Shorts: An Essential Guide

By Sean Williams
29 October 2018
Shorts, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior Homme, Dries Van Noten, Fendi
Summer may have come and gone, but the time for wearing shorts will last all year round. Pulling it off correctly isn’t quite as universal, though: that’s why we’ve pooled some of the region’s top fashion experts to show you how to get the perfect shorts look

Shorts can be a conundrum. Are they smart? Should you wear socks? What footwear matches a bare leg? These and many more anxieties force men towards the staple chinos or jeans in their wardrobe, rather than throwing on some fashionable britches and showing pride in their pins.

The jury’s still out on whether socks and sandals are a crime against fashion (and possibly humankind), despite what some Scandinavian designers may think. But the humble pair of shorts has come a long war since the middle of the century, when they were thought of as clothing for boys, rather than men. In lieu of going full catwalk, here are some easy tips to make shorts-wearing a joy, rather than a burden.

1. Don’t be afraid of socks

Socks are great: embrace socks. If you’re used to wearing ankle socks with trainers or shoes, bold-coloured hose can look a bit daunting, or even daft. Not so, say those who know. “It's always better to wear socks if you are going to a business meeting or a wedding,” says Egyptian tailor Ahmed Hamdy. “You can lose the socks if you are going for a casual trendy look. “Catchy socks”, with a bit of colour, says fashion blogger Mostafa Waheed, makes shorts look “cooler.”

Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana, Spring/Summer '19

2. Keep it above the knee

The Middle East is hot, but it’s not Bondi Beach: ditch the board shorts unless you’re competing for a world title. Aside from being on trend right now, short shorts help accentuate height, and draw attention to your look above the belt. Baggy or bad-fitting shorts simply will not do, either: Payne Stewart was never cool. Tailoring helps, of course - but above all try on shorts before you buy. Get it wrong and you could look like a high school groundsman.

Fendi Spring/Summer '19

3. Shorts can be smart

This may not apply in conservative corporate environments, but for dinner events shorts are a great way to throw off a blazer and shirt. “Clean tassel loafers are perfect” for a smart, cutting-edge look, says Lebanese-Australian fashion blogger Elias el-Indari. As with suit pants, it’s usually best not to combine a high-end suit jacket “with another statement piece,” he adds. “But different is always good.” Single-colour or vertical-stripe shorts should complement a fitted suit well, and add height to your look.

Dior Homme
Dior Homme Spring/Summer '19

4. Swimming shorts are not verboten

While you’ll certainly want to avoid showing up to brunch in anything resembling budgie smugglers, swim shorts, that end around midway up the thigh, are a perfectly acceptable accompaniment to a Hawaiian shirt or fitted t-shirt. Plain colours definitely work best here, especially dark shades, which will set off a light or print top well. Combine with loafers, leather sandals or trainers, not – we repeat, not – backpacker-style slings, and you’ll be turning heads all over the place.

Dries Van Noten
Dries Van Noten Spring/Summer '19