19 May 2014

Cheap Commodities

Funny, not so long ago I would never have imagined that being a grown-up involved wearing shorts in the Summer time. In fact, I would likely have railed against them, citing some sort of archaic rule about "short pants being only for children", and instead plodded around in long pants as a matter of principle. In other words, I'd have taken a view of Summer clothes childish in its narrow-mindedness, and indeed ridiculous in its archaism.  And this from a guy who wears a coat and tie by choice in the Summer, when the occasion is appropriate (or not).

The older I get, the more I come to appreciate a good pair of shorts. I admit that my own personal comfort takes more and more precedence over the opinions of others as I age, but I still like to look my best. True, the slovenly look of cargo shorts, crummy t-shirt, and flip flops is still endemic in our culture, and the streets are full of grown men who still wear the same clothing they wore as toddlers, but that isn't to say that shorts are necessarily childish. It is possible to be dressed like a grown man in shorts, it just takes a little more skill. Still, they are at best something of a cheap commodity and it comes as no surprise that I refuse to pay full whack for them. Enter "Cheap Commodities" stalwart Lands' End.
Yesterday while sorting out the warm weather things I realized that I could use a few new pair of shorts, and not surprisingly, Lands' End had offered me 30% off in the most recent of the emails with which they inundate anybody who ever bought anything from them, ever. I'd complain, but when I do in fact order from them the deals are deep, the customer service is legendary, and the stuff is always well worth it. The pair pictured above, in patchwork bandana pattern, may not be for everyone. They're "go-to-hell", which is a good thing for shorts, and who knows how they'll look in real life, but at $14 ($19.99 less 30%) there a gamble worth taking.  Feel free to disagree, but I think these will be a staple with a plain white tennis shirt and boat shoes, or even a favorite worn old pink oxford shirt. A note on styling is in order here too. Lands' End offers shorts that are cut classic and above the knee, a perfect middle ground between saggy, childish cargo shorts and wide legged, pleated, high waisted old man shorts (looking at you, Jos. Banks). I tempered the purchase with a pair of classic chino shorts with a 9 inch inseam in a color called "club green" ($14.97 less 30%= $10.50).

As much as the #menswear community (uck!) may chafe at the idea of shorts, in many ways they are the easiest garment to get right. Stick with clean cuts and an inseam above the knee, and feel free to indulge in fun colors and GTH patterns at will. Like I said, all you need to go with them is a stack of tennis shirts in white and navy blue. Second hand and vintage are always best, but anyone can buy them cheap from places like Lands' End, J. Crew, or even, dare I say it, the Gap. Save your big money for the better things. Shorts may be something of a necessity, but are also a cheap commodity.


joeinTO said...

G., I think you've captured the long and short of it (sorry). You're living in the 19th century if you don't think men should wear shorts in warm weather. On the other hand, there's no reason to look homeless. Lands End always has great sales.

Anonymous said...

I bought a pair of the club green shorts, the color is perfect. I don't recall the inseam of the pair I purchased, they were on clearance. But they were way too long. I cut a few inches off, washed them a few times to get a good fray going and now they're my go-to grass cutting, playground romping attire. As they are impervious to grass stains.

Stephen P. said...

Nantucket red (with a nice fade)cargo shorts have much to recommend them, IMHO, but they're bloody marvelous in khaki. Very Alec Guinness: Bridge on the River Kwai. (Don't forget the knee socks.) "Officers performing manual labour--bad form, Colonel Saito." (Don't forget the "u".)

Joe said...

I just don't want to carry that much stuff around, especially if I'm wearing shorts. Cargo is for ships.

Anonymous said...

Great shorts, G. I just bought a few pair on sale at Banana Republic. Same above the knee cut as LE shorts. I have enjoyed wearing them on the few 80+ degree days we have had here in the upper Midwest. I agree about the old man shorts. I would also add Gurkha shorts to that list. Few people outside of Gurkha regiments call pull off those shorts without looking foolish.

randall said...

You and Mr. Engines seemingly reading my mind today. I was bemoaning the fact that my short collection was coming up, well, short, but I refuse to pay full freight for a pair of half pants. To Lands'End and the local tailor with a pair of past their prime khakis I go.

And it is possible to screw up shorts. I bought a pair from J.Crew on sale, on line, once and the legs were way too narrow. I do not like slim fit shorts.

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