The Best Shorts for Your Build

Two People Wearing Shorts on Stairs.

The Best Shorts for Your Build

A Quick and Easy Guide to This Warm Weather Staple

Penned by: The Dapper Boi

Ah, shorts. How we love thee. You keep us cool during summer. You let our nether regions breathe. You are one of the brightest examples of human ingenuity the world has ever seen.

And yet—occasionally—you forsake us. With the wrong fit, you’ve been known to make many-a dad look dorky. You can cause awkward “crotch bunching” when you ride up our thighs. And while technically not your fault, you leave us vulnerable to sunburnt calves. But that’s beside the point. 

Today we’re going to talk about fit. Because a pair of well-fitting shorts can look pretty damn good. But, knowing what looks good, can be pretty damn hard. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be.

The Long and Short of Fit

First things first, the fit of your shorts should not be solely dictated by your height. That’s a common misconception. In reality, there are a few factors to consider based on your body type.

Besides height, you should consider the width and length of your legs, how that compares to your torso, and your body shape. For instance, someone with thinner frame should try to avoid shorts that are too loose or long. The disparity between your legs and the openings of your shorts can actually accentuate a thin frame.

On the flip side, shorts that are far too tight can also look unflattering. What you’re really trying to shoot for is the Goldilocks pair—shorts that fit juuuust right. How do you find your Goldilocks pair? Shop at Dapper Boi, of course…. Or you could just start with this blog.

Shorts for a Huskier Build

Folks with a wider midsection & waist, or narrow shoulders compared to their waist, typically benefit from a longer inseam (9” – 10”). This can help offset a broader frame. You should look for shorts that rest at your knee, or even just below.

It can be helpful to simplify your style as well. Certain details, like holes or bright patterns, can draw attention to the wrong places. Slimmer shorts can make a larger person appear smaller. Just don’t go too slim or too long.

Khaki Chino Shorts.

Shorts for a Slimmer Build

Folks with a leaner & smaller frame, or shoulders & waist of equal width, usually have flexibility when it comes to inseam length. You can go with a higher rise, or wear them a little low. It really comes down to personal style preference.

If you want a shorter short, try a 5” – 6” inseam. If you want a longer short, maybe something closer to 7”.  Just be aware that if you’re tall, shorter options can make you appear even taller. A 5” is usually best for people well under 5’10”.

Slim jean shorts.

Shorts for a Medium Build

Folks with wider shoulders, narrow midsections, and lean legs have more room to experiment with different lengths and styles. But, generally speaking you should still try to avoid shorts that land too far past your knee. If you do find a pair that are a bit too long, but you still like them, don’t be afraid to roll the cuffs up a bit, or have them shortened.

People who have a medium build should be on the look for a 8” – 9.5” inseam, depending on their height. Anything that hits just about the knee is a pretty safe bet.

Medium shorts.


These recommendations are just general rules of thumb. They’re your shorts, you can wear them however you like. Just remember to sunscreen your calves first.

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