Fashion Police: How Long Should Men’s Shorts Be?

how long should men's shorts be

When the hot summer months come, we all want to dress as comfortably as possible, but still look stylish and appropriate. While women have a wide array of fashion styles to choose from, men might not be as lucky.

Most summer outfits for men come down to wearing some type of shorts. As if lack of choice wasn’t enough, men also need to ask themselves a question: how long should men’s shorts be?

This might come off as a silly question, but if you are a man, you know that finding shorts that flatter your figure is not the easiest task of all.

4 Different Shorts Length


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Like pants, we also measure shorts by the length of the inseam. This is the length from the crotch to the hem. There are 4 standard and most common shorts lengths, although you might find others on the market as well. The standard ones, though, are 5”, 7”, 9”, and 11”. Which length you choose depends on several factors that we will discuss later in the article.

How Long Should Men’s Shorts Be?

Well, there’s no definitive answer to this question, but there are a couple of factors to consider. First, your height plays a major role in choosing the right shorts length. You don’t want to wear 11” long shorts if you’re a bit on the short side.

Also, you wouldn’t like your shorts to look too short, unless you’re a schoolboy. So if you are a bit taller, you’ll probably opt for a longer version.

Another factor that might actually make you break the rules is your level of confidence. If you feel confident about your thighs and are not too worried about how others perceive you, you probably won’t pay much attention to the norm.

What Length Shorts Are Most Flattering?


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Whether you’re more or less daring, certain short lengths will flatter your figure more than others. No matter how high your level of confidence is, we’re sure you don’t want to look ridiculous. Yes, shorts are perceived as a casual clothing item. But still, if you are an adult man, you don’t want to look sloppy or like a teenager.

So, if you want to look cool while rocking this piece of clothing, you need to choose the right fit and the right style. If you are going for a stylish and sophisticated look, there are a few rules you should follow.

The first rule of thumb is that the shorts should be 1”- 4” above the knees. Yes, you don’t want your shorts to reveal too much, but you also don’t want them too long. You will want to avoid the length that reaches the center of your knees, as well as shorts that go over the knees. This is considered a golden ratio when it comes to shorts science.

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Length for You

Right Length

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To avoid making fashion faux pas, here are some tips on how to choose the proper shorts length for you.

1. The Shorts Length Will Depend on Your Height

As we said, your height is the first factor to consider when deciding on the length of your shorts. But what does that actually mean? Well, If you are under 5’9”, the best shorts length for you would be 7”. If you are taller than that, you can choose longer shorts.

If you are under 5’5”, you can opt for a pair of shorts that is 5” long. We recommend you show more thigh here since this will visually extend your legs.

Those of you that are taller than 5’9” qualify for longer shorts without the risk of looking too casual or baggy. However, for best results, you might want to stick to a general rule of having your shorts a few inches above the knees.

2. Both Length and Width Matter

When choosing the right fit for you, make sure you’re paying attention to the shorts’ width as well. Choosing shorts that are too wide is another common mistake men make. Unless you have thick legs, you will want to avoid a leg opening that is too wide.

However, clothing manufacturers mass-produce most shorts. This means you might need to take them in a bit, so it’s useful to have a good tailor. Not much of a sacrifice to make if you don’t want your legs to look thin and weak! A tailor can also hem the shorts if they are a tad too long.

Choosing a slim fit over a regular fit is a good decision because most brands in the US are making shorts for a regular American guy. This means someone slightly overweight and 5’9’ tall. Still, be careful not to choose shorts that are too tight; you want to feel comfortable and have the freedom to move around.

3. Styles to Avoid

If you are going for a more polished and timeless look, there are a few styles you should avoid. Unless you want to appear too casual, or you’re actually headed to the beach, avoid large or floral prints. Hold on to small patterns and solid colors.

Also, steer away from large prints, especially if it is a brand logo. Having large prints on your clothes can generally show a lack of taste and will make you look unfashionable. And this is what you were trying to avoid in the first place!

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.