Looking Great in Shorts

Nothing better if they're right.

Wearing shorts is one of life’s great pleasures. When we are in shorts we are able to feel relaxed and carefree. Shorts are perfect for weekend hijinks, hikes, the beach, boating, bike rides, and barbeques. You know, all the really fun, most memorable moments in your life.

Shorts are inherently casual (see above) but that does not mean they should look sloppy or adolescent. Just because you are kicking back does not mean you should give up looking good. Why do so many men look bad in shorts? It’s pretty simple. They are not wearing them correctly – wrong fit and wrong style.

Stick to some simple rules. 

There are some pretty simple rules to keep you looking sharp (at PMNYC, as per usual, we have you covered).   We want you to know the best way for the shorter man to look great, even when you are at your most casual and comfortable.

There are two key components to making sure a short looks great – length and width. In sartorial terms, that would be your shorts inseam and leg opening. One should be just the right length and one should be just the right width.

The perfect short for every man should stop an inch or so above his knee. The distance of the short above your knee can vary, but for not-so-tall guys a short should NEVER fall mid knee or below. The best inseam for a man under 5’8” is 7 inches. It’s no surprise, that the Peter Manning Short has a 7” inseam. Anything longer is likely to be too long and won’t make you look your best.  

If you like a shorter short, you can go with a 5” inseam, which works on shorter men but can be a little short on taller men, in our humble opinion. Shorter shorts had a little mini revival recently. We are glad it’s over.

Some things to avoid. 

What is truly crucial for short guys is to avoid the wide legged short. The wide leg short balloons your silhouette just where you don’t want to be wider and definitely makes you look shorter. You don’t need a big billowy short ballooning around your thigh. 


The opening.

Keep the opening trim. At Peter Manning we recently reduced our opening a bit to further streamline our short but without sacrificing comfort. The key is for your short to make you look great but also be totally comfortable. A nicely tapered leg is what you are looking for, along with a medium rise. Too high a rise looks nerdy, too low a rise creates other problems.


If you like a little more casual vibe, you can fold up your hem. Most shorts have a about an inch hem. If you fold up the hem, and this only works on an appropriately slim short, you can shorten your short and achieve a more casual look.

With shorts there are a couple of things that shorter men should always avoid:

 -Cargo pockets. Cargo shorts are usually bigger and longer and do not help shorter guys in any way (no matter how comfortable!).   For the record, we don’t think they look great on taller men either!

- Large bold patterns. Keep to solid colors or subtle stripes or small scale checks and plaids. Big patterns are never great for us and should generally be avoided.   Always stick with smaller patterns and prints.

These are just a couple simple shorts rules to keep you looking sharp all through the spring and summer. Enjoy!