Primer’s Complete Visual Guide to Men’s Shorts

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Primer’s Complete Visual Guide to Men’s Shorts Updated

Guide to Men's Shorts Proper Cloth Custom Dress Shirts
how men's shorts should fit
how men's shorts should not fit
patterns and fabrics for men's shorts
best shoes to wear with men's shorts
accessories to wear with men's shorts
ugly men's shorts
best shorts for men
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Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page.

  • Max

    How about shoes for the summer that aren’t so expensive; maybe in the 30-40 range?

    I understand you’re paying for quality and all, but…anything above 90 seems overdoing it.

    • Christian

      I live in Australia although I have travelled a lot and I know you want to keep the look classy but you can go to a place like Kmart, Walmart or Target and find a pair of canvas sneakers, slip-ons or sandals all for a very reasonable price. Just shop around and remember just because it doesn’t have a name brand doesn’t mean it necessarily looks worse! Good luck and hoped that helped.

    • Makjang Noona

      For other people who find this post and have the same question (in the US): ROSS/TJMAX are your friends. TRUST me. I have found great shoes at a better price. They won’t wear out. Check Amazon for deals. Sometimes they have good ones. Save up and check Haute Look and MYHABIT to buy super designer shoes. They will last you forever and you will never go back. But consider paying $100 for $600 shoes. Yes. Your new best friends.

  • Steve


    you can definitely find some canvas sneakers or slip ons for that price range. look around for some coupons or deals. i believe converse makes some in that range as well, maybe slightly higher but definitely not $90

  • chenry


    Check Urban Outfitters. You can usually get some plimsolls there for 10-20.

  • Andrew

    Hey Max,

    The great thing about these shoe styles is that they can be worn all year, not just in the summer. That makes paying more than $40 for a shoe more reasonable, but many of these you can find frugally like Steve and Chenry noted.

    I picked up my white canvas sneakers from Lands End Canvas when they were having a sale a few months ago. They were only $15, and the boat shoes are less than $60 I think. Shoe warehouse type places are always loaded with driving moccasins, so you can find an inexpensive pair for probably $40. Same for the plimsolls. The only style that might be hard to get a good looking pair on the cheap is the casual loafer. The one listed above is a bit out of my price range as well, but it’s a great looking shoe and hard to find alternatives.

  • Bob Downs

    The Mobile version of this post is chopped vertically. I can only see the left half. There’s no scrolling available.


  • Andrew

    Hey Bob, Thanks so much for letting me know, I’ll look into it.

  • Max

    Thanks for the responses! I’ll have to find one of these shoe warehouses in my area. I’m really digging the driving moccasin look. I just really want a shoe that’s OK to wear barefoot; I do not like wearing socks in the summer, and I like the whole “slip-on and go” style of those shoes.

    • antlet

      Some loafers are great and comfy barefoot, but they should be soft, flexible and fitting like a glove, otherwise the feet will hurt and sweat too much from the friction.

      This works better if said loafers are lowcut, for men or unisex, it doesn’t matter, if you don’t mind showing more instep and I don’t because I often default to sandals when I don’t find a shoe I like for shorts :D, but I don’t think it would matters, otherwise you would always prefer wearing socks.

      I like these because the foot is only minimally encased, so that even if one tends to sweat, can get away with a bit of powder.

  • David

    Great suggestions. Especially the Sam Adams Summer Ale!

    And if anyone is on the fence for Bonobos, here’s the link for $50 off when signing up for their mailing list:

  • Andrew

    Thanks David!

  • comfort fiend

    Nonsense. If the legs end more than three inches below the crotch, you are not wearing shorts, you are wearing mediums.

  • Marc Hedglin

    I feel If one is taller he can get away with having the shorts end a couple inches above the knee rather than just an inch above

  • Andrew

    Hey Marc,

    I would say the taller you are the more important it is to NOT wear shorter shorts. Shorter shorts will emphasize more leg, making someone look even taller.

    There will always be fashionable gents that can pull off short shorts, but for the rest of us, I stick to the three lengths above.

  • Cory

    Great article! I’d like to share a word of warning, though – I recently bought two pairs of American Eagle’s prep-fit twill shorts (recommended in the article). After one wash I found that the shorts were wrinkled, and required ironing before I would even think of wearing them outside the house again. This may just be the “dude” in me, but I’m against the idea of having to iron anything that I would wear with a t-shirt.

  • andrew

    Hey Cory,

    Thanks so much for the heads up. Definitely something to consider.

  • anotherjames

    GAP 8″ shorts work best for me and at an easy price. I’m 5’10” so they are just above the knee.

    As for accessories – I also recommend Bell’s Lager for the hot nights on the back porch.

  • Andrew

    AnotherJames, Awesome, I’ll have to check the 8″ out. Never had Bell’s Lager, I’ll have to see if I can find some around here.

  • OnlyShawn

    One can also wear some sockless suede bucks with shorts. It’s a little more of a preppy look, but works well. I have inexpensive blue suede ones from Bass, as well as slightly more expensive (but still not unreasonable, and easily found on sale), but noticeably more comfortable, pairs of Johnston & Murphy’s in brick red and grey nubuck.

  • Jim

    Man I can’t believe I used to wear those dangly jeans when I was in my teens. I would stay away from them like the plague!

  • Bryan Jones

    This is a great article, especially since we’re in the midst of a severe heatwave. In these hot conditions, shorts have become as necessary as cold water.

  • Chris Mann

    I guess I wear shorts that are too short..

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  • riddly

    since you have encouraged me to comment- don’t wear shorts AT ALL if you have eczema, cheap tatoos that have no plan or artistic merit, or for any other reason that may not be pleasant to look at- good weather is not an excuse to cut the legs off an old pair of Jogging pants and display your pasty lower limbs to all and sundry. You live in a city, not on a desert island, good god man you look appalling!

    (from London).

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  • mastahapu

    great article boz..!

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  • Tom

    Bobs got a good point

  • Jojomogir

    If your name is Chip or Standish, then this page is right on, otherwise use your own judgment.

  • Mike Cook

     what the hell? i wear shorts often, and never would i wear any of those shoes nor wear shorts that short or tight. why??? because if i am wearing shorts i am going on some sort of outdoor adventure that includes running, jumping swimming. etc. why in the hell would you wear restrictive clothing like that? shorts are for cooling off, too right? well there is no way in hell i would wear shorts like that to cool off not even at home, i think that they are just a little butt huggy and i am not gay. ooops i said it yup if your a rich gay yuppy you wear it, but 99% of america is not how bout you get real, Running shoes with a comfortable pair of shorts that are at least 2 inches below the knee with a little bag to hide your ass, then your talking, denim and nylon welcome, the rest can be used as kindling in some nice bonfire with a few brewskies in the cooler.

  • Haha

    2 inches below the knee? Might as well wear capris

  • Ryan

    I think the ‘too short’ picture just looks off because the legs are too skinny. If you’ve got some swole quads, show them off.

  • Chris

    Your “Everyday Chino Shorts” selection thoroughly violates your prior, arbitrary length restriction.

    I think they look good, like shorts of that length can.

  • Southern Prep

    Clearly writen by a northerner (no offense.) Those “too short” shorts are considered perfect length for a southern fraternity man. Anything below the knees or with cargo pockets are looked upon with shame down here.

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  • R

    come on, can we stop pretending plaid shorts are okay?
    at least provide the disclaimer that they are not to be worn with any other pattern… especially not more plaid.

  • Geja

    From a woman’s perspective: excellent article! I wouldn’t disagree with a thing.
    For those of you trying to reason your modifications to this article, just admit you’re different & you don’t fit, or want to fit, into the norm. Everyone is different & maybe you’ll find someone who adores your differences. If not, return & refer to the above article. :)

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  • jonathan


    i know this is late, but i find soludos to be a great shoe to wear with shorts, especially on a casual day out. And they are in your price range!

  • Zaf

    what abt the hair on the leg while wearing shorts? should it be trimmed or something ?

    • Tynkyr Belle

      If you want to advertise your vagina, please, do.

      If you have a pair of testicles, no, you shouldn’t.

      Stop trying to be and look like a woman, unless that’s really your thing. Please tell us where to send donations for your sex reassignment surgery.

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  • mark

    what’s up with this east coast upper crust white boy look? America is far more diverse culturally today and people can bring different things to the fashion table. There are some good ideas here, but overall it is a bit toooooo white for my tastes. If I dress this way I would take on the name Chip or better yet, Taylor.

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  • Dbakeca Italia

    very interesting, I did not know it’s a rule

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  • John Kay

    “How to dress like everybody else who is trying to dress like everybody else” should be the title of this heinous article.

    • Andrew

      What would be different if you did an article on it?

      • Tynkyr Belle

        I’d add public shaming to anyone wanting to wear capris pants.

  • marvin nubwaxer

    who put anyone in charge as shorts police?

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  • Pablo

    It’s clear from this article that men have a long way to go till they find some self confidence in how they dress. Always looking for approval and needing to fit in. As a Menswear and Womenswear designer I have to have a full range of perspective when it comes to dressing. It’s true that certain situations have expected modes of dress, but this is about shorts. None of the shorts in the picture are bad to wear. Just depends on your own sense of individuality. Wear the top 3 and you are one of the type that doesn’t want to stand out. The bottom 3, you want to be your own man. Perhaps not the ‘man’ that everyone wants to be, but that’s the point, be your own man. Think of the occasion and consider it, but in the end, have the confidence in your decision and live ‘your’ life in the style you care to. If people laugh, then I hope you have a sense of humor too. If you don’t, sorry about that.

  • K Hardin

    I’m new to shorts. I’ve been so busy my daily life with work I never had a chance to wear anything outside of uniform, but now I am trying to change some things up. I have issues buying pants due to my size. When I try them on I have a 33 inch waist; however my thighs are about 30 inches each (school career of cross country and soccer). For shorts, what am I looking for?

  • Javier Rebagliati B.

    What’s the name for the length of the short short? (the one that’s recommended, obviously!)

  • joshsouzaphotos

    I usually wear pretty long shorts, I’m trying to change my attire a bit… but I won’t wear anything shorter ever than knee covered. No one wants to see man thigh, or possibly even some man parts when sitting down.

    • Aaron

      Even if your shorts are two inches above your knee, sitting down isn’t going to expose any man parts unless your man parts happen to be incredibly long. As for showing some thighs, it seems to have been quite popular with the ladies these days.

  • Tynkyr Belle

    MEN do not wear capris pants.


    Unless you want to advertise your vagina – don’t wear them.

  • Gino

    Sorry but the US is 12% black, 15% Latin, 4% others … the rest is white or so.
    Wearing XXL shorts and showing your butt and underwear is what clones do. And that goes to all races !

  • Gino

    Please, a lot of countries look at shorts as goofy or effemminate. Before packing, please read about the daily wear of the locals. Last thing you want to do is wear shorts or a hawaiian shirt and locals staring and laughing at you. Same goes for hiking boots.

  • Boris

    You haven’t got a fucking clue style-wise. How to look like a complete an utter spiv. Let me guess. To match those chino shorts, a nice v-neck sweater worn casually of the shoulders?

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  • Chuck

    Why avoid denim?

  • Lkinlin

    We are going on a trip to Europe and have been advised not to dress “American”. I think this is a great guide for men who will be traveling abroad & want not to bring attention to them selves as being American! Unfortunately looking American targets you to be pick pocket victim!

  • wtf am i reading?

    Aoid jeans and reccomend bracelets?
    Laughable combination. Really.

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  • Trevor

    These bright colors are for women.

    I just don’t repect feminized advice. Wouldn’t be caught dead in bright shorts. Pathetic…

  • Mike

    It is just stupid lunacy that a man can’t wear a pair of shorts above his knees without having his sexuality questioned. Very Sad.