A daily bulletin of news & opinion

19 February 2013

It is that time of year when people start thinking about what to wear for spring/summer and magazines are already preparing their features on what fashions are acceptable. Of course, one of the favourite topics is shorts.

Can you wear shorts in the city? The debate happens every year. Tom Ford famously said that “Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or on the beach.” I have to disagree with him on this one.

When the mercury is rising, I don’t see the problem in showing a bit of leg even if you are in a work environment. Or if you just want to stroll around in Seoul or São Paulo, shorts can look quite elegant if worn in the right way.

Of course, you should try to avoid coming to work wearing board shorts or the baggy sort. Well, if you insist, do it. But I’d advise on a nice pair of tailored shorts. Almost all major brands have shown a pair or two in their spring/summer 2013 collections. From Raf Simons’ split shorts to Louis Vuitton Bermudas, there are plenty to choose from. Or failing that you could ask your tailor to make some for you.

But for some reason the case against shorts is still quite strong. Even in my tropical home country, Brazil, where to be honest with you, you could potentially wear shorts the whole year round, there are strict laws in work places. It means you have to wear a suits or at least a formal shirt and trousers no matter the temperature. I feel sorry for security guards who need to wear suits – even if it’s almost 40c outside.

When I was a kid I lived in the north-eastern city of Natal for about a year and a half. For those who love the heat, Natal is a paradise but there was one big problem: students couldn’t wear shorts in school. We all had to wear trousers. I always thought this was absurd, an unnecessary case of sartorial conservatism.

And wouldn’t you prefer to see a man wearing a lovely pair of shorts instead of suffering in the heat looking uncomfortable in his jeans?

In some countries in the often chilly northern hemisphere, there aren’t that many days when shorts are even an option. So when the sun does come out, make sure you step out and sashay about in your shorts – just like a gentleman would on the beaches of Rio.

Fernando Augusto Pacheco is a researcher for Monocle 24.


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio


  • The Pacific Shift