With summer approaching Australia, the hems come up and the shorts come out. Unfortunately, shorts have been relegated to casual outfits for far too long. But if they’re good enough for Pharrell to wear to the Oscars, they’re good enough for a day at the races, a friend’s wedding or other affairs. With the right shirt and shoes, a shorts-based outfit will turn heads in all the right ways. There are range of stylish, well-cut shorts available from clothing brands like Politix. If you like the idea but are a little unsure on execution, here are a few tips:
For a classy style, it’s usually best to choose shorts in traditional colours. Black, grey, tan, and khaki are timeless choices that pair well with shirts of most colours. Daring dressers can also pull off muted blues, greens and reds. Patterned shorts work well on the beach or the streets, but stick to block colours for classier affairs.
Pay attention to the fabric, particularly its weight. Thin, light fabrics will inevitably look and feel casual. For a more formal look, go for thicker, heavier fabrics like cotton twill or wool.
Length and Cut
Pick shorts that are form-fitting but not overly tight. To pull off the look, aim for shorts that end just above the knee. It’s almost impossible to appear formal with short shorts, regardless of how toned your legs are. Don’t stray into three-quarter-length territory either. You’re probably going to pair your shorts with a dress shirt, so think about the length you need to provide good visual balance.
Shirts and Jackets
Dress shirts in washed cotton straddle the line between casual and formal. Leave the top two or three buttons undone. Avoid traditional business shirts, as the cut and fabric often don’t lend well to being paired with shorts. A simple blazer can dress the outfit up even further. It’s important to pick a blazer made of different style and colour fabric to your shorts. You don’t want it to appear like you’ve just shortened the pants of your favourite suit.
Sandals, deck shoes and slip-ons often can’t keep up with a blazer or button-up shirt. Pull the outfit together with lace-up leather shoes like brogues. Go to either extreme with the socks – wear well-hidden sockettes or throw-back knee-high socks. Anything that sits midway up your shin will tend to make you look like a tourist or a grandfather, especially if you’ve got a blazer on.
Don’t go overboard with accessories. The stylish contrast between dress shirt and shorts is often enough to make a statement. Accessories you’d wear comfortably in other outfits – hats, scarves, pocket squares or braces, for example – can push you from something stylish into costume or gimmick territory.
Are you daring enough to wear shorts to classy affairs? What reactions did you get? Are there additional style tips you’d offer to others thinking on bearing calves at their next big do? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.