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19th Jul 2016

The JOE guide to wearing summer shorts

Get your calves out. We have you covered.

Carl Anka

Time to get the calves out. It’s summer and it be shorts wearing season.

Wearing shorts in the summer can take a bit to warm up to. You don’t want to feel on show, or look like you’ve gone back to primary school.

The key to pulling off shorts in the summer is like anything in men’s fashion. Finding something simple that works for you and going with it.

So here’s our guide to staying cool and looking good with your calves out. Here’s the JOE guide to wearing shorts.

Because as a NPC once pointed out in Pokemon Red/Blue…

I Like Shorts Pokemon


Cotton and linen blend are two of the most popular materials for wearing shorts and for good reason. They’re comfy, lightweight and easy to wash and dry. You wear shorts to keep cool, so opt for short materials that allow your legs (and your interiors) to breathe properly.

Now, a word on denim shorts/jean shorts. A strong look that not many can pull off, if you insist on wearing them, we recommend opting for a pair that have a turn up at the bottom. It adds a nice bit of bulk right at the end.

Man in shorts


If you ever find your shorts listed as “classic”, then they should come either on, or an inch above the knee.

We’re into that. Try to wear shorts that fall either on, or just above your knees. Any longer and you can look a bit like a trapezoid. Any shorter and you go into short shorts territory, which *can* look great, but you have to know what you’re getting yourself into first.

If you do your short shopping online and find a pair listed as a “custom length”, try your best to find out what that is. It is SUPPOSED to be a pair of shorts slightly longer that go past the knee, although we have seen some go the other way.

The point is, be bold, get your knees out. They’re not that weird. Honest. We’ve all got scrapes there from riding bikes and playing football. No judgement at JOE.

Man in shorts walking


Try to keep your body type in mind when you don your shorts as they bring focus to the top part of your legs.

As a result, big guys should look to stay away from long, baggier shorts – they can make you look stumpy and top heavy. Cargo shorts can be helpful, what with all the extra pockets, but we advise wearing something simple if you’re getting your knees out in more social settings.

Generally, shorts should fit you much like how you prefer your trousers/jeans to – slim around your butt, with a straight look down your legs. Try to avoid any shorts are wider at the bottom than the top, unless you’re about to go for a swim. Looking like a trapezoid downstairs is never the one.

If you still at a loss, we recommend going to whatever high street retailer you normally buy your jeans from and buy a plain pair of navy cotton shorts from them. That should sort you out for the three week English summer.

Man in denim shorts

What to wear with them

When wearing shorts, try not to overdo the rest of your outfit. You’re wearing shorts to stay cool, so stay cool and keep things simple.

Wearing denim shorts? Match them with a simple pair of trainers.

Short shorts? Go for some boat shoes and…. *gasp* you don’t have to wear socks.

Tailored shorts (so they sit similarly to trousers)? Try some smarter shoes like Oxfords?

Swim shorts? We imagine you’re near some water so wearing flip flops should be a no brainer.

Up top, and shorts are best paired with something that has a collar – polos and simple shirts really help make a solid look to show off that you’re a man of leisure who’s enjoying the heat. Just be mindful of how many buttons you have undone.

Man Dating

Where to wear them

In 2011, Tom Ford famously said “A man should never wear shorts in the city. Flip-flops and shorts in the city are never appropriate. Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or on the beach.”

Now we love Tom, we think his fragrances are superb and his fashion line impeccable, but we’re going to give you a little more leeway when you can wear shorts.

Yes you can wear them in the city. And yes, providing your workplace allows, you should feel free to wear them in your 9-5.

It goes without saying that you can wear them to and from your sports adventures and all.

Just please, remember to get your knees cleaned up. And moisturise your ankles. And sort your feet out. And a little baby powder down your boxers to keep fresh downstairs never hurt either…