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The 12 Best Summer Shorts for Men in 2021
It’s official – it’s summer and it’s hot. Sweltering, in some places. What’s one of the easiest ways to stay cool? Besides air conditioning (which isn’t always available – hello daytime backyard BBQ) it would be wearing as little as possible.
Since we live in a society that frowns upon nudity in public (lame) shorts and t-shirts (or tank tops if you’re THAT guy) are the official uniform of summer. So, peruse this list to see your best summer shorts options, from athletic to dressy, and everything in between.
1. Todd Snyder Weekend Short
This Todd Snyder short is the best choice for a multitude of reasons. With 51% cotton, 46% Tencel, and 3% spandex twill, this 5” shorter version of the brand’s best-selling 7” short combines the look of a dress short with the comfort of an athletic one.
It has pull-on styling with an elastic drawstring waistband and a nonfunctional fly. Side seam pockets and a single back pocket with a button round out this perfect all-day short that’s ideal for summer and all of the activities these months entail. Last but certainly not least, it’s machine washable and comes in three colors: navy, black and light cactus.
2. Acne Studios Randal Cotton-Blend Poplin Shorts
Looking for an elevated basic pair of shorts to wear while you rock out this summer? This beige short is the epitome of minimalistic style. Made from 97% crisp cotton and 3% elastane, this mid-weight cotton-blend poplin short features an elastic waist with straight legs.
Pulling this look together are the slip and welt pockets. If handwashing isn’t your thing, then send these out to be dry cleaned.
3. UNIQLO Chino Shorts
With 10 colorways to choose from and at a $30 price point, I might just order all of these. Recently updated for the season with a slightly more relaxed and casual silhouette, these summer shorts are made with a 100% cotton twill that’s dense and soft to the touch.
Machine wash cold and with like colors (as I’m sure your mother taught you) and these trendy shorts are sure to take you through this year’s hottest months.
4. Faherty Essential Shorts
Based on the brand’s best-selling Stretch Terry 5-Pocket Pants, this cotton linen blend is soft, stretchy, and breathable, making them perfect to wear on these hot, summer days. Although made with comfort in mind, the style is also meant to be dressed up if need be.
Features include a 7 ½” inseam, relaxed fit, straight leg, an elastic drawcord waistband, two front slash pockets, back welt pockets with a button closure, and an interior loop for hanging. Considered part tailored and part lounge, this machine washable short, available in six subtle colors, is sure to be your go-to essential for years to come.
5. Orlebar Brown Dane Cotton-Blend Twill Shorts
Known for his tailoring, these blue cotton-blend twill shorts by Orlebar Brown are classic and timeless. Their above-the-knee length looks good on just about everyone and silver side tabs on the waist adjust to your growing and shrinking waistline (let’s face it, we all yo-yo from time to time).
Slip side pockets, a buttoned back slip pocket, and a button and zip front round out the rest of the features of this versatile short, making it perfect for the backyard, a day on the boat, or going to your friendly neighborhood farmer’s market.
6. Rhone Seersucker Rec Short
If you are looking to feel like you’ve just arrived from Cape Cod, then these seersucker shorts are for you. A little on the shorter side with a 6” inseam, this distinct short comes in two blue striped colorways, navy/white or Egyptian blue/white both with navy piping.
Offering a 4-way stretch, a media pocket, a back pocket with a zipper for added security, and a curved hem for ease of motion, these shorts are made to be able to endure even the toughest and sweatiest of adventures. Just be mindful to machine wash cold with like colors and do not bleach, iron, dry clean, or use fabric softener.
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7. Bonobos Coast To Coaster Shorts
Available in two inseam sizes – 7” or 9” – let Bonobos help you find your perfect fit. Setting themselves apart in the market by offering Guideshops as opposed to retail stores, you can schedule a personalized one-hour appointment in-store with one of their knowledgeable Guides. Once you find your perfect fit, your order will be placed and sent directly to your home or office, free of charge. Online shopping is also available (it is 2021 after all).
The Coast to Coaster shorts are designed in a 4-way stretch fabric with a back right pocket with a front zipper closure and features the company’s signature curved waistband. These shorts are also moisture-wicking and provide 50+ UPF sun protection. Multiple neutral colors are available, making this your next go-to short for all occasions.
8. Polo Ralph Lauren Cotton-Blend Twill Shorts
Polo Ralph Lauren is iconic in its ability to make classic pieces that live in our closets (and on our bodies) for years to come. And these beige mid-weight cotton twill shorts are no exception. These shorts have a touch of stretch for extra movement and comfort.
They have straight legs, side pockets, two buttoned back welt pockets, button and zip front, belt loops (one of the few pairs with belt loops on this list), and of course, the quintessential Polo logo, embroidered on the back, discreetly of course. No one likes a show-off.
9. Club Monaco Baxter Shorts
If sustainable fashion and reducing your carbon footprint is high on your list of priorities, then the Club Monaco Baxter shorts are for you. Their birdseye texture fabric offers a slim and refined look. With a color palette inspired by textiles, modern art, and interior design of the early to mid-20th century, you honestly can’t go wrong with any of these options.
Features include a 7” inseam, slim fit with a 21 ⅝” leg opening, zip fly with button closure, belt loops, two side pockets, a concealed coin pocket, and two back pockets. Invest in yourself and the planet with this essential summer short.
10. Everlane Sport Shorts
Definitely on the more casual side of the list, this short is made with ReTech – Everlane’s high-performance recycled nylon stretch fabric. They custom-developed it for comfort and durability that will hold up to all your activities while still sporting a low-key style that can be worn anywhere.
The Uniform short has a 365 day guarantee so in the unlikely event your shorts get a hole or they lose their color, Everlane will replace it, no sweat. These have a 7” inseam, 4-way stretch, and are moisture-wicking and quick-drying. These are perfect for your more active and hotter summer days.
11. Saturdays NYC An Outside Lifestyle Shorts
Made with heavyweight french terry fleece, the Outside Lifestyle Sweatshort features a textured puff print graphic on the front of the left thigh and comes in three colors – white, navy, and kelly green. Cut for more room in the seat and thigh with an 8” inseam, a fabric waistband with an adjustable inner cotton drawcord, front single welt pockets, and a back patch pocket with an exterior flag label, this short is perfect for lazy days, whether you’re hanging out in the park or on your couch.
12. Patagonia Lightweight All-Wear Hemp Shorts
Fair Trade Certified™ sewn, which means the people who made them earn a premium for their labor, this is a short you can feel good about wearing. Unless you’re a savage and don’t care about others. But I digress.
The lightweight, cool-wearing fabric is a blend of organic cotton and hemp that is soft and airy for those hot summer days and nights. With a classic flat-front chino style with button closure, choice of 6”, 8”, or 10” inseam, zip fly and double-needle belt loops, two slanted side-entry front pockets, and two welted drop-in rear pockets, this easy to wear short comes in five colorways for all of your relaxing summer needs.
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Honestly, men are lucky when it comes to trends. The main prerequisite is to make sure that your shorts fit properly. Tailoring is the secret to all fashion, for both men and women. Another important factor is fabric. A better quality fabric is going to look more polished, thus boosting the appeal of whatever you are wearing, whether it be athletic, relaxed, or preppy.
You can choose almost any kind of casual shoe to wear with shorts. Try sneakers, high-tops, slip-ons, sandals, or boat shoes. If you want to dress the look up a little more, pair your tailored shorts with a stylish pair of loafers or even boots if you’re feeling more rock-n-roll.
Listed above are 12 great brands for shorts. ASOS is a fantastic online retailer with multiple brands, styles, and price points. Farfetch and SSENSE are also great for online shopping if you are looking for more high-end designers and streetwear brands.
My favorite trick: Once I find a great pair of shorts, jeans, or the perfect t-shirt, I immediately buy multiples. I know I like them, I know they fit, and you never know when a retailer might discontinue something you love so better safe than sorry.