PS (shorter) shorts are back

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The PS Shorts go on sale again today, in the same colours as the past two years: khaki, olive and navy. Thank you to all readers for their patience waiting for the restock. 

There is only one major change, which is that the shorts are 1.5 inches shorter than the previous iteration. The inside-leg measurement has gone from 10 inches to 8.5. 

I made the tweak because I felt the shorter length would be more current, and so achieve the core aim of the shorts: to be classic, moderate and easy to wear. Almost anonymous. 

It’s not a big change - shorts these days are trending much shorter, like 6 inches. But I think it means they look average, and everyday. Whereas the old length might now stand out by looking long. 

Savile Row tailors always used to say that they never ignored trends, they just moderated them. 

So if lapels on mainstream suits went from 5 inches to 2 over the space of 20 years (perhaps, from the 80s to the 2000s) theirs would go from 4 to 3. And most of the time they would be somewhere in the middle, say 3¼ or 3½. 

I think the change to the PS shorts is doing something similar. 

When we launched them in 2018, I said I was tired of most shorts being extremes. On the high street, everything was tight to the thigh; in classic menswear circles, it was all repro-vintage, with big legs and gurkha tops. 

The aim was to be something in between: well-made, but easy for a normal guy to wear. The new design simply renews that aim. 

I’m sure some people will say this is a case of overanalysing. But I find the topic interesting, even just academically. 

Every year, brands tweak their styles, materials and colours based on trend reports or on what ‘feels right’ given everything else in the market. Forecasters earn a lot of money from predicting these things and telling those brands what to do. 

I have no plans to change anything else in the PS range for those reasons. It’s just as important to wear clothes that are distinct - particular styles which express one's personality. 

But where the aim of the item is to be distinctly average, it’s something to keep in mind. Tailors generally change their lapel widths because they don’t want the lapel to stand out. The fit can, and certainly the cloth - but they don’t want a statement lapel. 

Shorts, for men, are the same. For many guys it’s enough  just to be wearing them rather than trousers. And there’s plenty of room to be expressive elsewhere - with printed camp-collar shirts or old-fashioned sandals - if you want to. 

Or you can just be well-dressed, with a well-fitting linen shirt and espadrilles. As I try to be. 

In the photos here I’ve shown the PS shorts with a few more casual clothes than in the past - to mix together with those other, smarter shoots and demonstrate the versatility.

In the image above, the khaki pair are worn with a simple white T-shirt. I wear collared shirts and polos more, but when I do wear a T-shirt in Summer it tends to be something like this - white, simple and quality (usually a circular knit - here from The Flat Head).

They’re worn with black espadrilles, from Diego’s, which I find surprisingly versatile. You wouldn’t think black would be that useful in a casual shoe, but a reader commented last year that he wears nothing else in the Summer, and he’s right - they go with almost everything. 

It helps that a lot of my clothes are darker, colder colours like the dark-brown linen overshirt the outfit is also shown with above. That’s our upcoming collaboration with Luca Avitabile, about more soon.

Next I’ve shown the same outfit with a cotton sweatshirt, from Dunhill. 

There's been friendly mockery in the past about showing ‘Summer’ outfits that feature knitwear, but it’s something I regularly find I have with me, if only because you’re often met with air conditioning when you go indoors. 

And of course, in the evening there are few things more pleasant than putting on a jumper with shorts, as the sun dips gently below the horizon. 

Dunhill don’t do this sweatshirt anymore, which is a shame. It’s styled like a sweat, but uses a very light, fine cotton, which makes the hand wonderful, look a touch smarter, and feel pretty cool. 

I’m wearing my old Berkeley cap with that outfit - a gift from a friend years ago - which does well for Summer headwear with casual outfits. 

Summer hats aren't easy, unless you’re smart enough to wear a full panama. So I often switch between a baseball cap and a cheap, beaten-up straw hat - which is shown with the linen overshirt above. 

Stylish beach homes seem to be full of old hats like this, but it’s not an easy thing to actually buy. I recommend getting something you like the shape of, but can afford to mess up, and then treating it very badly. 

Sit on it, even stand on it, cut off any ribbon or edging, and pack it in anyhow with your other clothes. You can reshape it quite easily (use steam if needed) and the ill-treatment is the best thing for making the hat look suitably old and familiar. 

The last outfit shows the green shorts with our Madras-check linen

Apologies to those that wanted this shirt ready-made, rather than bespoke using our cloth. There seemed less point when it was available RTW from some other brands; but now it’s not, as far as I’m aware, we could make it for next year if enough people still want it. 

Wearing a shirt with shorts is a good way to retain some elegance in Summer. To avoid the look of shapeless, untucked polo and cargo shorts that often seems to be the default for men over 40.

Not a business shirt, of course, but something in linen or linen/cotton, whether classic white or blue, or a bolder check or awning stripe

I’m sure most readers will be familiar with the shorts and their basic design, but for those that aren’t, here’s a summary:

  • The shorts are 100% cotton
  • The green and khaki have belt loops and washed, ‘sport’ finish. The navy has side adjustors, so is smarter, and no washed finish
  • They have a coin section inside the right-hand pocket and one rear pocket on the right, fastened with a button
  • They are made by Italian factory Rota, who readers will probably be familiar with and make for several other high-end brands
  • The make is a good level for ready-to-wear, with great hardware, linings, buttons, and finishing. A machine make, but with a high level of precision
  • They are available in four sizes - small, medium, large and extra-large - equivalent to Italian sizes 46, 48, 50 and 52
  • They should be washed cool, at 30 degrees, and hung to dry before ironing.
  • Shipping is from the UK
  • Price (£175) does not not include VAT, as most PS customers live outside the EU. Taxes are added at checkout.
  • Available on the PS shop site here

In terms of alterations:

  • All the shorts can be taken in considerably at the waist, by 5cm (2 inches) at the most. It helps here that there is only one rear pocket, as large alterations won’t push two pockets oddly together. On the green and khaki shorts, such a reduction in the waist would also require the rear two belt loops to be taken off, and reduced to one, over the back seam.
  • The navy can also be taken out in the waist, by at least 3cm (1.25 inches) as there is considerable inlay there and running down the leg. However, the green and khaki cannot be taken out as this would leave lines around the old seam (as they are garment dyed and washed).
  • Both shorts can be shortened in length, at least by 5cm (2 inches). The bottom of the leg is obviously smaller than the thigh, but there isn’t much taper at the bottom. At the worst, the leg might need to be narrowed slightly as well. The green and khaki pairs, however, would require the turn-up to be cut off and machined on higher up, as again there are fade lines at the top and bottom of the turn-up.
  • The navy short can be lengthened, by at least 2cm (0.75 inches) by either reducing the size of the turn-up or changing the way the turn-up is made (currently it is folded over, making three layers of material. The folded layer can be reduced.) The other two cannot. 

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

Below are pictures from previous shoots - demonstrating other ways to wear them. Note, though, that these all have the old, longer length.

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John

These look fantastic; order placed for a khaki pair. As someone in their mid-30s the slightly shorter length is very welcome, and thank you for putting the effort into refining them.

Teo

The shorts look great, Simon. Was there a particular reason to go with pleated rather than flat fronts?

However, I think the showstopper from this post is the overshirt from LA. Are you able to share any more details on the size you wear (for the purpose of putting myself down on the waiting list) and the expected pricing?

Best,
Teo

Oliver

Hello, I love that overshirt. Will it be available via LA or your site? Would love to join waiting list or watch out for it too. Thank you Simon

Gab

Just sent an email to be added as well. Can you tell when it should be available approximatively?

Oliver

Thank you, have a great weekend

Fred

Dear Simon, your comment on pleats, have you changed your views on the utility of pleats in general? I recall your comments a few years back, that seemed to me to suggest that you felt pleated tops were not so different with a flat front.

Ant

Glad to see these back, Simon – and good shout on the slight shortening. I missed-out on the Finest Polo (hopefully won’t be the same with the new cream Dartmoor), but if you get new stock, would you wear the shorts with the polo?

Peter Hall

You will not be mocked by me for combining knitwear with shorts! It’s such a classic style and cotton is so practical for summer evenings. I have a pair of black suede loafers so a great suggestion for summer.

Alex

Hi Simon, the shorts look great and the detailed explanation of the reasoning behind shortening the length is very interesting, even if I’m slightly regretting not getting a pair of the longer ones now. Just a note for you – the link in your opening paragraph appears to direct to the madras linen fabric entry in the store, not the shorts.

Jonathan

Hi Simon,
Do you happen to know the measurement of the waist flat across? I’m trying to compare them to a pair of Doppiaa shorts I bought in size 46 that are 41cm across. Thanks.

Jonathan

Hi Simon, I don’t see the measurements so I went ahead and ordered the 46 in both khaki and navy. Hopefully they run similarly to the Doppiaa.

Gary Mitchell

“I’m sure some people will say this is a case of overanalysing. But I find the topic interesting, even just academically”
not at all, the devil is in the detail. (never truly understood what the devil had to do with it but details are vital, without bothering the little things the whole thing is comprimised.

Nico

Unfussy design to meet contemporary is fine, but for me a gentleman’s length is kissing the upper of kneecap, anytime, anywhere. Curious to see how the comments go though.

Lucas

What’s the thigh and hem width for the shorts?

Lucas

So is bottom = hem? Thought it was the bum size…

Peter

Hi Simon – were you able to find the thigh width? On a size 50 in particular please. Would these work well on someone with “athletic”, or just generally large thighs? Thanks

Scott

Shorts are difficult for most men to wear well, particularly as we age. Knobby knees, bird legs, overweight etc means that a lot more things can go wrong than right with shorts. Perhaps that’s why the great Tom Ford advises men to never wear shorts in the city and he’s right.

MBB355

That dark brown linen overshirt looks perfect–very excited to learn more. I also support producing the PS linen madras in RTW. Simon, thanks for making it easier to dress elegantly in warm weather–not always an easy thing!

Mbb355

Tempted to ask whether the overshirt would look good with smart trousers and an open-neck shirt, but I’ll hold off until the overshirt post is published. (I love how Drakes did the “smart overshirt” look, looked good even with a tie)

Anonymous

Simon, I️ can never quite figure out what to wear with navy shorts or trousers. Maybe a blue buttondown, but with what color shoes? Tan always looks too light compared to the navy shorts. The problem may be that navy bottoms remind me of a uniform I️ had to wear at a summer job long ago – white shirt and navy pants. Thanks.

Anonymous

Thanks, Simon.

Aaron Daniels

Out of curiosity, where did you get that hat from? A lot of cheap ones I have found are either very Panama-y in how white they are, or very coarse with lots of holes. Quite a few seem to have very stingy brims or entirely upturned ones too.

Justin

Could it be that the navy shorts in size Medium is already sold out? That would be sad as I asked a couple of weeks ago to be added to the waiting list but did not receive any news that there is going to be a re-launch, and now I might have missed out again (just one day in). Might there be some orders where these shorts be coming back?

Justin

Thanks Simon, I have written to the support email to check and hope I will not miss out on the re-stock in a week (fingers-crossed) 🙂 P.s. I have also been on the waiting list for the linen overshirt for a couple of weeks now and am very much looking forward to that launch as well. I know that Luca also has Valerio currently in offer, thus maybe you can give a hint regarding the differences there? (Materials, style etc)?

Marvin

This is great news Simon.

As a side, due to them being mentioned in this piece, how do your Diego’s compare to other espadrilles you own?

Do like the concept Diego’s promote on their website.

Mikael Olsson

I have a pair of Diego´s where one shoe is a bit larger than the other one, which is frustrating.
The brand Toni Pons have similar espadrilles that have an insole as well as one shoe for your left foot and one for your right foot, contrary to Diego´s

Mikael Olsson

I find the model called Montgri to be quite similar to the Diego´s Charentaise. It does have that brand tag in the back but I removed it easily.

Mikael Olsson

I would say that the thickness of the sole are the same, but I guess the stitching differs.

IMG_0193-1.jpg
Matt

As a taller man, regular shorts look like short shorts on me. I hope I can still find some “long shorts” somewhere or else look like a flamingo.

Matt

Hi Simon. I feel that 8 inches or so is ideal, leaving a shade under 2″ before my knee. I am 6’8″ and I really feel that shorts only make me look gangly unless they’re at least this long.
Then again I might just be overly sensitive about what I see in the mirror.

Felix Sylvester Eggert

I feel you Matt. Being 196cm myself with particular long legs – even for my size – can make it difficult to shop for suitable shorts.

Carl

They look perfect! Unfortunately the pandemic have made my clothes smaller (or me a bit fatter. A think that the XL/52 would be too small for me. Hope you could make some XXL/54 for next summer. (Or even more hopefully, that XL/52 will fit me at that time).

Darren

A large vote here for having that madras shirt ready made next year please.

Scott

Simon, I’m considering a pair of the PS navy shorts. My waist size is 34-34 1/2 inches so would you recommend medium or large?

Scott

Will do, thanks.

bogdan

Hi Simon,

Do these shorts stretch at all in the waist?

Also, can I ask you what size you wear in the Diego espadrilles versus EG shoes? the size conversion on the Diego website confused me a little. thank you!

Stephen

Simon – what is the thinking on having the ‘turne-up’ cuff. Doesn’t it (kind of) ruin the line, and doesn’t the turned over/ material, folded thrice in one case, make that particular ring around the leg hotter? Would there be a way to remove them without loosing any length?
Thank you for explaining you thinking here.

Neil Tang

Hi Simon,
Regarding the black espadrilles, they do seem to work, rather surprisingly to me.
When it comes to espadrilles, the first two colours that come to my mind are cream and navy for its summer vibes and versatility.
Can you share how and why black seems to work?
I imagine it works with colder and darker colours. In terms of versatility, would black work well with staple wardrobe colours like white, navy and grey?

Neil Tang

Thanks Simon. I’m inclined to give black a try to replace my current navy one.

Yes, I completely relate to the cream getting dirty easily.

Which brand of espadrilles would you say offers the best value, having tried a few like Castaner and Drake’s?

Frank Trygve Jensen

Hey, count me in on the rtw madras shirt.
what Colours will the LA overshirt be available in? I am hoping for a dark blue, as I think the brown looks to familiar to my old green Drakes.

Frank Trygve Jensen

Jubii

Neil Tang

Hi Simon, I know we’re jumping the gun here but will the dark blue in linen too or in a different material?

Teo

Simon, if you were to have just one overshirt, which of the two colours would you choose?
I recall we had a similar discussion on the Valstarino which I still think applies here. Navy is probably a little smarter, could work better with colder colours. But dark brown might actually be a touch more versatile and less corporate and also go better with blue denim and casual clothing in general?

Teo

Thanks Simon, it would be really interesting to hear your thoughts on why, in the case of an overshirt, navy is easier to dress down? Is it a function of the alternative being also quite formal since it’s a darker and colder shade of brown?
I am trying to think how each would slot into a capsule wardrobe. In my mind, both dark brown and navy would work well with beige and olive green chinos/shorts and also cream trousers/ecru jeans, but dark brown would also have the added benefit of being suitable with dark denim (a la BLA NW1). Am I missing something?

Ryotaro

Already sold out in my size, darn that was fast! Any plans for a restock Simon?

Ryotaro

Thanks, will definitely do that!

John

Just received these and i am extremely happy with them (and the length is perfect for me). Simon, i particularly like how they fit around the waist/thighs; is this something you developed especially for these shorts with Rota, or is this standard for Rota pleated trousers/taken from a particular Rota model? I haven’t worn anything from Rota before, but am going to look into them now.

Thanks!

John

Given all that effort Simon it would be great if they could be released as a full trouser, even if that is sold through Rota directly rather than PS.

In any case, by far the best shorts I have owned, and I would be particularly interested in a smart beige version, should you look at different fabrics in future years.

Thanks again.

Martin

And in 2022: the PS Magnum PI short! But seriously, I have been looking at the length of shorts worn by normal, unsartorial men (in Vienna) since I read this post (chinos and cropped jeans only, cargo shorts were disqualified) and find they tend to be worn longer this year, often to the top of the knee. I think it is the perfect length, especially when one is sitting down and it has the advantage of showing less hair. On the other hand average men almost always wear their trousers longer than the cognoscenti you write for.

Michael

Hi Simon,
I bought two pairs of PS shorts in khaki and green size 50 which I think that’s equivalent for a 34” waist size. The only thing I would change is increasing the seat size by a little as I have a large seat but those double pleats do help.
The design it’s pleasing and I think you made the right call by shortening them ,for my height 185cm,they look good right above my knees.
It’s nice that you create this pieces on PS shop as they do have something unusual I would say but in a beautiful way.