15 Best Men’s Casual Shorts: Khakis & Chinos

 

Figuring out which style of casual shorts is right for you can be a really tough task. There are a ton of different lengths, styles, and fabrics you can choose from. Luckily we are here to help. These are the best men’s casual shorts to make your summer shopping a bit easier.


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You Say Khaki, I Say Chino

When you talk about men's khaki shorts, you're really talking about the color of the shorts. Khaki is, in fact, a color and a fabric. But on the fabric side, it's usually a bit coarser and thicker than chino fabric.

So most shorts in this list are chinos, which is another type of fabric -- one that has a tighter weave than khaki fabric. They're both extremely similar to one another (both have their origins in military wear), but chinos are what you're going to find the majority of the time, no matter what anybody calls them.

Nine times out of ten, nobody's gonna know the difference between the chinos and the khakis.

The list below isn't ranked. We're just numbering them for convenience. The photos each show what we think is a great looking pair of shorts. But remember: each pair is available in a lot of different colors.

Whatever you pick, you'll be able to dress it up or down, depending on what else you're including with your fit (shoes or flip-flops? tucked or untucked shirt? etcetera). And for more info on getting the right fit -- using the 5-7-9 method -- check out the advice at the bottom of this list.

 

Men's Casual Shorts: Fit & Length

If you want the shorts to go to or below the knee, you're talking about an inseam that's more than 11 inches. Generally speaking, here's the way shorts lengths work:

  • 5" inseam: these are mid- to upper-thigh length
  • 7" inseam: these are mid-thigh length
  • 9" inseam: these are the just-above-the-knee length

For the past few years, the trend has been shorts coming about to the knee, although the celebrity style watchers are taking note of some shorter, some longer (even below the knee).

For a long time -- and into eternity -- the important trend is for shorts that fit well. Take this comment from The Trend Spotter:

“Shorts, given their casual reputation, can read messy and unrefined if done in the wrong fabrics and if the fit is off.” – The Trend Spotter

This statement indicates a more tailored look. It’s saying, “You wouldn’t wear sloppy, poor-fitting pants, so don’t wear sloppy, poor-fitting shorts.” Now juxtapose that with this from GQ:

“It makes sense that as pants get looser and more relaxed, shorts would follow suit.” – GQ

GQ, ever on the lookout for what the trend-setting celebrities are wearing, points to the actor Shia LaBeouf and the recording artist Frank Ocean for helping to loosen the ideal on what the best shorts are.

The upshot is this: it’s about what you like. What works for you. Our list has some shorts that are more tailored, some that are looser. All of them are flat-front, but pleats shouldn’t be ruled out, particularly if they’re small pleats.


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