stylish and well put together. It is not a massive colour jump from the safety of your standard jean washes so everyone reading this should feel comfortable with giving it a try.
This isn’t the only reason I picked this outfit though. See how the guy in the image has muted his top half with a simple white v-neck tee and either a grey shirt or lightweight knit. Either can be worn during the summer period and have the sleeves rolled up for comfort. It also gives you the option to strip off this layer if you are hot and still have a statement outfit based on the bold coloured shorts. Both items are shown below in the picks and you can choose which suits your personal style best.
Here is where we get interesting though. The additional items which really set this outfit apart from every other guy wearing shorts, a tee and an over shirt happen to be the footwear and headwear. He has picked a navy boat shoe which coordinates but contrasts beautifully with the brighter blue shorts and also gives a subtle nod to the whole nautical trend.
The choice of a light grey fedora or trilby is also an inspired choice. You may of heard me mention before that wearing a hat is a real statement maker about the amount of confidence you have in yourself and your personal style. 90% of other guys will not touch a hat like this and it means that you garner attention just by being different. It takes a confident male to receive this much attention and it will sub-consciously communicate this to others. Not only that but the lighter grey tone also coordinates with the darker grey top layer so again the whole outfit is put together with thought and precision.