Although the sighting of a male in shorts is far from rare, those that take their hems too high have marred its reputation for the style conscious yet conservative gent. Or maybe its the unfortunate visual of a bloke schlepping along in three-quarter cargos complete with drawstrings dangling mid-calf that have put you off the shorter, less formal sibling of the trouser. Either way, if linen trousers are not factored into your formula to beat the heat, going shorter is probably worth some consideration.
How short is too short? Opposing parties on the debate will definitely have their two cents worth on an appropriate length, but we think you should be well and safe if Gieves & Hawkes (a 244-year-old company on No.1 Savile Row, no less) takes the lead on above the knee tailoring. Adopt the five-finger rule with a pair of flat-fronts, and pair it with a jumper for a relaxed yet sharp weekend ensemble.
From a perspective where fit is the singular concern, pleats on bottoms provide ease of movement and comfort. Style-wise, a pair of pleated shorts will not cut as sleek a silhouette as the flat-front. Best worn with a loose-fitting T-shirt, gents on the leaner end of the spectrum will find that this look has a certain streetwear vibe to it.
A good print never goes unnoticed. Even if it's not the new season's eye-catching crackle from Christopher Kane, the Papaveri motifs on the pair from Valentino (image 6 in the gallery) speaks of tasteful flamboyance. Keep it simple with a solid oxford shirt or jumper.
The unassuming utilitarian fabric may just be the toughest to get right as different washes do not accommodate the same cut. Avoid a baggy fit in light wash – go slim if you pick one of faded variety. A deep, dark wash can afford a slightly less fitted cut, but as far as denim shorts go, ace it with a slim-fit pair and cotton-jersey T-shirt.
We mean it with the reference we made earlier. If you must opt for a cargo pair because your weekend activities somehow require tough fabric, do not go below the knees with this one. If you have to, it should be onward to the ankles. Like denim, a fitted piece always looks best. While this is usually sported in an olive or sandy hue of sort, try navy or indigo linen if you're a city gent at heart.