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Advice from the Ladies of Birchbox: How Long Should a Man’s Shorts Be?

As we pack away our wool trousers and start breaking out our favorite shorts for warmer days, we find ourselves overcome by questions. The above-the-knee look is undeniably back in a big way, but how short is too short? For answers we tapped our savvy female counterparts. Whether you’ve discovered the joys of a higher hem or still prefer a roomier board short style, you’ll want to consider this straight talk.

“While I would suggest avoiding short shorts (unless you have been tanning your upper thighs all year), other lengths really depend on the person. I think most people look best in shorts that are a few inches above the knee, but if you feel like Rafa Nadal by all means go ahead and rock those man-pris. Whatever length you choose, wear with pride and you'll be fine.”
—Linden, Manager of Marketing Operations and Strategy

“Aim for shorts that hit just a couple inches above the knee. That gives you plenty of open space to enjoy the sun and the summer breeze, rock a great pair of shoes, or show off your sculpted calves to full advantage (and even reveal a hint of quad).”
—Valerie, Copywriter

“For khakis and bathing suits, definitely above the knee. Anything longer can give a disproportionate illusion. My boyfriend and his friends love the super-short shorts. That’s fine as long as they're covering the essentials!”
—Shana, Brand Campaign Strategy Associate

“I once dated a guy who loathed cargo shorts and his sentiment has stuck with me ever since. There's no reason to carry all of your worldly possessions with you at all times.”
—Jenny, Editorial Marketing Manager

“When in doubt, DON'T go anywhere above an inch from the knee. That is the perfect combination of manly and dapper. Added bonus if you can rock some tailored fit, printed ones. I don't mean plaid—think outside the box!”
—Megan, Subscription Marketing Associate

“I LOVE boat shorts on guys—brushing above the knee and not far above and not too fitted. And I love more trendy colors that go beyond classic navy or gray: Think coral or military greens. These help showcase great soccer or runner legs.”
—Jaz, Manager, Brand Campaign Strategy

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