The Best Casual Shorts For Men
Wearing shorts has always signified a sense of casualness. In fact, some people still believe that shorts should never be worn to work, even though today most workplaces have adapted a more casual approach to office culture. So, unless you’re working in a finance or law office, a great pair of shorts is probably a safe bet.
That doesn’t mean you can throw on your 90’s cargo shorts and set out to the office – you should never wear those – but a nice chino paired with a button-up or even a crisp T-shirt will do the trick. Remember, first impressions and a sense of togetherness will go a long way in the workplace as well as in your personal life.
Outside of work is more casual but you should still take care to make sure you are wearing the right shorts to the right occasions. You don’t want to show up at a social event wearing gym shorts or swim trunks. Choose something slightly more sophisticated and make sure to dress it up nicely. The best short is most likely some variation of a chino short, so look for the details and pay attention to fit when picking the one that’s just right for you. Your choice of footwear and what you wear on top is crucial here. A quality pair of chinos paired with loafers and a blazer is perfectly acceptable for any occasion on a hot summer day. Your boxboard shorts and tank top are only appropriate for pool parties and the beach.
Today we have so many styles to choose from. Whether you prefer a slightly roomier pleated short or a slimmer chino, the most important thing to consider is fabric and fit. So many brands offer casual shorts constructed of more technical fabrics often reserved for outdoor and sports activities that look and feel exactly like a nice cotton chino but will wick away moisture and offer added breathability. These are great for those extra hot days.
So where do you start? We’ve compiled a list of our favorites to help you narrow your search, so you can spend less time hunting for the best shorts and dedicate more time to sipping cocktails with your friends.
The 10 Best Casual Shorts
J.Crew 9” Stretch Chino
As one might expect from J.Crew, this short is the perfect mix of preppy and sporty casual. It’s a stretch version of the signature weather-beaten shorts from J.Crew. It’s available in 7, 9 and 11” inseams. We think the 9” is perfect. This chino is as classic as it gets, and the stretch is a bonus that allows you to take it from work straight to the tennis courts or the patio. What makes it even better is that it’s available in a slew of faded hues that are just perfect for the summer months ahead.
Noah Double Pleat Shorts
If you’re looking for a roomier fit that still fits in with the Hamptons crowd, Noah’s got you covered. Made in Italy from a beautiful cotton herringbone twill, these shorts feature a generous double pleat and a folded hem finish for a little extra vintage flair. This short might just be the best vintage fit out there. The shorts have a button fly opening, two welt front pockets and two back flap pockets. Available in black, orchid, tan, and dark teal, all the colors are dead on for the season. There’s a woven label on the back, letting everyone know that you know what’s up with men’s fashion.
Everlane Performance Chino
With all the technical advancements in fabrics in the last few years, many fashion and staple goods brands are offering classic silhouettes and styles featuring technical fabrics that look and feel just like typical cotton chinos. These Everlane gems are a perfect example of that unison. These 4-way stretch cotton shorts wick away sweat and are coated with quick-drying functionality. So, you can move freely all day long, and you won’t have to deal with the dreaded chafe that sometimes likes to ruin a perfect summer day. And what’s even better, like all Everlane offerings, these shorts are reasonably priced and offered in a perfect color palette for everyday life.
COS Drawstring Shorts
The only drawstring shorts on the list, these COS shorts are not what you would expect in a drawstring short. As anyone who shops COS might expect, these shorts offer minimalistic styling in a great relaxed fit that you will want to wear every day. Made from lightweight organic cotton, the shorts feature two front seam pockets and conspicuous back patch pocket. Every detail is clean and crisp, and the fabric has a great hand feel. The light blue and dark navy offerings are just perfect and will easily blend with your summer wardrobe.
Aimé Leon Dore Mountaineer Shorts
Although a little bit more outdoor inspired, this short is sophisticated enough to wear just about anywhere. The pocket details are super trendy, and the fit is just roomy enough to wear all day long without restricted movements. Starting with the cotton canvas fabric, wide military belt loops and multiple pocket configurations, this is one for the best utility shorts we’ve seen in a long time. It might just be the only utility short you can wear to that casual cocktail party with ease. The minimalist branding adds a nice touch.
Scotch & Soda Printed Cotton Blend Chino
These slim-fit shorts are slightly longer than the others on the list but the fit is impeccable. And although printed shorts can be quirky and novelty based, this seashells print is subtle and sophisticated and perfect for a pair of crisp shorts. The cotton blend is super soft and the slated front pockets and buttoned back pockets dress up the short just enough to pass it off for any occasion.
Kit and Ace Full Potential Shorts
Kit and Ace prides itself on offering technical pieces that are built to last, easy to care for, and most of all, easy to wear. Their designs are meant to transition from work to play, and their minimalist approach to fashion also ensures that you can keep wearing these garments for a long time. These shorts use a water repellant fabric that also boasts quick-dry technology, meaning your shorts will always be dry. The side seam pockets have a zipper closure – a great feature that ensures nothing will be spilling out of your pockets when you sit down. The fabric is also super stretchy, so your movement is never restricted. If you want a luxurious short that looks good in any setting and feels as versatile as an athletic short, this is the one.
Levi’s Chino Standard Taper Fit Shorts
Don’t worry, we’re not posting a denim short. This Levi’s chino is a great fit with a slight taper. We love the stretch twill and the classic design of this short. It has two side slip pockets, a buttoned back pocket, and all the details of a classic chino.
APC Terry Shorts
This single pleat short offers a nice roomy fit and pairs well with just about anything. The details are spot on and the Italian cotton polyamide gabardine is sturdy yet super breathable. With the blind stitch throughout the garment, these shorts are really clean and sophisticated. You can definitely wear these to work.
Uniqlo JW Anderson Pleated Chino Shorts
The JW Anderson Uniqlo collection offers easy-to-wear staples with elevated design details at a price everybody can get down with. These shorts feature a beautiful, breathable cotton slub fabric. The shorts feature welted front pockets a subtle JWA embroidery above the buttoned back pocket.
Personal style plays a role here but it’s important to find a short that is neither too short nor too long. Too long is too casual and unsophisticated, while too short is just awkward. Usually somewhere between 9 and 12 inches will do the job. And remember, length is not everything. Make sure the fit is appropriate. Too loose or baggy is sloppy while too tight will once again be awkward for you and everyone else around you. Try them on and make sure you feel comfortable and confident.
Although some would disagree, we feel it’s absolutely okay to wear shorts to a business casual office. How you choose to pair these shorts makes all the difference. Make sure to wear a dressier shoe, like a loafer or oxford. Wear solid-colored socks, dress up your shorts with a nice belt and, of course, make sure your top is a little bit more sophisticated on the days you wear shorts.
No. Unless you are working at a music festival or in a wood shop where you might need the extra utility pockets, you should never wear baggy cargo shorts. We let it slide when you were a teenager, but as a grown man, it’s just way too sloppy.