Below the Belt

Fashion Tips for Men in Shorts

By Nikki Martinez
There’s something to be said about a guy who can wear shorts and still look pulled-together. Because, let’s face it, there’s just so many ways you can look sloppy and juvenile. Spring semester is for many guys a signal to pull on that tattered pair of cargos from underneath their pile of empty Gatorade bottles. And do they look good? In the immortal words of Cher Horowitz, “And we’re expected to swoon? I don’t think so.”

That being said, there are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind when you’re doing your spring shorts shopping:

1. Streamline your look – I know it’s tempting to get those super-useful, multi-pocketed cargo shorts with a special slot for your keys and your cell phone, but trust. The fewer bells and whistles, the better.

2. Two words: wrinkle free – It is no longer hip and grungy to wear wrinkled clothes. But since ironing is a pain, make it easy for yourself and find wrinkle-free shorts that can take a beating and don’t need much maintenance. (Read: less laundry to do).

3. When in doubt, khaki or navy – They’re two staple colors you should have in your shorts collection, simply because of their versatility. You can wear them all day with casual shoes and a t-shirt, then when the sun goes down, throw on a button-down shirt and blazer and voila, instant day-to-night transformation.

. Wear a belt – Please?

5. Board shorts are only ok to wear if you are: a) immediately planning on going into the ocean or a pool, or b) you have just come from the ocean or a pool and had absolutely no time to change.

6. Put down the denim. Walk away.

7. They’re not as short as you think - Many guys have an irrational fear of wearing “short shorts”. As a result, they end up walking around in what I like to affectionately call, spants. How to avoid this: When you’re trying on your shorts (you must!), put on a belt, stand up straight, and look at yourself in the mirror. If the hem is more than three inches past your knees, they’re too long.

If it’s your style, take some chances with your look - consider seersucker, plaid, olive green, and any other fabrics, patterns, and colors that catch your attention.