Saturday, June 14, 2008

The short story on shorts

The length of men's shorts over the years has piqued my curiosity over the years. Growing up in the '70s, shorts for basketball (pre-Jordan era) and tennis (think John McEnroe) were, well, short. For swimming, however, the bikini-like Speedo was even shorter. Shorts, whatever their length, have a functionality in sports, which often influences fashion trends.

Thanks to Michael Jordan in the early '80s -- longer, baggier shorts have become the norm in the NBA, and has carried over into everyday casual wear. In tennis, shorts have gotten relatively longer over the years, but Spain's Rafael Nadal took them to another level in recent years: below the knee, Capri style.

Capri pants (or shorts?) are hardly new. According to Wikipedia, Capris were designed in the late 1940s by Sonja de Lennart and gained popularity among women thanks to The Dick Van Dyke Show in the '60s. Nadal, the reigning four-time French Open champion, certainly has brought Capris full circle.

Capris are different from "plus fours" in that the latter are usually made of wool and have fasteners or elastic that keep the hem fitting snugly around the leg.

I prefer Capri-length shorts primarily because they do not expose knobby knees and are a better complement with summer sportcoats. With shorter shorts, I would opt for a cotton or linen sweater when the sun sets, but not a sportcoat that exceeds the length of my shorts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really don't like the baggy, long shorts. There's an oxymoron for you. I don't want to see just the stub of a guys leg traversing the short distance between the bottom of the shorts and the foot. If you've got legs that are reasonably attractive, why not show them? How about shorts that are reasonably short to let people see your body instead of hiding all but a flash of hairy skin? Enough of hiding our bodies and shapes underneath baggy folds of fabric.