Welcome to WEEK SHORTS WEEK SHORTS, 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.
Menswear is a game of inches. Centimeters, really. It’s why we see our tailor more often than our freshman year quadmates—and why the age-old argument over proper inseam length fomented a debate so furious it threatened to cleave the GQ Recommends team in two.
You know who else agrees? Shawn Mendes, the cheery Canadian pop star who’s quietly carved out a lane as a connoisseur of warm weather style. Mendes doesn’t crop up as frequently on the type of IG moodboards dedicated to breathlessly documenting the outfits of his fashion-minded peers; compared to some of his contemporaries, his taste skews downright approachable—demure, even. But make no mistake about it: when it comes to navigating menswear’s underlying golden ratios he knows exactly what he’s doing.
Take, for example, this image of the waterlogged songster on the Miami shore just a few weeks ago, a modern-day Venus with an emo nail job and Soho House beach access. At first glance, it’s pretty ho-hum. But the sweet-spot proportions of his swim trunks lodged themselves so indelibly in our brains they’re still haunting us nearly a month later. So to kick off our inaugural Short Week Shorts Week, we did a little digging…and unearthed a startling revelation.
Turns out, the swim trunks Mendes is wearing aren’t even swim trunks. They’re running shorts. The giveaway? That high inseam and split hem, two practical flourishes your insufferable runner pals rely on for ease of movement on all those early-morning jogs they’re always begging you to join. They offer definitive proof that the shorts/swimsuit Venn diagram is a lot more like a circle these days—and make a strong case for ripping a page out of the Mendes playbook for slightly advanced, deceptively thoughtful summer style.
The final bit of evidence in support of the musician’s not-quite-everyman bona fides? The shorts in question happen to cost a mere 45 bucks—and if you’ve got a Prime membership they can be yours in about as much time as it takes to make this photo your screensaver. (Y’know, for reference.) Unsurprisingly, the exact pair he’s wearing sold out a long time ago, but you can still snag plenty of similar versions in a grip of fetching prints and patterns.
At a shade above 6 feet, Mendes hardly qualifies as a short king in the, uh, traditional (?) sense of the term, but his intuitive understanding of menswear’s game of inches makes him more than worthy of the moniker. So by the power vested in us as a global authority in the space, we’re proud to anoint him the newest leader of the shorts-wearing masses—or at least, the only person you should name-check the next time you’re jonesing for some warm weather style inspiration. The crown might be heavy, but our man (and his gloriously unencumbered thighs) looks right at ease.