Summer may not have been quite forthcoming in Britain so far; the wet and cold of the winter season has lingered longer than most would like. That saying, the world of fashion refuses to wait for the weather. Seasons come and go, whether the sun is out in full force or holds off until we no longer expect it, and with new seasons come new trends.

Print and pattern have been perennial contenders for wardrobe rail space in the past few seasons. We’ve seen variations appear on everything from shirts to trousers and even full suits. Today we break down the latest incarnation of the print movement, as we watch them venture into one of summer’s fail-safe staples: shorts.

So what are the key styles we should be looking out for this summer?

1. Stripes

Stripes are trending, yet again, across the board this season and the pattern should be considered an essential addition to any spring/summer capsule wardrobe. Designers continually look for new ways to reinvent stripes, so it’s not a surprise they feature here.

Possessing an obvious timeless appeal means you’re not splashing out on a one season wonder. Stripes are a great pattern to explore when looking to add some character to your summer looks without overstepping the boundary.

Our opening pattern is arguably the least bold of the four featured but is no less successful in creating dapper ensembles. A blue and white variant smacks of the nautical (a look that carries an inherent link with the warmer weather), whilst a bolder colour variant or a vertical take offers an interesting proposition for making a statement.

Stripe Shorts Lookbook

selected ss13 topman ltd porto ss13 Burkman Bros ss13 matalan ss13 scotch & soda ss13 Bershka April 2013 h&m ss13 saturdays surf nyc ss13 pull & bear ss13

Outfit Inspiration

Stripes can be integrated into your existing looks far easier than other, statement options. Avoid teaming with other stripes, especially those of a similar width. Too many and you risk resembling a convict, and an unflattering one at that.

The simplest option is – as with any look incorporating print – to pair your stripes with a neutral anchor, in this case the top half. A white shirt and complementary sweatshirt (either worn or draped over the shoulders) work perfectly with striped shorts to create a look that can adapt to changeable weather and temperatures.

Minimal, lightweight footwear, such as loafers or deck shoes, keeps the look seasonally-appropriate and sartorially on point. Blue is a major colour trend for SS13 and making use of it via your shoes is a great way to show you have one finger on the pulse (and the other on the captain’s wheel):

  • Stephan Schneider Tailored Cotton And Jersey Shirt
  • Jean.machine Loopback Cotton-jersey Sweatshirt
  • New Look Stripe Shorts
  • Florsheim No String Navy Suede Wing Shoes
Key Pieces
  • Topman Vito Stripe Shorts
  • Easy Reversible Shorts
  • Burton Grey & Ecru Stripe Shorts
  • Reiss Nelson Linen Herringbone Tailored Shorts Soft Grey
  • He By Mango Multicolored Stripes Bermuda Shorts
  • J.crew Striped Cotton-twill Shorts
2. Camouflage

Camouflage, or ‘camo’, has been an unexpectedly dominant print for a number of years now. Despite this, on shorts it has an unsavoury stigma. Step away from the social stereotype of LADS abroad and upgrade your camo for a more stylish take.

Circumvent awful three-quarter length cuts and bulky cargo types (as well as a combination of both) at all costs. Opt instead for a closer, dare we say tailored, cut. Keep them above the knee and style them in manner far detached from football jerseys and shapeless shoes.

Isolate further from any unfortunate associations by searching for more contemporary takes on camo print, rather than traditional military replicas. A digitalised, leaf or animalistic variant is worth considering as a means of creating statement whilst retaining a touch of individuality.

Camouflage Shorts Lookbook

allsaints ss13 allsaints ss13 allsaints ss13 Bershka May 2013 minimum spring 2013 new look ss13 debenhams ss13 urban outfitters ss12 Calliope ss13

Outfit Inspiration

Create an outfit that stands out from the militaristic norm by pairing camo shorts with a classic grey crew neck t-shirt. The bomber jacket has made waves this season and is the perfect spring/summer outerwear option. Layer a navy version over the top of the tee to a complete a perfectly on trend, off-duty look.

Finish with a pair of brown leather loafers to further distance yourself from the barracks and any other connotations that camo shorts can evoke:

  • Topman Grey Classic Crew Neck T-shirt
  • Reiss Oakland Short Suede Zip Through Jacket Navy
  • Allsaints Sayo Shorts
  • Asos Loafers With Tie Front
Key Pieces
  • Topman Green Camoflage Shorts
  • Minimum Camo Shorts
  • Allsaints Camo Shorts
  • Burton Giraffe Camo Print Shorts
  • Selected Camo Shorts
  • Woolrich Woolen Mills Camouflage-print Ripstop Cotton Shorts
3. Floral

Let your outfits flourish with another of this season’s major prints. No longer perceived as feminine (or simply the reserve of a Hawaiian shirt), botanicals have been big business in recent months. Floral prints, whether on shirts, ties, jackets or, in this case, shorts, have dominated collections industry wide.

Floral designs on legwear may conjure images of awfully bulky board shorts, but keep the silhouette slim and the length just above the knee for a piece that offers a positive style statement.

Tone down the rest of the look with a timeless approach – double floral isn’t going to win you any points, nor is a clash of prevalent patterns.

Floral Shorts Lookbook

tesco clothing ss13 Suiteblanco ss13 scotch & soda ss13 reiss ss13 uniqlo ss13 Libertine-Libertine spring 2013 paul & joe ss13 gucci ss13 Customellow ss13

Outfit Inspiration

Adopt a masculine take on floral this season via a pair of navy shorts with all-over botanical bloom. A simple polo shirt that complements the legwear creates the perfect combination for a summer garden party. The polo collar offers structure whereas the relaxed nature of a t-shirt is slightly too casual.

Complete with relaxed, slip-on leisure-style shoes to match the breezy nature of the rest of the ensemble:

  • Reiss Westin Pique Polo Shirt With Logo Peach
  • Asos Shorts In Ditsy Floral Print
  • Ymc X Festival Original Slip On Shoes
Key Pieces
  • Easy Printed Chino Shorts
  • Selected Washed Floral Shorts
  • Topman Grey Leaf Pattern Shorts
  • Penfield Mens Floral Print Gill Shorts
  • Reiss Montego Palm Print Short Terracotta
  • Libertine-libertine Choir Tropics Shorts In White
4. Embroidered

The recent explosion of print has ushered in motifs and patterns aplenty, including those found in all-over embroidery. These sparsely patterned pieces are a subtler way to integrate the trend into your wardrobe in a refined manner.

A tailored short complete with an understated embroidered design lends itself to audacious pattern mixing and more muted timeless looks with equal aplomb. Animal motifs have proved popular, as have anchor prints – providing an of-the-moment take on the classic nautical aesthetic.

Embroidered Shorts Lookbook

matalan ss13 new look ss13 asos ss13 ted baker ss13 burton ss13 Bershka April 2013 Beams Plus ss13 Beams Plus ss13 selected ss13

Outfit Inspiration

Prepare for the inevitably indifferent British summer with a look ready for both sun and showers. Layer a navy fisherman jacket over a light blue Oxford shirt for a tonal blue top half.

Ready yourself for the rising mercury with a pair of shorts that feature a quirky all-over pattern – palm trees hint at a wanting for the warmer weather to prevail.

Brown leather driving shoes complete the outfit and partner effortlessly with the blue shirt and navy jacket in a complementary manner:

  • Burberry Brit Slim-fit Cotton Oxford Shirt
  • Primark Fisherman Jacket
  • Topman Stone Palm Tree Motif Shorts
  • Reiss Stefano Leather Driving Shoes Dark Brown
Key Pieces
  • Easy Swallow Print Shorts
  • Ted Baker Embroidered Flamingo Shorts
  • Farah Vintage Hobart Bordeaux Fly Print Shorts
  • Beams Plus Slim-fit Embroidered Brushed-cotton Shorts
  • Burton Blue Anchor Shorts
  • Primark Chino Shorts With Camel Print

With print and pattern having exploded across the fashion industry at every level, the trend isn’t the inaccessibly eccentric statement it once was. With menswear always having one foot rooted in tradition, a pair of (appropriately cut) printed or patterned shorts is a superb way to add a bold element to your summer looks without stepping too far out of your comfort zone.

But now we want to hear what you have to say:

  • Which of our highlighted prints or patterns is your favourite?
  • Is there another not in our list that you’ll be rocking this summer?
  • Can camo shorts ever be worn in a refined manner?
  • What all-over embroidered motif will you be adding to your summer wardrobe this year?

Let us know in the comments section…