Are men’s shorts sizes exclusive?

Egonlab SS23. Photography via Imaxtree

Release the knee!

In our opinion, there are not enough men in shorts. But maybe now with Donald Glover as the new face of the hot pants movement, things will finally change.

of Atlanta The actor was recently photographed in Manhattan in a monochromatic yellow outfit that included a bucket hat, sneakers and, yes, short shorts, signaling the start of another “summer of the hip.”

ICYMI: Last year, Milo Ventimiglia was photographed wearing butt-baring athletic shorts, which led to Vox to declare the summer of 2021 as “the summer of the hip”. The social media reaction to Glover and Ventimiglia begs the question: why don’t more men wear shorts?

For one, menswear can be limiting, creatively speaking. Clothing is usually minimal and predictable, leaving little room for self-expression. But there is more to the story.

Most of the comments about Glover and Ventimiglia were related to their attractiveness, especially their toned physiques. There seems to be a misconception that you have to be skinny or muscular to wear short shorts, reminding us all that fatphobia is just as prevalent in menswear.

A little history lesson: men’s shorts were popular in the anything-goes decade of the 70s and into the 80s. From Harrison Ford to John Travolta to Tom Selleck, they wore teenage dresses. Then, in the 90s, we said goodbye to men’s thighs and welcomed low-cut skirts. It was the dark age of cargo shorts, complete with multiple pockets and zippers and lots of extra material.

Although short shorts made a comeback on the menswear runways in the 2000s, the garment had yet to make a comeback as a summer staple — until now. At Paris Fashion Week Spring 2023, genderless label EgonLab presented a collection of micro-mini shorts. Prada’s menswear show also featured a selection of leather hot pants.

The designers are clearly trying to rewrite the narrative that men’s fashion is boring. The resurgence of shorts can also be linked to broader trends in clothing, such as gender fluidity. But with the wide embrace of above-the-knee skirts, one important piece is missing: size diversity.

The body positivity movement has been more focused on womenswear and we’ve seen some small changes on runways, in brand campaigns and in size ranges. But just like micro-mini skirts are taking over women’s fashion, men’s micro-mini shorts are only seen in slim models.

In fact, the tall, muscular male archetype has yet to be meaningfully challenged on the track or in many men’s size categories. According to Business Vogue, only seven of 77 brands during the fall 2022 menswear season featured plus-size models. And this spring 2023 season is said to be no better.

But there have been some advances. Take Rihanna, who enlisted non-thin models for her Savage x Fenty campaigns, or designers like Willy Chavarria, who sent men of different sizes down the runway. On TikTok, male body acceptance is gaining more traction, with millions of views on videos discussing the effects of body shaming and the importance of size representation.

The radical comeback of the once-maligned men’s shorts signals a time to rebel. As risqué clothing makes its way into the mainstream, it’s time for a paradigm shift in men’s body acceptance. Next: the harvest.

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