Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Question From The Sartorialist Email – Slim Shorts For Men

I have not done this before and I’m not really an advice guy but I often get emails asking style questions so I thought it would be fun to post this one.

Dear Sartorialist
I love your blog TS. It’s just wonderful! It’s really a gift!

Can you help me. I’m trying to find men’s shorts that are tapered like Italian slacks. Thin in the leg instead of the ridiculous blouson shorts made by every single American manufacturer (and many European ones as well). I buy most of my suits/pants at Eredi Pisano. They have shorts in their catalog but you can’t get them here. Burberry’s has some thin ones but they are only so so. Borrelli’s are wide (surprising). Any ideas?

Dear Reader
I don’t know where to find truly tapered shorts (some of the madras seem a little more slim if you like madras) but shorter shorts are on the horizon which will have a more slimming effect.

Think tennis shorts – I saw a few editors in Europe during the mens shows doing it and I’m now seeing realistic versions in the showrooms.

Here is a guy at the Junya Watanabe show wear the shorter short successfully
Photo courtesy The Sartorialist on

Thanks for the question, I hope it helps.

Do any of the readers have a suggestion on slim shorts?


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  1. ClaireMarie

    July 26, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    well, short shorts only work if you have amazing legs like that guy – my dad has some tennis shorts circa 1984 that are white lacoste, which are awesome, but shirt shorts are harder to dress up. I was going to suggest Burberry, but The Sartorialist seems to cover it well! Good response.

  2. Anonymous

    July 26, 2006 at 7:06 pm

    Why not purchase a pair of fabulous tapered pants, hold your breath and send them to a great tailor? You could have them taken to any length you desire. My partner is notorious for doing exactly that and manages to look splendid in his slim shorts.

  3. Anonymous

    July 26, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    I believe some of the shorts made by the brand Modern Amusement are cut slimmer/tapered.

    And, as TS said, shorter shorts are on the horizon – streetwear brands have gone from baggy fitting pants to slimmer fits, so their shorts are starting to follow suit.

  4. Anonymous

    July 26, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    patrik ervell does slim shorts

  5. Anonymous

    July 26, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    Maybe your tailor could slim them down for you. There were some slim shorts from Jil Sander for S/S; but, I haven’t been in the boutique for about 2 weeks and I am sure that now all of the S/S merchandise has moved out for the F/W.

  6. Mr Seattle

    July 26, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    A friend of mine likes to wear that style of shorts. He finds most of his at second-hand clothing stores. But he’s also bought similar shorts from L.L.Bean, they’re called “Bayside Twill Shorts, Plain Front” and come in three different colors.

  7. Anonymous

    July 26, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    I’m generally turned off by guys who wear shorts, esp. this short. It seems a little pretentious–look at my great legs, etc. Few guys can pull it off…too much skin for my taste.

  8. Anonymous

    July 26, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    S/S 06 … Miu Miu

  9. Anonymous

    July 26, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    My Rosasen Plaid Shorts are rather slim.
    I take a 34. The outseam is 34″ and the bottom layed out flat is 11″ wide.

    Nice sale here…

    Also, I think Fred Perry and Penguin have some slim shorts.

  10. Rebecca

    July 26, 2006 at 8:06 pm

    I agree with the tailor plan.

    AND … just today I thought I saw a guy wearing short shorts. It turned out to be a mirage, but it’s time. It’s coming. It’s inevitable.

    AND … one cannot sag the short shorts. (Insert picture of me with happy face. Oh yeah, I’ve never shown my face.)

  11. ec10009

    July 26, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    I agree w/anon 7:06pm.

    I bought a 2nd pair of tapered trousers I liked and had them tailored into shorts. It’s amazing how the taper still reads. In fact, they were so tapered I felt that they looked better longer (just covering or mid knee). I was so excited by the results, I continued to experiment and tried it with cuffs and a nice crease… I have to say, they worked out (for me, of course).

  12. Anonymous

    July 26, 2006 at 9:13 pm

    I just bought some Engineered Garmets grey wool pinstriped shorts that are reasonably tapered. Try Saks or Odin (where I bought mine)

  13. ec10009

    July 26, 2006 at 9:20 pm

    I love the fit. I think it make the look a bit more modern (the narrow lapel helps too).
    The shoes perfectly ground the look. Otherwise, white bucks are too light (and a tad cliche) and definetly nothing darker.
    He definetly knows what works for him.

  14. Anonymous

    July 26, 2006 at 9:41 pm

    Thom Browne does have a fair number brilliant long/slim cut shorts. (And no,I’m not talking about TB’s full length pants that are often mistaken for shorts- that’s a joke people).

    I too, am a big proponent of being fearless and cutting down pants and altering the hell out of them. A while back, I was a Sarto subject wearing bright yellow shorts, which were indeed cut down from pants. I also alter those excessively baggy board shorts. I don’t want to look like I’m wearing culottes on the beach. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

  15. TJT

    July 26, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    i don’t have the budget for the designer shorts, which seem to make them slimmer. what i have done is bought the standard american short and had them tapered. it’s not costly (for the shorts or the tailoring) and you get it customized to your leg and preference. i had some gap shorts that were hideously wide and had them taken in. i love them! as for tennis shorts, Lacoste is the only way to go. very few men would look bad in them.

  16. tee

    July 26, 2006 at 11:04 pm


  17. ec10009

    July 26, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Weird… that last comment was meant for the guy in the green seersucker suit… Computer glitch?

  18. Casey

    July 27, 2006 at 12:48 am

    I say go with the shorter short. They were all over the runways this season. (Check out Gucci!)

  19. Anonymous

    July 27, 2006 at 1:48 am

    What about all the bermuda shorts we’ve been seeing this season? Theory came out with ones that are quite slim. In any event, the guy’s better hurry, because judging by what was shown during Milan Men’s Fashion week I doubt we are gonna get slim shorts next season.

  20. Fnarf

    July 27, 2006 at 2:47 am

    Penguin’s shorts are not horrible (that’s how low the bar is these days). Dare I say it — I’m wearing a pair of Lands End 6″ chinos, which are maybe too short for some people’s tastes but are at least not huge baggy below-the-knee atrocities. “Tennis short” is about right.

  21. fashmoda

    July 27, 2006 at 3:53 am

    I am not a friend of shorts. It often looks very ridiculous. ;-)

    But: The taylor plan is best. Tennis shorts are okay, too. But only with a shirt with long sleeves. And take care of the shoes – a heavy thing found the right shoes to wear.

  22. Anonymous

    July 27, 2006 at 4:48 am

    I think these shorts look too sporty. He looks like he’s on his way to play tennis, whereas I think the Reader wanted something to wear all day around town. My vote is for tailoring.

  23. jorzeep

    July 27, 2006 at 5:32 am

    for a cheaper choice, can try MUJI’s shorts, they are pretty slim and they’ve got black, gray and white.

  24. ken

    July 27, 2006 at 7:22 am

    I suggest going to a store that sells school uniforms for boys. They’re inexpensive and (if you go to the right store) you could get a pair in a smart, classy cut in colours like navy and grey. I’m Asian and 5’9 so it’s not too much of a problem for me to get a pair in my size, but kids these days are getting bigger and bigger so it shouldn’t be a problem for other guys too.

  25. pAralOx

    July 27, 2006 at 8:01 am

    Slim shorts??? By the seashore, maybe, but not downton!!!

    The worst in London is the mix of slim jeans and flip flaps (tongues), it is just hideous and appalling.

  26. argos

    July 27, 2006 at 8:38 am

    If anything, these should be referred to as “vintage tennis shorts.” Have you witnessed Pro tennis lately? Federer, Nadal,, wear them at or below the knee. If tennis is truely the inspiration, this is not where they are headed. Nadal has his own line and, they are even longer still, well below the knee. Did you not see them all over Italy?

    Basketball shorts used to be this short as well. I don’t see either coming back as short/short.

    Sarto belives this length is on the come-back and I tend to disagree as they are very uncomfortable when sitting thus, adoption rates will be low.

    IMHO, men look best in classic bermuda length, flat front, not too slim, not too baggy, not too long, not too short. Boys, however, are another story line.

    This just happens to be something I have been working on, with samples being complete in just a couple weeks, I will send you a copy Sarto. I am guessing you waist size at 33.

  27. Anonymous

    July 27, 2006 at 9:33 am

    I’m a big alterations man, almost everything I buy I still have altered just to get the fit right. I’ve done this to shorts, taper the leg and raise the hem a bit. I like that in between a bermuda or tennis short length. I must say that you featured a guy in yellow shorts a while back that had the perfect length and cut. If you had legs like his then you’re good to go. Good legs are a must for short shorts.

  28. Robo's Drone

    July 27, 2006 at 9:47 am

    Whoa. You have completely converted me with this one photo. This guy is completely rocking the short shorts. Now. I have to scrounge up the courage to sport this look when I head to Greece in a week. Thanks, Sart.

  29. jeff

    July 27, 2006 at 11:45 am

    i take all my shorts to the tailor to be slimmed. it has really worked for me.

    wearing them feels great too. you don’t feel like every other tom, dick and harry. feels a bit 50s retro. hope this helps!

  30. Pata

    July 27, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    Short shorts for men : at the beach, playing sports , at home …
    sexy !!

    In the city ? Naaaahhh….c’mon !!

  31. iopine

    July 27, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    Have some wide ones tailored?

  32. Anonymous

    July 29, 2006 at 9:44 am

    I do not know where to find them,other than have those hideous baggie overlong shorts tailored and show those great physiques that you guys have been working on…thank goodness they are on the way back..

  33. Anonymous

    July 29, 2006 at 12:47 pm

    Can anyone recommend a good tailor in the west village capable of pulling this off?

  34. Anonymous

    July 30, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    Hong Kong Tailor Jack has a store front on Waverly Place just off 6th Ave… across from Joe’s Coffee(great coffee)does nice work and very reasonable. Don’t let his saggy thread bare sweater with pin cushions all over it scare you…he also does great custom work.

  35. bonanza kid

    July 31, 2006 at 5:28 am

    american apparel has (or had, when i was in n.y. this may) short n’ slim tennis-esque shorts, if you’re not afraid of showing some skin they might work.

  36. Emma Rose

    September 6, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    topman has really cool slim fitting shorts for men… or they did last timei went in whcih was about a month ago… and tey had amazing indigo colour ones. so try there?? i went with my male friend trying to convince him to buy some… sadly he remained unconvinced.

  37. Anonymous

    August 7, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I don't know if anyone is reading this, but I recently bought some really comfortable and slim fitting shorts at H&M. They are great for dressing the up or just wearing casual.

  38. don de armond

    March 9, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    On shorts, SPORTIF USA short shorts for men made in British Hong Kong.
    Classic shorts from that era. My forty-year-old shorts in perfect condition.

  39. Ascot

    March 15, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Shorts are obviously simply chopped out from long pants leaving them looking like wide skirts.
    Then there are the ridiculous “shorts” that are either “long shorts” or “short longs” such as that uncouth character on ‘Storage Wars’ sports.
    Here were are, a number of guys looking for shorts to wear casually during the summer months, shorts an inch or two above the knees and tapered, and all we can find is to be told to head for a tailor and have the bell bottom monstrosities altered to suit.

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