When it comes to summer style, few trends manage to capture the imagination in the same way as short shorts. Simultaneously both kitsch enough to be ‘cool’ and fun enough to be carefree, there’s a reason this style has endured decades of trends in men’s fashion and style.
The humble men’s short short has a long and veritable history in fashion and pop culture. Films like The Talented Mr. Ripley (set in 1950s Italy) established the styles as European summer favourites. The disco era of the 1970s was when the style hit its peak – and was realised in everything from athletic shorts to denim cut-offs, confirming their place as a piece of cultural iconography synonymous with the carefree attitude of the era. Continuing into the 1980s, TV shows like Magnum P.I. embraced short shorts busting crime in Hawaii, whilst maintaining their place in the world of athletics with the rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the NBA. Throughout the 1990s, short shorts gave way to baggy jeans and cargo pants, before making a resurgence in the 2000’s in ‘barely there’ denim cut-off styles and the ever-present on-court athletic styles donned by athletes and aspiring athletes alike.
Now, the thigh-grazing styles dominate the runways, with the likes of Fendi, Off-White and Hermes all featuring short shorts in its SS19 runway shows. It was Prada, however, who really took things to new heights with no fewer than 23 styles of short shorts walking the brand’s runway in Milan last year. The trend continues into SS20, with the likes of Jacquemus, Saint Laurent and Versace heralding a new wave of thigh-high styles for the coming summer.
According to figures published in Business of Fashion, this trend is very much here to stay, with Browns increasing their buying budget for shorts for 2020, and MATCHESFASHION roughly doubling their buy for the same period, after an already substantial increase for 2019. “We have earmarked it as probably the biggest trend of the season,” Browns buyer Dean Cook revealed. “Next year you’re going to see a hell of a lot more people wearing them.”
To echo The Royal Teens, and their iconic 1958 song ‘Short Shorts’: Who wears short shorts? We wear short shorts.
Shop ICON’s edit of the best styles available to buy now:
Jacquemus White ‘Le Caleçon Felix’ Shorts / $240 AUD SHOP NOW
Prada Belted Mohair-Blend Shorts available from MatchesFashion / $1,305 AUD SHOP NOW
Versace Logo Patch Boxing Shorts / $760 AUD SHOP NOW
Louis Vuitton Brown Cotton Shorts via Vestiaire Collective / $306 AUD SHOP NOW
Gucci GG Nylon Swim Short with Bee / $515 AUD SHOP NOW
And finish off with:
Gucci Men’s Ultrapace Sneakers / $1,180 AUD SHOP NOW
Words: Jake Halpin