The Controversy of Shorts in Menswear

Tom Ford spring/summer 2018

Tom Ford spring/summer 2018

Perhaps we can reminisce on the time when Tom Ford called his own son ‘tacky’ due to the four-year-old wearing his dinosaur light up sneakers outside of the Ford-approved time slot falling on Sunday afternoons. Now, go ahead and correlate your pair of ill fitting shorts to those unfortunate sneakers and Ford himself to every professional being around you (everyone should be more than honored). Contrary to popular misconception, featuring a well-tailored pair of shorts in which coincides with an elegant choice of top can actually come across as an effortlessly trendy and fashion forward statement— as seen all throughout the Spring/Summer 2018 runways. However, here’s the catch: the finished look in which you’re serving needs to be executed flawlessly, as well as having been served in an appropriate context.

To offer an elaboration on Anna Wintour’s legendary quote, “You either know fashion, or you don’t”— of course, some of us are fortunate enough to be a bit more educated in fashion-do’s and fashion-don’ts than others, however this does not mean that one is unable to learn the ropes and develop the skills in which it takes to correctly execute a look that includes the classic garment in which we refer to as shorts. Yes, the runway acts as a medium in which the industry’s most beloved designers are allowed to portray their artwork through, however it is not considered to be correct, or even justified, to allow this one aspect of menswear to prohibit you from developing your own sense of fashion. This industry is not a team sport. You are competing individually, against yourself alone. Therefore— if you are one who personally has a connection with shorts and you view them as an important component in your personal fashion… then, you are in luck! It is for men like you that we have taken the time to discuss the following circumstances in which it is acceptable to rock that pair of shorts you ever so love.


1. Location: Certain rules of fashion are going to differ depending on which part of the world you are located in. Moreover, if you’re brave enough to make the decision to wear shorts, you need to make sure that it is at least hot enough outside. Countries such as South Africa and Australia deem it socially acceptable for men to show up to the office or a formal gathering sporting a pair of shorts. However, if a stockbroker showed up to his office rocking a pair of shorts (tailored or not)…well, it would be safe to say that Jordan Belfort would no longer be considered the primary concern on Wall Street. With mother nature playing a vital role in this decision, one can infer that the idea of professionalism in men’s fashion has deep rooting in a specific location’s environment. 

2. Ability to Successfully Execute One’s Artistic Motives: To phrase it quite bluntly, shorts do not necessarily offer any ‘substance’ to your wardrobe. For the most part, they do not offer anything fresh or creative to your chosen outfit. Tom Ford included the statement, “a man should never wear shorts in the city”, in the 2011 edition of his Top 5 Tips on How to be a Modern Gentlemen. Moreover, since no list of rules pertaining to menswear being bent would be complete without mentioning the amazingly stunning designs of Dries Van Noten, the label assumingly portrays an opposing standpoint— provided by Noten having showcased a plethora of looks in which included shorts in his Spring/Summer 2018 collection. The collection displayed Noten’s favor towards a more dressed silhouette rather than Ford’s classical sartorial silhouette. Let’s be honest— a man showing up to the office in a pair of cotton shorts is not going to appear to his colleagues as a force to be reckoned with. This is honestly just one of those rules. Luckily for shorts-lovers, rules usually tend to provide loopholes when reviewed thoroughly enough. There needs to be an idea, an artwork if you will, if you make the choice to wear shorts. 

3. Occasion: There is a time and place for you to portray yourself through fashion, and this is truly one of the most underrated blessings a man can have. However, your office unfortunately cannot qualify as one of these places during this time. However, the world of menswear is constantly expanding its boundaries as well as forever learning from its past mistakes. To relate back to previous mentions, Tom Ford stated that he despised shorts-related garments in 2011, yet he has recently showcased a total of four shorter-than-too-short shorts in his Autumn/Winter 2018 Menswear Collection.