It’s finally starting to feel like spring. After one of the bitchiest winters in recent memory, signs suggest that summer is actually coming. With temperatures flirting with 70°, men in the city are already starting to show some leg.
I don’t wear shorts in the city. In the midst of our culture’s relentless quest to recapture the ultra casual comforts of a onesie or a softball practice outfit in adulthood, I won’t do it. The inner child seems to be flourishing. It’s the inner adult I’m worried about.
I’m all for flashing a little leg in the right place, at the right time and on the right guy. As someone with reasonably good sticks himself (so I’m told) and an appreciation for breezy style modes in hot weather, I love a short pant. But in the city – a world capital in fashion, design, finance, media and entertainment, a city that asks for a certain grown-upness, a city to which many other cities aspire – I draw the line.
Don’t get me wrong. I most certainly wear shorts, but I only wear them in specific instances.
When I participate in something athletic, I wear shorts. By participating, I mean actual participation, not spectatorship or non-participatory enthusiasm. When I go for a bike ride on a hot day or if, god forbid, someone asks me to play third base in a softball game, shorts it is.
In warm weather, I also love wearing shorts when I’m water-adjacent. This includes beaches and pools. I’ll even sport shorts or swim trunks at a plush rooftop pool right here in Gotham, but I’ll wear pants in transit and change when I get there.
When I’m away from the city in the summer, visiting someone’s summer weekend escape, it’s shorts time. And when I vacation in warmer latitudes in any season, like visiting my sister or mother in Florida, my long pants get a vacation, too.
On all other occasions, I wear pants – the big boy kind – in light cotton, linen or a blend thereof.
In a recent article in The New York Times Style section, the appropriateness of men baring calf in shorts was called into question. The story cited Pharrell Williams at the Oscars in a tuxedo with shorts, a look that seemed more appropriate for the nightclub vibe that is the Grammy Awards. There was also mention of “shorts suits” or blazers/jackets with shorts, which is a great look… right up until your eleventh birthday. Perhaps the only exception to this would be Nick Wooster, whose entire iconic look and public image is largely built around the jacket-with-shorts thing. He’s owned that look for years. (And Nick’s got those killer gams.) Everyone else just kinda looks like a Wooster Wannabe, or the young Patrick Dennis in Auntie Mame.
For myself, I wouldn’t try it. It would be exactly that: trying (too hard). The big city just strikes me as a pants kind of venue. With the exception of the bike ride thing (or other legitimate athletics), I can’t bring myself to leave my apartment and step out into the New York City public in shorts. That’s just me.
FEATURED IMAGE ABOVE (from left): Dsquared, J.Crew, Todd Snyder, J.Crew, Richard James. Photos from Style.com