No Shortage of Choices

Posted: Apr 17 2014

“The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.”

- Galileo Galilei

There are times, often in the summer months, when I take in the sun and warmth around me and feel quite like the grapes that Galileo describes. And on those occasions, when seemingly everything feels right, I blindly choose from my small yet personalized wardrobe, and know that whatever I throw on my top and bottom will suit me just fine.

But this confidence hasn't come easily. It's only of late that I've grown my shorts collection and built what I believe to be best suited for me. And this was no easy task because as you may or may not know, when it comes to shorts, particularly fabrics and patterns, there is no shortage of choice.

Today we'll explore some, not all, of our options:

Seersucker Shorts

Seersucker, the fabric, has a long and troubled past and while you won't find them in my closet, seersucker shorts definitely have a place in the closets of others, including, perhaps, even yours. Why?

Well, let's begin the discussion on why seersucker might work for you by dispelling some myths on why it won't work for you.

For starters, seersucker, despite what is often popularized, is not an elitist and/or preppy fabric. In fact, seersucker was only adopted by preppy Americans as a form of “reverse snobbery” and the fabric was actually initially embraced by poorer Americans. Thus, for those of you who cast aside the fabric because of this stereotype, think again and give seersucker another look because the virtues of the fabric are varied. For instance, on extraordinarily warm, humid days, seersucker might be a good “go-to” given its extremely light weight, breathability, and weave, which allows it to not stick to skin and other surfaces, despite the heat and stickiness. Furthermore, if you want a fabric that is easy to wash and maintain, seersucker is an excellent choice because, again, as a result of its weave, it does not need to ironed. And finally, if you're looking for a fabric that can be both playful and neutral, seersucker offers a good alternative because even within seersucker, the patterns and colors vary, allowing one to choose from something as vibrant as pink seersucker sorts to something as mundane as navy seersucker, which, depending on the exact pattern, can become more and more subtle over time.

Patchwork Chino Shorts

Unlike seersucker, “patchwork” is not a fabric and a pattern, it's simply a pattern, or more accurately, a style. And though there appears to be very little that the name, Patchwork Chino, leaves to the imagination patchwork chinos actually vary greatly. That is, of course, because of the choice of fabric patches that, in aggregate, comprise the chino can vary so greatly.

These chinos tend to be more daring, but with more risk often comes more reward and, if you find a pair that catches your eye, we suggest that you take the plunge and pick it up. In fact, patchwork chino shorts are less of a splurge buy than one would typically imagine and one shouldn't fret about finding a shirt that will match. Neutral colored tops generally fit the bill and pairing the two together typically leads to an outfit that looks quite tidy, preventing any naysayers from poking holes in your choice.

Chambray Shorts

Like seersucker, chambray is a fabric, and like seersucker, chambray is often, in effect, treated like its own “pattern.” But the similarities between seersucker and chambray don't end there. Both fabrics are also lightweight and breathable too, making them each attractive options in hot weather climates and situations.

However, the similarities end there. Chambray shorts, like their chambray shirt brethren, are made from lightweight cloths, densely woven with white and indigo yarn in shades that range from blue to red to dark gray. And, like their chambray shirt relatives, chambray shorts are extremely durable, often start off rough, perhaps even a bit rigid, and break in beautifully, softening over time.

Furthermore, chambray frequently have an Irish-linen-esque sheen to it. But that sheen wanes over time as the garment becomes less “new” and more “you.”

As a result the way they wear and the way they feel and look, it's safe to say, chambray shorts are extraordinarily versatile. And all things considered, they are a fantastic addition to anyone's wardrobe and an investment worth making.

“Miles to go before I sleep...”

While we covered three less talked about, yet very versatile fabrics and patterns that you should strongly consider when making your next shorts purchase, we haven't even scratched the surface when it comes to the choices that you have when shopping for shorts. There are linen, madras, bermuda, club, canvas, houndstooth, glencheck, and so many more types to choose from.

So, get shopping and as always, keep your mind and checkbook open.

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