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Classic Casual

Skimming just above the knee, these shorts should be cotton, comfortable and ideally, paired with your favorite canvas sneakers.

$108, from Freemans Sporting Club

Trouser Cut

With a trim fit that's akin to your favorite pants, these are the shorts to dress up with a pair of wing tips or white bucks. Some this season even come with pleats or cuffs.

$69.50 at Rugby

Short Shorts

At first, these leg-lengthening shorts may feel like you're wearing only boxers. You'll get used to it. Plus, they pair perfectly with loafers and a tropical drink.

$29.50 at Lands' End

The Alternatives

Instead of jean shorts: A pair cut in chambray, like these, $168 from Apolis Activism, made with featherweight Spanish chambray and military-issue buttons.


Instead of cargo shorts: A pair of camp shorts, $49 by L.L. Bean Signature, with pockets on the front, instead of the side, to keep the baggy bulk down.

A Shorts Primer

As Memorial Day nears, we thought we'd revisit some fundamentals. A classic pair of shorts is essential this time of year. But what type (and what you wear with them) makes all the difference.


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