Welcome to SHORT WEEK SHORTS WEEK, GQ Recommends’ appropriately abridged ode to the summeriest and calf-baringest of bottoms. Whether you’re a big-and-baggy boy, an above-the-knee fella, or somewhere in between, we’ve got all the thoughts, takes, and, yes, recommendations to make this your greatest, leggiest, most stylish shorts season yet.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Lands’ End. Among the constellation of grandpa-y catalog brands—your L.L.Beans, your Eddie Bauers—Lands’ End, with its misplaced apostrophe and positively 1998 webstore, tends to get the least respect from menswear enthusiasts. But unlike those other stalwarts, who occasionally chase relevancy through collabs with buzzy designers like Todd Snyder and JJJJound, Lands’ End mostly just sticks to doing what it does best: turning out dead simple, seriously reliable staples that seem—in both style and price—to have been frozen in time since the Reagan administration. The Wisconsin brand’s burly rugby shirts and hardy barn coats are the stuff of legend, and I’ve been personally preaching the gospel of their soft cotton mocknecks for years now.
Traditional Fit Pleated 6 Inch No Iron Chino Shorts
A couple of months ago, though, I stumbled upon the best-kept secret not just in the Lands’ End oeuvre, but in perhaps all of men’s clothing: a pair of $39 pleated chino shorts, cut flatteringly roomy to mid-thigh perfection. They give off serious retro charm, in a JFK-in-Martha’s-Vineyard kind of way, but could also easily be mistaken for hailing from a more expensive contemporary label like Noah or A Kind of Guise. And they sit right in that sweet spot between casual and dressy: I’ve dressed them down with a vintage graphic tee and cooked New Balances, and dressed them up with a hopsack blazer and loafers, and they’ve performed admirably every time.
At this stage, I’m ready to declare them the official Shorts of the Summer. If you cop yourself a pair—and you should—don’t toss out the Lands’ End catalog that comes with ‘em. Your next absurdly affordable, exceedingly versatile, hidden menswear gem might just be in i