Shorts Size Guide – How To Fit Shorts

You put a lot of time and effort into getting your pants to fit right. You think about the hem, the length, and whether it will fit without a belt. So why do so many of us forget completely about how to fit shorts? Wearing fewer layers in the warmer seasons, you have less flexibility when it comes to pulling off a classic look. To get a custom-tailored style, you need to know how a classic pair of shorts should look when they’re the perfect match for you. Use this shorts size guide to get the perfect fit!

Waist: Follow the Usual Procedure

Let’s start from the top. Aside from differences in brands, the waist on your shorts will generally fall in line with the waist size of your pants. When it comes to the waistband, there’s very little separating the two. That makes this the easiest measurement: simply take your favorite pair of pants and have a gander at its label. If you buy from the same store, you’ll have a good idea about the size of shorts you should seek out.

When you buy across different stores and brands, you might find there’s a little variation. Take advantage of exchange and return policies to ensure you end up with the right size.

Length: Where Should Your Shorts Stop?

There’s no definitive shorts size guide for length. The bottom line is that it’s up to personal preference. In recent years, the trend with shorts’ length has generally moved upward. Gone are the days of knee-covering cargo shorts—instead, you’re more likely to see minimalistic shorts in the 7-9” range. For reference, have a look at our Snappers 7” Pull-On Shorts. (A side note: you’ll find elastic waists on those pull-on shorts, which gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to fit!)

You might hear basic “rule of thumb” recommendations for the length of your shorts, but here’s something you need to keep in mind: everybody is different. If you have shorter legs relative to your torso, you might want to trim the length of the shorts you buy. This exposes more of the leg, giving them a longer visual impression. At the other end of the spectrum, compensating with some added length for longer legs is another way to bring balance to your silhouette.

Width: The Forgotten Measurement

Shorts are supposed to be open and breezy, so we often don’t think much about how wide our short legs are. But the truth is, shorts that are too open and billowy end up giving us an unflattering look: as though our hips are wider than they actually are.

How do you avoid this problem? Simple: if you can fit more than a few fingers between your shorts and your thigh, you probably have some extra room to bring the shorts in a little bit. And if you’re able to pull the shorts as far as four to six inches from your thigh, it’s a sure sign they’re simply too big and too wide.

One last thing: Where Should You Start?

You’ll find all of the great shorts options you need right here at Vintage 1946. We offer many variations to help you find the perfect fit. Be sure to check out our 5” Snappers, 7” Twill Shorts, and 9” Twill Shorts!