Miranda Holder reveals her dos and don’ts for men wearing shorts – and why denim is off the cards


With the UK officially experiencing the hottest day ever this summer and many offices re-evaluating dress codes for men at work, the option to wear shorts is becoming more and more acceptable.

Despite being declared a fashion no-no by gurus such as Tom Ford and Savile Row’s Hardy Amies (unless actually on a beach), a shift towards casual dress means many gents are now embracing the style.

Whether it’s classic denim or a colourful pair of chinos, the possibilities are endless – but how can men get the best out of their summer looks?

London-based celebrity stylist Miranda Holder spoke to FEMAIL about the dos and don’ts for men wearing shorts in the hot weather.

Here, she shares her top tips…

DOs 

AVOID ANYTHING BELOW THE KNEE OR WITH PLEATS 

Commenting on James Corden’s look in July, Miranda said: ‘The perfect length on James, well tailored which flatters his frame and elevated with colourful sneakers. Great combo.’

Before considering anything else, the fashion expert noted the importance of a good fit – which she said is even more important when your legs are on display.

She said: ‘Pay attention to the length. Generally speaking you want to keep all the fashion action above the knee. 

‘Depending on your height, a 2-4in glimpse of femur can make your thighs look more shapely and keep things streamlined. Anything below the knee will visually cut your legs in half.’

Additionally, she advised ditching anything with pleats.

‘Shorts simply aren’t voluminous or drapey enough to carry this off,’ she said. 

‘Instead opt for a universally flattering flat-fronted number and if you’re in great shape, a slightly tapered leg will provide the ultimate definition.

‘If you are however a little portly, a straight leg can conveniently minimise a bit of a tum.’

INVEST IN NEUTRALS (AND NEVER FILL ‘STYLE’ POCKETS) 

Love Island's Adam Collard opted for the perfect pair of shorts for the tropical setting in this Instagram photo, said Miranda

Love Island’s Adam Collard opted for the perfect pair of shorts for the tropical setting in this Instagram photo, said Miranda

‘Neutrals by their very nature all go with each other, so playing it safe with some well-fitting shorts in navy, khaki or stone will serve you well,’ Miranda said.

She added you should consider how smart the pair of shorts is, and complete your outfit accordingly.

… BUT YOU CAN EMBRACE COLOUR 

Although it is always worth investing in neutral colours as wardrobe staples, don’t be afraid to make a statement in a few bolder pairs of shorts.

Miranda said: ‘[Shorts] have a relatively small surface area, and their ‘safer’ location away from your face means that many a wardrobe disaster can be averted.

‘If you’re in a dilemma about what to wear on top, white will always fit the bill and has the added bonus of toning the look down if you’ve gone too Club Tropicana.’

If you think white is playing things too safe, you can always try a colour clash, which ‘gives you licence to team any two random wardrobe items together and call it fashion’ according to Miranda.

‘If you are keeping things casual with jersey shorts or cargos (note the pockets are a style detail only and not meant to be filled, no matter how delightfully practical they are), a relaxed Tee or crew neck sweatshirt would suffice,’ she said.

‘For a more elegant option, a tailored flat fronted chino short would look snappy with a buttoned up shirt or knitted polo.’

However, the style guru advised keeping an eye on colour combinations.

In particular, she advised caution with white shorts, even though they are preferable in warmer weather as they keep you cool.

She said: ‘White can look very chic, will coordinate with anything, and is the ideal wardrobe weapon to show off that fabulous tan. 

‘However, if you are a messy eater or partial to a summer tussle on the grass, this unforgiving shade will keep a painstaking record of every little misdemeanour throughout the day.’

She added there is also a risk of the dreaded VPL (visible panty line) – which she warned is ‘not just a female phenomenon’. 

PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOOTWEAR YOU PICK

Unless you’re a very slim and very tall young man, it can be a bit risky to pair shorts with socks.

Miranda advised: ‘Play it safe and team your shorts with any shoe that can successfully be worn without an additional layer. Sandals, low top trainers and loafers are all solid options.’

DON’TS 

STAY AWAY FROM SKINNY 

London-based celebrity stylist Miranda Holder said that Shawn Mendes look in July was 'all wrong'. She added: 'His physique is impressive but it all feels a bit try hard.'

London-based celebrity stylist Miranda Holder said that Shawn Mendes look in July was ‘all wrong’. She added: ‘His physique is impressive but it all feels a bit try hard.’

Miranda advises giving skinny fit shorts a miss ‘unless you have the proportions of a giraffe’.

She added: ‘Wearing something figure hugging on your bottom half, particularly with your calves exposed, will only exaggerate any extra paunch lingering above.

‘It’s a supremely unfavourable look, and you’ll run the risk of resembling a walking talking Sponge Bob Square Pants which is far from ideal.’

In terms of how the shorts should fit, Miranda said: ‘You want your garment to lovingly “hug” your rear, with enough material to enable springing into action and rescuing kittens from nearby burning buildings without any chafing if required.’

Her top tip is that you should be able to ‘pinch an inch’ of extra material on your garment.

DENIM SPELLS DISASTER 

Smouldering snap: Zayn Malik soaked up the sun in denim shorts in April in a very rare candid Instagram post shared with his 45 million followers

Smouldering snap: Zayn Malik soaked up the sun in denim shorts in April in a very rare candid Instagram post shared with his 45 million followers

Whatever you do, avoid the denim cut-off short, which Miranda said is a ‘style disaster waiting to happen’.

She said: ‘However you style them – either eye-wateringly short, packet hugging and provocative; loose and below the knee like an oversized school boy in need of a nappy change, or super-distressed as if you’ve just had a fight with your lawn mower – chances are you will not look your best unless you are a fashion model, a rapper or starring in the latest diet coke ad.’

She added the soaring temperatures in the UK don’t mix well with the material, arguing it could bring about a ‘soggy bottom’.

In the name of sustainability, you could always re-fashion a pair of jeans into ‘jorts’, but the style guru suggested saving them for indoor activities, like DIY.  

In particular, Miranda advised moisture-absorbing fabrics like cotton and linen for the hot weather.

DITCH COMFORT OVER STYLE

'No, just no', said the celebrity stylist when seeing this ensemble on actor Russell Crowe in July

‘No, just no’, said the celebrity stylist when seeing this ensemble on actor Russell Crowe in July

While comfort is key, don’t fall into the trap of getting ‘sloppy’. 

The fashion expert said: ‘Technical fabrics such as swimwear and sportswear, should be worn on appropriate occasions only and not adopted into your everyday wardrobe, no matter how comfortable they are.

‘Drawstring waists are the enemy of looking dapper, as they add unnecessary bulk and rarely hang well, not to mention cutting in and adding extra bulges. 

‘If you really must don a pair, at least add an untucked shirt to disguise the muffin top.’

While jersey shorts have become popular this season, Miranda recommends keeping them in the home.

She said: ‘Loungewear has a place – and the fewer people who witness you wearing it in summer ’22, the better.’

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