Primer’s Complete Visual Guide to Shorts – Updated!

Still struggling to find shorts that fit like a glove?

We’ve updated our Visual Guide To Shorts including everything from inseam length to trim, taper, colors and more.

When dialing in your style with shorts, you have to take into account the little details to form the overall look of your outfit.

With so many shorts options in every men’s clothing store, it’s extremely difficult to narrow down your options and choose the best overall pair or style for you.

We’ve simplified the process for you, giving you a wide array of options and suggestions that you can tailor to your own personal preferences.

In addition to giving you a starting point with the inseam, we also guide you through the proper accessories to complete your look and exude confidence.

Explore our visual guide below!



Choosing shorts is complicated. You don’t want a pair that flares out or makes your outfit baggy. We hope that you enjoyed this visual guide to help inform your style and improve your look.

Now, go out there and strut your new style!


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. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

  • kwalker

    Nice layout of shorts and styles. As one with shorter legs, it’s difficult to find shorts that are not too long. Good info as always, Andrew.

    • Andrew

      Glad you liked it! 🙂

    • Almarie de Villiers

      Have a good tailor or seamstress shorten it for you.

      • kwalker

        For sure I do. Especially with golf shorts because it’s extremely difficult to find those with shorter inseams. Thank goodness Gap and others are offering stuff that suits me.

  • PB

    My go to shorts are J.Crew Factory’s 11″ Rivington short. I’m a little taller with longer legs, so for me the 9″ shorts are my “absolute shortest.” But by far, my favorite shorts are my Rivingtons.

    • Andrew

      Nice! Yep, you have to know your body. One of things I think is so funny about how some folks talk about shorts length on the internet is how universal an inseam should be. But no one says your jeans should only be a 32″ inseam, because that obviously doesn’t fit everyones body. Shorts are no different, it’s not he inch length that matters, it’s the final look.

    • Dan

      I am 6’2-6’3, a 9 inch inseam looks a little to short for me. The other issues is as a former football player I have bigger thighs. So a lot of these modern slim shorts are almost always a no no

    • Bill H.

      Same here. The 11″ Rivington is my best bet as well. At 6’3″ those 9 and 10 inch options show a little more thigh than I’m prepared to…

  • jbird669

    Thanks for this!

  • RLM

    Hey Andrew, are the Florsheim Berkley Loafers an appropriate match for the shorts and styles you’ve shared? Looking great, as always

    • Andrew

      Yes definitely, you have to make absolute sure that the shorts are fitted – if they’re too baggy/loose the dressy loafers won’t look right.

  • Umair Bilal

    Thanks a lot for sharing this. I’m set for the summer!

  • gjackson

    Great job once again Mr. Snavely!

  • TSM

    I’m Mormon and wear the famous underwear, which goes to the middle of my kneecap. Any advice on shorts? Or should I just stick with pants (which sucks, because Arizona)?

    • Andrew

      If you can find a decent knee level pair that covers them that’ll work, or stick with lightweight chinos in the summer.

  • Nick Arcieri

    Andrew, thanks for the great article! Got it bookmarked and will refer to it regularly.

  • TJ

    Nice info. I’m a relatively tall guy at 6’2″ and while I know I could wear longer shorts and be ok, for me 7″ is where it’s at. Some say they’re too short but I think I pull them off.

    • Andrew

      You gotta do you! Every guy reading this site has had to deal with their friends giving them crap for dressing well. If you like it, rock it.

  • Nick

    this is a great post. really enjoying this site, very helpful. keep up the good work!

  • Aaron

    Great update! Your first one it seemed the shorts were longer than seems to be the fashion this year.
    Nice, simple breakdown. Well done!

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  • Eric Henao

    Boo to no plaid shorts, I say! Boo!

  • Danno

    My problem isn’t having shorts that are too baggy, rather, too tight! Any thoughts? My Crossfit obsession is starting to make finding well fitting clothing a problem. Shorts always get stuck on my quads, any suggestions? Know of a looser fit?

    • Justin

      I’m with you dude. Small waist and big thighs. The RVCA Americana shorts are my go-to.

  • Taylor

    No white or printed shorts?

  • Danny

    Whats the word on rolling the bottom shorts? To get the length I want I usually roll the bottom once — is that a fashion faux pas?

    • Andrew

      I think it should look ok, you can post a pic and we can take a look if you want.

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  • Wedge

    Great discussion!

    I am working to improve my style, and making a big change from the too big, barely sitting on my hips, and well below the knee style that all my old cargo shorts have. Worse is that they were so baggy that I look like I have toothpick legs, which is not the case.

    I really like how you have the inseams as a starting point. There is no replacement for trying clothes on, even though the shorts I just bought have an 11″ inseam and are called “relaxed” fit, on me they hit just above the knee and very slim fitting on me. Because the new shorts have a nicer profile, my calves and overall lower leg and feet look more proportional and just better overall.

  • Scott

    The Target oxford cloth shorts are some of the best options I’ve seen from any seller. They’re nice and cheap too, and come in a number of different colors. They’ve been my go-to options for the last couple years.

  • Scott

    The Target oxford cloth shorts are some of the best options I’ve seen from any seller. They’re nice and cheap too, and come in a number of different colors. They’ve been my go-to options for the last couple years.

  • Hans Servando

    entirely relative!!! In my country, and many places, shorts is never ever dressy, it’s ultra casual! Therefore to dress with tailored shorts and shoes It is an absolute no!!! so if you do, you will not do more than look like a complete idiot or a eunuch.

  • Eepi8d

    This post is awesome, helped me a lot!
    Could you also pull of a blazer with shorts, with v-neck t-shirt perhaps?
    Also maybe suede brogues as shoe of choice?
    Keep em’ coming Andrew.

  • A Thadeus Strángɇ

    Just curious. What if you *need* the additional pockets of cargo shorts? There’s not enough space to comfortably carry my “stuff” with regular shorts.

    • Andrew

      Function should always trump form, however you may want to consider a better alternative like a messenger bag or briefcase.

  • Joseph Proscia

    Andrew I have to ask. What is wrong with plaids?

    • Andrew

      They’ve fallen out of style in the last couple years, current summer trends are a little more muted

  • Atl2015

    Great overview and I’m glad you tackled footwear but I have a few different short colors (kahki, grey, blue) and am wondering if I can get a single shoe that works with all of them…shoe color may be the real question. Any thoughts on how shoe color works with different shorts? I assume it matters…thanks.

  • mchan1

    Not read about so much Bias on the types of shorts against now.
    preppy/hipsyer look vs casual joe look
    what about hiking shorts as many hilers prefer 5″ inseams for obvious reason?
    whats wrong with cargo shorts as some are neat in appearance but with the side pockets?
    check out the WSJ re cargo shorts article!!

    not everyone wants to be a hipster and everyone ages!

    what a biased article!!

  • PaisleyPower Pat

    great tips! i’ll shorten my shirts! Patrick, UK