Free the knee!
Not enough men wear short shorts, in our opinion. But maybe now with Donald Glover as the new face of the hot pants movement, things will finally change.
The Atlanta The actor was recently photographed in Manhattan in a monochromatic yellow outfit that included a bucket hat, sneakers and, yes, cropped shorts, signaling the start of another “thigh summer.”
ICYMI: Last year, Milo Ventimiglia was photographed wearing gym shorts exposing his hamstrings, which led Voice to declare the summer of 2021 as “the summer of the thighs”. The social media reaction to Glover and Ventimiglia begs the question: why aren’t men wearing more short shorts?
On the one hand, menswear can be creatively restrictive. Clothing is generally minimal and predictable, leaving little room for self-expression. But there is more to the story.
Most of the comments about Glover and Ventimiglia were related to their attractiveness, especially their toned physique. There seems to be a misunderstanding that to wear short shorts you have to be thin or muscular, reminding us all that fatphobia is just as pervasive in menswear.
A little history lesson: short men’s shorts were popular in the “everything is fine” decade of the 70s and into the 80s. From Harrison Ford to John Travolta to Tom Selleck, small inseams were at the fashion. Then, in the 90s, we said goodbye to men’s thighs and welcomed low bottoms. It was the dark age of cargo shorts, with lots of pockets and zippers and lots of extra material.
Although cropped shorts were brought back to the menswear catwalks in the 2000s, the garment had yet to re-enter as a summer staple – until now. During Paris Fashion Week spring 2023, the genderless label EgonLab presented a collection of micro-mini shorts. Prada’s menswear show also featured a selection of leather hot pants.
Designers are clearly trying to rewrite the narrative that menswear is boring. The resurgence of cropped shorts could also be linked to broader sartorial trends, such as gender fluidity. But with the widespread adoption of above-the-knee stockings, one important element is missing: sizing diversity.
The body positivity movement has focused more on women’s clothing, and we’ve seen some small changes on the catwalks, in brand campaigns, and in size ranges. But just like the micro-mini skirts that invade women’s fashion, micro-mini shorts for men are only seen on slender models.
In fact, the tall, muscular male archetype has yet to be significantly challenged on the track or in many male size ranges. According Business in vogue, only seven of the 77 brands in the men’s fall 2022 season featured plus-size models. And this spring 2023 season would not be better.
But there has been progress. Take Rihanna, who enlisted non-skinny models for her Savage x Fenty campaigns, or designers like Willy Chavarria, who sent men of varying sizes down the runway. On TikTok, acceptance of the male body is gaining traction, with millions of views on videos discussing the effects of body shaming and the importance of size representation.
The radical return of the once maligned men’s short shorts signals a time to rebel. As risque clothing makes its way into the mainstream, it’s time for a paradigm shift in male body acceptance. Next step: crop tops.