How Should Men’s Shorts Fit? A Complete Guide

It may seem like a simple question. But if you’re asking it, then you’re likely looking to up your fashion game. How should men’s shorts fit? We’ve got you covered. Here are a few rules of thumb to help ensure a great fit for all day comfort and the best look.

The Waist: Cutting Through the Confusion

When it comes to the fir of men’s shorts, the waist is clearly important. But there’s often confusion about what the phrase means. Does “the waist” refer to the top of the shorts—the part that will wrap around your body and then get buttoned up—or your physical waist, which is measured by wrapping around the navel area? This is how someone can wear a size “36” waist while their physical waist may actually measure a greater amount.

Since the physical waist has more to do with the fit of jackets and shirts, the “waist” we’re focusing on here will actually be the top of the shorts. When it comes to how should men’s shorts fit, that means the “waist” we’re talking about here is really the top of your hips.

How do you find the right waist size shorts for you? You can always look at the best fitting pairs of shorts you have in your wardrobe and note what the waist size is on the label. But keep in mind that some manufacturers don’t always stay true to size.

The Length: A Matter of Preference

Although it’s generally considered out of style to wear long men’s shorts that go well past the knees, you’ll still have plenty of personal wiggle room when it comes to the length of your shorts:

  • At the short end of the spectrum, 5” shorts like our Snappers will expose plenty of skin, making them cool enough for the hottest days of the summer. These shorts are appropriate for beach settings, outdoor events, and the like.
  • In the medium range, 7” shorts provide that tight, minimalistic look that’s so popular while giving you a little bit more coverage. These are the kinds of shorts that may never go out of style—worn with a proper top, they’ll fit in just about anywhere.
  • Going a little longer? 9” shorts might be your thing. These shorts can even go down to the knee for those with shorter legs. This can provide a great counterbalance visually to match a longer-fitting top if you have one.

The key to remember here: there’s no real right or wrong answer when it comes to the length and how men’s shorts should fit. The length of your shorts is less about the quality of fit than it is your personal preference.

Width: How Tight (or Loose) Your Shorts Should Be

This is where the personal fit really comes into play. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want your shorts to be loose enough that you can fit two fingers underneath, but not so loose that you can fit your entire hand between the leg and the shorts. Any tighter and the shorts don’t fit, either.

Shop Men’s Vintage Style Shorts Today

It may take some testing out before you get the hang of this. The good news? That’s the fun part. Browse all of our vintage shorts to find the best match for you and your style.