Which shorts to wear on the beach?

There’s nothing like relaxing on the beach without a care in the world     Photo by Jonnas Duarte

WHEN you are packing your suitcase for that summer holiday, you might struggle to work out which shorts you will be wearing on the beach. There are many types of shorts, ranging from tennis to cargo to Bermuda shorts. What you have to consider is what length the shorts you may decide to wear. That could depend on your height and weight.

Lots of choice

Like all types of clothing, you may have to look at what is fashionable and sensible-looking for you to wear, and what you definitely shouldn’t be wearing. The type of material your shorts are made of will also determine the level of comfort they give you. Also, will they agree with your legs if you have thick thighs or if you have skinny legs? Let’s see if we can unravel some of these problems and help you out.

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Different types of shorts to consider

CARGO shorts come with pockets. They can be practical but can look ugly if the pockets are bulging. You may ask yourself, do I need so many pockets? What will I be carrying in those pockets any way. The last thing you want is to look bulky and any weight put into those pockets will help drag the shorts further from your hips and make them look unsightly. However, lots of pockets on the shorts can give it character, not to mention a nice khaki color like the one on the right. Add to the shorts a t-shirt, sunglasses and some sneakers and you could look the business.

BOARD shorts are very popular on the beach, especially when it comes to surfing and swimming, as they are made from smooth nylon and polyester and allow you to move without restriction. They are long short with an opening at the front instead of an elastic waistband. You can also wear them for beach volleyball and wake boarding. In my case I wear them to laze around the pool.

TENNIS shorts also give you free movement and can look quite trendy and come above the knee. These days they are predominantly made from synthetic materials, though you  can get them in cotton and wool, and can look quite cool. You might think they are best suited for a tennis court rather than a beach.

DENIM shorts are usually baggier and longer than normal shorts and generally look better on women than men. They were really big during the 1970s and up to the 1990s, but they are not so popular these days. They are probably more appropriate for a fancy dress beach party than anything else, unless you are hankering for the good old days, or have an old pair stuck in your wardrobe.

SWIMMING shorts come in all shapes and sizes. You’ll want to find a pair that are quick dry and can be used for casual wear.

FLAT FRONT shorts are a slightly more formal version of the casual variety. They are great to wear at beach barbecues and look good with a nice polo shirt.

BERMUDA shorts are usually worn with over the calf socks, a blazer and a sweater, so would look odd on the beach. They are best suited in Bermuda which is where they are from, though if you are wearing them on the beach, wear them with a nice shirt. They look good on people with thick thighs.

KHAKI or CHINO shorts were originally designed for the US military for those serving in the Philippines. They are great for casual wear.

What to wear in shorts department

ATHLETIC types who have broad shoulders and a small waist have the greatest choice in what they can wear. The best fit for them are tailored shorts which will look and feel comfortable. If they go for loose shorts they will make their torso look disproportionate. A lighter color will make them look less bulkier.

SLIM people will look good in slim-fitted shorts. At all costs they should avoid baggy shorts which will make their legs and torso look out of sorts.

HEAVY men like me have a little weight around the waist. This means I have to avoid slim-fitted shorts which emphasis the tummy. I usually opt for the straight-legged shorts which are slightly wider.

SHORT guys should avoid longer shorts (Bermuda and Board), which will make their legs look shorter and stomach bigger.

How to make sure you have the perfect fit

Best-looking shorts should be above the knee. Depending on your height you can check by using the inseam method. The inseam is measured from the crotch to the cuff on the inside seam of the leg. For a taller person it is 9-10 inches, a smaller person 6-7 inches. Always measure to the nearest ½ inch.

Best material for shorts has to be 100% cotton

Shorts which are made from 100 per cent cotton are soft and durable, which makes them the best to wear. However those made from nylon fabric or polyester have their plus points as well. They are lightweight, equally comfortable and quick-drying.

>>Check out my review on the JustSun Summer Shorts<<

Wear whatever feels most comfortable

At the end of the day, wear whatever makes you feel most comfortable. To be honest, due to my weight and size I don’t feel too comfortable wearing shorts on the beach, though I have no problem wearing them in my own home. If I had a six-pack, that would be a different story. Some people won’t wear shorts because they make them feel like old schoolboys, others because they have a scar on their leg.

If all else fails, put on a pair of long slacks

In these circumstances, a pair of long slacks are just as acceptable. they can be lightweight, and even more classier. You can always experiment with clothes until you find the right pair of shorts that agrees with you. If you have a partner, you can run it past them. Let us know what you wear on the beach. We always welcome your feedback.


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4 thoughts on “Which shorts to wear on the beach?”

  1. Hey great article, it was definitely interesting to know this information!

    I didn’t have a clue there were shorts based on how thin or thick your legs, or if you are short or tall but after reading through this, I definitely know what to look for now.

    I like denim however in summer they do feel extra warm, cargo shorts are also a great look however I think the best short for a beach day would be swimming shorts.

    Thanks for this info!

    • If you don’t feel like getting changed, then I must agree Sariyah, that on the beach swimming shorts are the best. However, you might feel uncomfortable in them once they have dried out, particularly if you have been swimming in the salty sea water. It’s worth showering on the beach if you can, and then getting changed into a comfortable pair of summer shorts that will feel fresh. Denim are a good choice if that is your preference. Whatever you wear, comfort is the number one consideration. Thanks for liking my article.

  2. Great article on what shorts to wear to the beach. We spend a lot of time in the Philippines as my wife is a Filipina, so shorts are definitely a staple in my wardrobe. I’ve always avoided shorts before because I have very skinny legs, so wearing the right style is important to me. I do like some additional pockets like the cargo shorts you mention, but certainly don’t weigh them down with lots of stuff in the pockets. I like to wear shorts with a zipper on front and belt loops, some of mine come with a matching belt which I really like. Your article has given me a lot of new information, things that I have never thought about before.

    • Wearing shorts can be a tricky thing, particularly if you live in a country where there is not too much sun. When I have gone to hot countries, I must admit my legs do look a little bit too white, so I have to grin and bear it for a few days before they pick up some colour. I think my first shorts were plain tennis shorts, which wasn’t the best thing to wear. Since then I’ve graduated to shorts that can double up as swimming trunks, which can be fast drying. Cargo shorts are also a favourite of mine William, and there is that temptation to fill those pockets up with lots of stuff, which drags them down a bit. I am glad you liked the article. Check out these Summer Shorts, which are really comfortable. 


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