The ideal way to maintain your sartorial standards when the mercury rises, tailored shorts are an essential addition to any modern man’s high summer wardrobe. Here we show you how to get the most mileage out of yours this season.
1. With A Blazer To The Office
Before pulling on a pair of shorts for a day at the office, ask yourself whether flashing the flesh is appropriate. If you’re in a client-facing role at a company with a notoriously strict dress code, for instance, clocking on in a pair of shorts – no matter how smart – might land you in hot water and leave your prudish co-workers feeling alienated (and ashamed they’ve been skipping leg day). However, if you’re confident that baring your calves won’t lead to a meeting with HR, there are plenty of ways to smarten up shorts for work. Try combining with a neatly pressed shirt, expertly polished Derbies and a lightweight cotton or linen-blend blazer for an ensemble that is both sophisticated and office-appropriate. In terms of colour, opt for neutral tones to keep the look classic and understated. After all, you’re already blazing a trail, so you don’t need to draw additional attention to your outfit by getting experimental with your palette.
Image: House of Fraser SS15
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Howick Newport Blues Smart Texture Short, available at House of Fraser, priced £45.
2. As Part Of A Short Suit
A slightly controversial trend that has been gathering momentum over the past couple of years, the short suit – comprised of matching tailored shorts and a blazer – is set to be big news again this spring/summer. The easiest way to style one is with a simple white button-down shirt and a pair of lightweight formal shoes – think suede brogues or Derbies. That said, if you’re heading to a relaxed summer wedding or garden party, consider injecting a bit more personality into your ensemble via a printed shirt, patterned bow tie or boldly coloured pocket square. Alternatively, layer a granddad collar shirt or plain tee underneath for a look that oozes Parisian chic.
Image: Debenhams High Summer 2015
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Jeff Banks Grey Cotton Short Suit, available at Debenhams, priced £135.
3. From Beach To Bar
We’re not suggesting that you wear a pair of handsome tailored shorts to swim in, but we are encouraging you to pack a pair in your bag as you head off to the beach for the day on holiday. When the sun goes down, switch your swim shorts for your tailored pair and team with a crisp white tee or short-sleeved shirt for a look that will take you from beach to bar in seconds. In terms of footwear, leather sandals are very much back on the agenda for SS15 and, like your shorts, will effortlessly move from day to night.
Image: Calibre SS13
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4. With Sportswear
Thanks to high-end brands and designers such as ACNE Studios and Rick Owens, tailored shorts in cool, streetwear-inspired cuts have come to the fore this season. Styles that fit wide and loose and finish at the knee offer a refreshed, grown-up take on the skater short. Not only are they roomy and breezy, they look effortlessly cool and are an easy way to smarten up your sportswear. Try ASOS or Zara for affordable equivalents to Owens’ signature designs and wear yours with a plain T-shirt, lightweight jacket and monochrome trainers.
Image: Zara SS15
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Pleated Shorts, available at Zara, priced £25.99.
5. With Well-Groomed Legs
If you type ‘tailored shorts’ into Google, you’ll find haters throwing shade on them, left and right. But the reason smart summer shorts get a bad rap isn’t because they don’t look good or that they’re not wholly office-appropriate. No, it’s because we men like to step into a pair at the first sign of sun, without giving any thought to the condition our legs are in. Conventionally speaking, women spend a lot longer than we do making sure their pins look top notch year-round. But shouldn’t we follow suit and only expose our legs once we’ve got rid of those unsightly dry knees, ingrown hairs and pasty pallor? To get your legs summer-ready, try exfoliating daily with a light scrub wash, moisturise with body lotion, and apply some gradual-build self tan to ensure they look don’t look like raw chicken skin.