Ask A Woman: What’s a woman think when she sees a grown man in shorts?
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Where do the ladies come down on guys in shorts? I know they are pretty much standard attire here in the US for the summer months, and more stylish alternatives to the ubiquitous cargo short have been presented; but don’t you think they look a tad bit juvenile? I’m 28, and married, and certainly no stranger to a pair of shorts (soft spot for madras and/or seersucker), but the more I’ve traveled in warmer months the more I’ve come to the opinion that someone in lightweight pants and a real pair of shoes is always going to seem to be better put together than the average Joe in a pair of shorts and sandals or sockless with some canvas sneakers (am I just getting old?). At the same time, on an 85 degree day in August… having the bottom of my legs free to enjoy the breeze is always nice.
Well, I write this on a 95 degree day with 60% humidity so you know where I’m coming from. And as I’ve mentioned before–somewhere–I don’t do heat. Not that I’m a fan of extreme cold either–I prefer the middle. I love temperance. Wait a minute…doesn’t that mean not drinking? Uh, that’s not what I meant, clearly [vodka soda with a twist sitting to the left of the keyboard]. Temperate weather, I love temperate weather. Let’s just get after it, shall we? (The question, not the drinking…although, if that’s where you’re at on a Thursday morning, cheers.)
I understand what you’re saying about shorts looking a bit juvenile or unpolished. For many years, I did not wear shorts because they didn’t feel feminine or pretty to me, and that’s a big part of my aesthetic. But in the last two years, designers have been making slim cut Bermuda shorts for women, and I’ve totally embraced that look. I can wear fabulous heels, a beautiful blouse, and my nice jewelry with these shorts, and it looks very put together and elegant.
As for my personal preference? I like a man in shorts, and I know many women who feel the same way. We like men’s calves, quads, and hamstrings, and what better way than shorts to display these assets. I was talking to our fearless Dappered leader about this, and he’s also on the shorts train, though he restricts it to casual daytime wear only, and never wears them for going out in the evening. It’s hot out, you’re at the farmer’s market or running errands or having lunch on the restaurant patio–why not? As long as you’re wearing a t-shirt or polo that’s in good shape, and a slick pair of shoes or sandals, you’re golden.
I agree that shorts are very much a U.S. institution, and this applies to men and women. Maybe South Americans and Europeans sweat less than us, I dunno. But I don’t see any reason why you should suffer through those 80 and 90 degree days in pants, just because an Englishman would.
So if you like shorts, figure out a way to make them work for you. For instance, in addition to wearing the longer Bermuda shorts, I wear them probably a size smaller than intended because I want them to look very tailored and form-fitting, not baggy and saggy. I’m making the clothing work for me, rather than compromising my aesthetic, and this is what style is all about.
I leave you with some picks that I think would show off all your manly muscles and tendons nicely. Chambray is a nice fabric for summer–light, but with the durability of denim. I’m also loving shorts that feature very small prints, like narrow plaid. These shorts are nice and slim–very flattering on the leg, and very elegant. And these solid colored shorts come in a rich brown that would go with almost anything. Since you mentioned cargo shorts, I’ll address them: NO. No, no, no, no. I loathe cargo shorts. They look SO BAD. Who remembers the last time I was this emphatic? No one? That’s because I really have a bone to pick with clothing that makes you look bigger, lumpier, and dumpier. What is the point? Style is supposed to be fun! Flattering! Confidence-boosting! Cargo shorts come in crappy colors and make you look fifteen pounds heavier. But hey, you get a bunch of pockets in which to store your squirt guns and rubber bands and scraps of paper!
Do not wear the cargo short. If you do, I’ll blow my nose at you and then taunt you a second time.
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