Shorts Rundown

I get so many questions about shorts.  Which ones, the right inseam, cotton vs. stretch, and the list goes on.

Shorts have come a long way in the last 10-12 years.  Remember, it used to be a brand’s version of chino shorts, then you could add in some Baggies, Champion athletic shorts, Columbia fishing shorts, or some Wookie option from Kavu or REI.  Well, we aren’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

For shorts, my preference is to have them broken into a few categories:

  • Dress shorts – shorts that I wear with a button-up or nice golf shirt and bit loafers/Res Ipsa loafers.
  • Golf shorts (some overlap with above)
  • Casual shorts – shorts that are nice enough for a cookout, but you don’t sweat a mustard stain
  • Bum around shorts – for when you are ‘home sick’.

I’m also a big advocate of color.  You should have a khaki and a navy pair (of course), but it’s great to fill out the color palette.  It adds some variety and it’s high on style.

Here are some options that I like:

From Top Left:

1. Lululemon Commission Shorts:  These have essentially become my go-to shorts, especially for the golf course.  The fit is spot on, the fabric doesn’t look techy at all, and the stretch has is just enough give not to interfere with my missed fairways and three putts.
2. Birdwell Corduroy Shorts:  Birdwell is largely known for their board shorts, but don’t sleep on these corduroy shorts.  An ode to the old OP versions from back in the 70s and 80s, these are a really cool look for more casual situations.  Think Criquet shirt and Rainbows.
3. Patagonia Hemp All-Wear Shorts:  We talk about the Stand Ups and Baggies from Patagonia all the time, but these hemp all-wear shorts deserve a little credit.  The fit is a little less baggy than Stand Ups, therefore a little more dressy.  I’m not a huge fan of the label on the leg, but a Xacto knife takes care of it in ~30 seconds.
4. Onward Reserve Piedmont Shorts:  When Onward released these a couple of years ago, I got two pairs and have been a huge fan ever since.  They have held up extremely well, and don’t need any sort of alterations/etc. post-purchase.
5. Peter Millar Bedford Shorts:  Can’t ever sleep on Peter Millar.  Their Bedford shorts are fantastic.  Here’s how I handle the 9″ inseam: I order an inch bigger in the waist vs. my normal size, wash and dry, then have them tailored to my preferred outseam.  Boom.
6. Free Fly Hybrid Shorts:  These are essentially dressy athletic shorts, but they are really nice, especially when you don’t feel like wearing something with an elastic waist.  Keep in mind that they run a little big, so size down.
7. Duck Head Gold School Shorts:  Duck Head has really found their footing, and their recent release of the Gold School shorts in a 7″ inseam is a VERY welcomed addition.  These are your standard khaki shorts, guys.  They work with everything.
8. J. Crew Factory Reade Shorts:  The most cost-friendly of the rundown, J. Crew Factory offers 7″ inseams in a variety of colors that are ready to go off the rack.  It’s not a bad idea to have a couple of pairs of these on the ready….you never know.
9. Sid Mashburn Cotolino Garment Dyed Shorts:  These define ‘cool’.  The color is absolutely killer, but the Cotolino fabric is spot on.  These will be the coolest shorts in your drawer.

What did I miss?



  1. Brad Wesley
    05/19/2021 / 8:09 AM

    Those Patagonia’s are wonderful shorts. Lighter weight makes them perfect for the throes of summer.

  2. Scottie
    05/19/2021 / 9:34 AM

    I live on the coast, so Original Aftcos get the most use. Can’t wear em out.

  3. ABW
    05/19/2021 / 9:35 AM

    Look at the howler bro’s Clarksville shorts. Similar to the Birdwell ones.

  4. JAL
    05/19/2021 / 9:47 AM

    Hook & Tackle beer can island shorts. 5 inch inseam and they only look better with age. For less than $40 bucks you don’t sweat a fish guts or mustard stain!

  5. HLL
    05/19/2021 / 10:25 AM

    Too difficult and hot to wear 100% cotton shorts on the Gulf Coast without sweating through. Daytime shorts are always Aftco/Columbia/something to fish in. I still go rock Chubbies for the evening with a polo or oxford, especially with the new variances in material they have recently had and the price point is good.

  6. Will
    05/19/2021 / 11:38 AM

    In my routine, shorts don’t show up much unless it’s a “no dress code” situation. I don’t play golf and consider them too casual for the evening most of the time. (Unless you’re in Bermuda) So fir knocking around- aftco if you might get wet, baggies if you’re jumping in, stand ups if you’re hiking. I really have enjoyed the sporting gents club shorts for the standard cotton 7” if I end up needing that style. As hard as it is to buy Chinese crap from Amazon- their $25 5” shorts are super perfect for a knock around- I’d go there over something like chubbies or other label (if not us made)

  7. Stephen
    05/19/2021 / 12:40 PM

    Really love Bearbottoms 5.5″ in Sand Dune and Olive. Very similar to Chubbies but about $25 cheaper and no branding.

  8. NEM
    05/20/2021 / 9:58 PM

    Why on Earth wouldn’t a maker note the inseam of a pair of shorts they are trying to sell? Onward Reserve should know better.

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