Shorts for summer – casual sunny day look with white shorts and a chambray shirt

Posted by Atte Rytkönen on 22.7.2017 in General

What about shorts for summer? In terms of men’s clothing shorts are something that really divide opinions. Are they are suitable for grown up men to wear? And especially in what occasions a man can wear shorts. As summer is here, is is good time to take an update to this subject.

Another reason for this post is that this week I found an old pair of shorts from my office closet. A pair of crispy white cotton shorts with double-pleats and a little bit higher rise. I bought these years ago but I thought I had lost them at some point. Luckily I found them and they will definitely get a lot wear this summer. If the sun just starts shining at some point.

DLA guide to shorts - chambray shirt with white cotton shorts
Shorts by the sea and three buttons of the shirt unbuttoned.

Men – How to wear shorts?

In general, shorts can be tough to pull off even you wouldn’t think that in the first place. However one thing guys often seems to forget is that in terms of shorts the fit is as important as it is with any other garment. Often you see men wearing baggy shorts that are definitely too big and sloppy on thighs. Some are too long so that they look like some capri-trousers and some otherwise have just a bad fit. Naturally too tight fit is not good either. If you a are guy, you can’t wear “hot pants”-type of shorts. Leave those to women. Also leave denim shorts to women.

Shades of blue and white are always a safe choice to pair together.

There might be a couple of reasons why all men don’t pay that much attention to their shorts. First of all if you live in a country like Finland, the summer season is very short. You don’t even get to wear shorts that often. And other thing which is partly related to the first one, is that high-quality and well-fitted shorts usually costs the same amount than “normal trousers”. This can be a deal-breaker for many. They may think that “thy should I pay full price, if I get much less fabric than with full-length trousers.”

But one more time, don’t underestimate the influence of a good (or bad) fit.

Short with higher rise and chambray shirt with suede loafers
If you can find a pair of shorts with higher rise, try them.

Pair your shorts with the right kind of shirt

First of all, I personally like to pair my shorts with a shirt that features long sleeves. I know many like to pair their shorts for example with short-sleeve polo shirts and there is basically nothing wrong with that. But when I step out of our door, I need this kind of contrast for the look. Even though I usually then roll up the sleeves of my button-up shirt.

Secondly, one of my “go-to” looks when I need to go quickly to grocery store for example is to pair some of my favorite shorts with a lightweight merino wool crew neck sweater. Again I know some people think that why to wear knitwear if you wear shorts – that they are in conflict with  each other. I don’t think that way. If you have a right kind of a sweater, you can wear that even without a t-shirt. And that can be as light as wearing a short-sleeved shirt.

White shorts with chambray shirt

White cotton slacks are a summer wardrobe staple. The same applies to shorts. There’s probably no more classic choice than the basic whites; either in cotton, linen or mix of those two. But white color is always also a risk. You have very light or pale skin tone, white may not work for you. In those cases for example beige or a bit darker shade of brown is a good option. And definitely as classic as white.

For this post I ended up pairing the white shorts with a chambray shirt in a very light shade of blue. And with suede loafers. Classic color combination with shades of brown, blue and white. It’s always good to have a little bit contrast between the lower and upper body parts and if you wear white shorts, that’s quite easy to achieve. Just don’t wear a white shirt. Unless you are heading to the beach where it is 30°C hot and sunny. And you are well-tanned.

Shorts for summer - details

Shorts and a button-up shirt is quite a simple look. And if the garments fits you well, this can be quite a safe bet. Therefore you can – if you like – play with the little details to enliven the look. As mentioned above and as you can see from the pics, these shorts feature a bit higher rise than most options on the market. Also nowadays you don’t often see shorts with double-pleats on shorts. As I wanted to make this look kind of “Italian chic” I paired the shorts with a made-to-measure chambray shirt featuring hand-sewn Neapolitan shoulders and cuffs. And to wear it with three buttons unbuttoned.

Shorts with sport coat

Shorts are generally considered as a part of more casual dressing. Some may even think that shorts should not be worn in the cities. During the last few years however I think we have seen more and more shorts as part of more dressed-up combinations. And I would say that they have become appropriate to wear even for example combined with a sport coat. All shorts do not however work with all kind of sport coats or blazers. So one need to pay – I’d say a bit extra – attention how to combine different pieces in this puzzle. For one example check the post from last summer about wearing white shorts with double-breasted jersey blazer. Or if you want to go even further, you can read my earlier post about shorts as a part of a suit.

Still, I would not wear shorts for my own business or work related meetings.

Inspiration and 3x shorts for summer

As a sum-up I gathered four of my favorite “shorts looks” from my archives. The three first ones are taken by The Sartorialist Scott Schumann and in my opinion they very nicely sum-up the aesthetics and feeling you should aim when you wear shorts in the city. Any of these looks is not naturally business appropriate, but when you have that day off or you are on your vacations, I see no reason why you could not go for this kind of looks. I at least do.


And as a conclusion, here are three different kind of options to keep in mind in case you are looking for some new shorts to wear this season.

Shorts-for-summer-classic-navy-blue-cotton-shorts by Orlebar Brown

1) Classic navy blue shorts

There’s nothing wrong with playing safe. Neatly tailored appearance and slim fit provide a sartorial finish that will keep you looking smart no matter the occasion. Combine the basic dark or navy blue shorts with some contrast colored polo-shirt, classic canvas sneakers and a tote bag. And you have a simple, yet elegant and casual summer look.

Shorts for summer - Rubinacci pleated Ghurka shorts

2) Pleated ghurka shorts

Are you looking for something classic and simple, yet personal? The Bermuda shorts by Italian Rubinacci are dyed with a military-green hue. The pleats, engraved gold hardware and side adjusters are a sign of taste and attention to detail. Wear these with a crispy white button-up shirt and blazer or go contemporary with a basic t-shirt and sandals.

Shorts for summer - Orlebar Brown swim trunks

3) Printed swim shorts

Are you heading to beach vacation? Or to the French Riviera? British Orlebar Brown is well-known for their Bulldog Swim Shorts that feature tailored cut so that it’s easy to keep wearing them even while moving to and from the beach. This pair -printed with the photographer Slim Aarons’s iconic image of the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes will definitely get you noticed wherever you end up heading.