Quality is essential. “Because all of the important craft and detailing is in the top of the trouser (i.e, the waistband construction, pockets etc.), shorts are an investment the same way a great suit or coat is. Buy the best you can afford—which may just be better than you think, thanks to, yes, Gilt MAN.”
So is tailoring. “The perfect short for the office is a cut-off tropical gray trouser. Start with that perfect pair of pants, and then hack them off slightly above the knee (or, for those who are more thoughtful, take them to the tailor and have them professionally hemmed). If the trouser has a wide leg, have the tailor taper the top down so the leg of the short follows the shape of your quad. Culottes are not a good look.”
Don’t forget the footwear. “I recommend a proper shoe: wingtip, cap toe or double monk strap—never brand new, and brown rather than black. Also, never ever wear socks (at least those that show).”
Complete the look. “Your shirt should be a great rumpled oxford (blue, white or pink), or a killer madras plaid. If, like me, you wear a jacket (maybe in cotton khaki), it needs to fit perfectly and be on the shorter side. Belts are open for discussion, but a leather or croc belt should be in the same condition as the shoe—a little bit worn. Ribbon belts, macrame and the rest can all work too—but, remember, you’re paring back here, so less is more.”
Having said all that… “If you are super pasty, don’t fake a tan, just stick with long trousers.”
Take some time today to check out Cesare Attolini’s online magazine. Yes, a lot of it is just pushing their own products, but the articles are decent and the photos are fantastic. The best, I think, is their latest for FW11/12. If you can only check out one, I would recommend that issue.
"I really hate having things in my front pockets, but if it’s 100 degrees outside and you don’t have a jacket, you don’t have a choice. Where are you going to put your iPod? I’ll hold it in my hand because I hate having it in my pocket. The cargo trouser allows you to use the pocket, and because ours has a slimmer, tailored fit, you don’t feel your keys dangling all over the place."