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‘Short’ cuts to summer style

Academy Award-winning movies and fashion designers are showing a refined side to shorts

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in ‘Call Me By Your Name’.
Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in ‘Call Me By Your Name’.

Luca Guadagnino’s 2017 coming-of-age movie, Call Me By Your Name, hasn’t drawn attention just for its screenplay, music, or nuanced portrayal of gay relationships. Fashion critics have also hailed the movie as a mood board for summer dressing in 2018—for lead actors Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer wear shorts paired with Oxford shirts and T-shirts.

Traditionally, shorts were meant to be worn by boys—the transition from shorts to trousers in school marks a coming of age. Among adults, these garments are, for the most part, credited for their comfort and utility value over style.

Shorts are for cycling and working out, or for lazy weekends. Wearing them to formal occasions is such a taboo that some offices explicitly bar men from wearing them to work. “Flip-flops and shorts in the city are never appropriate.... Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or on the beach," said designer Tom Ford in 2011, echoing the disapproval of many a generation.

Photo: Zara

Focus on tailoring

Ford, it turns out, wasn’t quite right. Plenty of men are eager to wear shorts in cities and designers are re-imagining the garment with new fabrics and tailoring.

According to Mumbai-based stylist Divyak D’Souza, formal-wear offers great lessons on how to wear shorts with flair. “Fit and length are crucial to achieving the sharp look," he says, suggesting pale-coloured trousers that end at the knees. Neutral shades like sand and beige are fail-safe, while tailoring details like pleats and pockets add a refined finish. “Wear a pastel-coloured shirt with Khadi shorts and you’re on-trend for summer," suggests designer Amit Wadhwa, whose Spring/Resort 2018 collection includes handloom shorts.

Photo: Debenhams

Suit up

Shorts-suits are even making a mark on the red carpet. Pharrell Williams often wears these, while designer Thom Browne accepted his Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. Menswear Designer of the Year award in 2016 wearing a tuxedo shorts-suit.

D’Souza is all for the formal twist. “A linen shorts-suit is great for summer—wear it with loafers, sunglasses, and a watch, and you are ready for a destination wedding," he says.

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