The shorts season is, well, short, which means we don’t get a lot of practice styling them. Here’s a helpful guide:
In a neutral stone or navy, they go with almost everything. They’re smart enough to wear with a short-sleeved shirt to more casual offices but relaxed enough to wear with t-shirts. Look for a zip fly and button closure, a just above knee length, minimal pockets and details, and a mid-weight cotton twill material. Use a woven belt or a plaited leather belt and wear with sandals (no socks), or lightweight minimal trainers, deck shoes or espadrilles with trainer socks if you prefer.
If your office is hot and you want to be cool and look smart, these are the shorts you need. Tailored shorts have pleats and tucks that help them sit neatly and look elegant. Look for the same things you’d look for in tailored trousers: a good fit, a zip fly with a flap closure, thin belt loops and a sharp crease or pleat down the front of the leg. Wear them with crisp short-sleeved shirts, a lightweight blazer, slip-on summer shoes or even brogues (use trainer socks though).
For maximum versatility (especially when packing for a holiday) choose swim shorts that look like normal shorts. Look for a zip fly; length that hits just above the knee; a solid colour; and fabric that’s not too shiny. Shorts which have a drawstring closure or loud pattern are fine for swimming but won’t double as normal shorts. They go with t-shirts, polo shirts or a linen shirt. Dress them down with flip-flops for the beach but if you go out for dinner choose shoes that are a little smarter such as canvas shoes.