It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on the climate of short shorts and men. Has the day come where they’re taken seriously? Maybe.
With the rise in think pieces being written about barelegged men, you’d think the time has come, especially since the conversation has shifted from “Men in shorts?!” to “Shorts for men are getting that short?!” It feels like we’ve overcome some sort of hurdle.
First, Fusion’s account that this year will be the breakthrough year for men in shorts.
But these days, according to a recent poll conducted by The Huffington Post, people are resoundingly and refreshingly pro-shorts for dudes. With any luck, 2016 could represent a turning point in the shorts conversation, marking a less rigid approach to masculinity and a more open appreciation for the male body….Shorts are also becoming more acceptable in some workplaces, perhaps thanks to the increasing influence of startup culture and its dressed-down fashion sense, as well as athleisure. Every year, it seems like there are more attempts to marry the comfort of shorts with some form of sophistication, whether by paying homage to WWII-era khaki shorts or trying to make shorts suits a thing (key word: trying). And honestly, if there’s one indication that the shorts tide is truly turning, it’s that the garments are the hot-button issue in the world of golf this year, with many rallying to overturn the PGA ban on shorts.
Indeed, times have changed. I feel a foaming at the mouth of excitement.
Similarly, the UK’s GQ noticed something interesting and great and gay about the Spring 2017 runway shows: man legs are going to get leggier.
At London Collections Men this year, one trend that has stuck out for us more than any other is the recurrence of short shorts. Here we give you a rundown of the big brands showing us that next summer it’s all about the shorter length. No board shorts here.
While it could be argued that high fashion has always adopted male legs, there does seem to be a unilateral shift away from the brief upcoming hyper-long shorts phase. Yes, those will persist for styling and cultural reasons but the hemline of shorts for men is going up and up and up. The higher the short, the closer to flashing that dick, I say—and that is a letting go of manhood.
Another item from earlier this year that is particularly fascinating is a Washington Post story on how shorts in basketball are moving away from the hyper-masc, stereotypical “basketball short” length. This is the biggest triumph, friends.
Some players attest to making the switch for practical reasons. In 2011, Will Cummings, then a freshman guard at Temple, began rolling up his extra-large shorts simply because they were too big on him. They settled above his knee, and he quickly grew accustomed to them. The following year, he downsized to a large but still rolled up his shorts.
“I really was just thinking, ‘Man, if I’m able to do a crossover through my legs without the ball hitting my shorts, I’m going to keep it like this,’ “ said Cummings, who now plays for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League, the NBA’s minor league. “It didn’t even matter. I was just trying to get my shorts shorter so I can play.”
That seems to be the consensus: to play better. There are limits, as mentioned, so that shorts aren’t too long or too short.
As if this has to be said, short shorts on the undressed man is a political act because said image of masculinity—The alpha of the world.—is being violated, made subordinate and feminine in dress. The rise of shorts is a win for feminism as it tears down men, putting them on a level below what society views men to be. A man in shorts is less of a man and that is a good thing.
There’s a long history of male shorts taboo, too: decades ago, there were cities and organizations that have banned shorts, for women and men. To show leg is to be taboo. Yes, this is less so the case for women—but for men? That is still a bit true. As we trudge into the heat of July, get them legs out, guys. Feminize thyself. Take yourself less seriously and dress up by dressing down.
And, if you need advice on how to wear shorts, here’s an old primer I did years ago.