You know the look. You fear the look: the giant khaki short. The pair that skims the lower reaches of your kneecaps, perhaps even hitting high on your shins, like a hot divorcée’s capri pants—only comically wide instead of enviously slim. They are cousins to the Bermuda short, and yet slightly…un-human. Inhumane, even. Maybe they have a pleat. Maybe they are even so big that they flare out a little bit at the hem, like an obsolete medieval instrument that’s played when a really mediocre overlord acquires more land.
These shorts fly in the face of all that is stylish. Some might say that, as shorts make their way back into cool guys’ wardrobes, these shorts represent everything well-dressed men have left behind. But in this golden age of men’s fashion, these shorts are still here—except now they are $550, and made by the European minimalist design house Jil Sander.
While high fashion has sprinkled its fairy dust over everything from fleece jackets to cargo pants to (formerly) embarrassing sneakers, big shorts have somehow remained the last faux pas. “I think that there was this kind of taboo for a long time around men showing their legs,” says Peter Haury, a men’s merchant at the fashion bellwether stores Totokaelo and Need Supply. Eon Huntley, a brand specialist at The Row at Barneys Madison Avenue, adds: “Shorts have become synonymous with things like cargo shorts, or styles that men who are not necessarily the most fashionable people wear. So I think that it’s hard for men to separate that thinking as well.”
But now some of the most exciting innovators in fashion are doing some of their best work in shorts. There’s Jil Sander, which since the fall of 2017 has been led by former Supreme designer Luke Meier and his wife, Lucie Meier, the former head designer at Dior. But there’s also the Japanese stalwarts—Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake, and Yohji Yamamoto—as well as younger brands reinventing tailored basics like Ludovic de Saint Sernin. This season Totokaelo has roomy, almost louche shorts from all these designers, but not just because guys are more willing to fork out the big bucks for casual clothing. The advanced short suit has arrived—and it’s not whatever you were forced to wear for your fraternity brother’s wedding on Martha’s Vineyard (#AShortThingALongMarriage, or whatever). “We’re seeing so much creativity in suiting and what that can mean—the versatility around how a man can dress,” says Haury. “Shorts are a nice option that you can layer in there.” For brands in the Comme family, like Miyake and Yamamoto, “we have a jacket and then a matching short and a matching pant.”
Even at Mr. Porter, which carries a slightly more conservative offering of menswear, there are jumbo board shorts from Blue Blue Japan, Dries Van Noten, and Loewe, and crazy prints from Needles and Wacko Maria.
But this is not just about “any” old funky short. The desired silhouette is voluminous, almost anti-cool. It borrows from both the squareness of the dad khaki and the coolness of swishy mesh basketball shorts. There is also this Issey Miyake pair in the designer’s classic plissé (the schmancy French word for micropleats), and Yohji Yamamoto’s take on Bermuda shorts, with an asymmetrical apron wrap at the front. Rick Owens has been here the whole time, of course.
This particular wave began with Comme des Garçons’ Spring 2018 collection, which put sequined and animal-print jackets and oversize shirts together with big, bad sequined shorts in the-Candy-Man-can colors: royal blue, Prince purple, springy green, and pungent cotton-candy pink. They were glittery and swingy, offering the freedom of a skirt and the sure-dude tranquility of lacrosse shorts. A few pairs weren’t in sequins but instead were juiced up with pannier-like compartments—cargo pants for the French Revolution. Volume was everything!
That show, in which models danced to disco music as neon lights swirled overhead, reasserted that shorts are fun, and easy, and casual. And if that didn’t convince you, perhaps Frank Ocean on the cover of 032c a few months later did. Marc Jacobs began his ascent to full-on fashion-influencer-slash-archivist by buying the sequined suits in nearly every color, and Ocean continued to wear them on his own time, advancing the dressed-up-basketball-short vibe.
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Welcome to Watches of the Week, where we’ll track the rarest, wildest, and most covetable watches spotted on celebrities.
Rap superstar Future’s son is named—what else?—Baby Future. And Baby Future celebrated his fifth birthday last weekend, officially turning the age when you get to hold up all your fingers while announcing, “I’m this many.” As his birthday present, Future Sr. gave his son a brand-new Rolex Datejust that costs almost $30,000. Many people treat watches of this caliber like heirlooms, holding onto them until their children can truly appreciate an object meant to be treasured forever. But Baby Future received his Rolex before he even hit the first grade. He took it all in stride, offering up a polite, “Thanks” in response to the gift. Also this week: Drake’s collection of Richard Mille pieces expands in less horny directions and Virgil Abloh wears a more traditional Patek Philippe.
Baby Future’s 31-millimeter Rolex Datejust
Baby Future’s teensy Datejust was purchased at Eliantte, high-grade jeweler to the stars, Future’s stylist Bobby Williams tells us. The watch is just small enough to fit on the grade-schooler’s wrist and should make for the best item to turn up at a show-and-tell someday soon.
Virgil Abloh’s Patel Philippe Nautilus 3700
Virgil Abloh caught our attention a couple of weeks ago when he wore a customized completely matte black Patek Philippe. The designer is typically dead set on tweaking designs ever so slightly to make them undeniably his. Not the case with the Patek Philippe he wore while presenting his new “sound installation” in Paris. If there’s an object perfect enough that even Abloh would leave it as-is, it makes sense it’s this vintage Patek Philippe Nautilus with a black dial and 18-carat gold case.
Drake’s Richard Mille RM 11-03
To watch the double-overtime thriller between his beloved Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks, Drake wore yet another Richard Mille watch. Over the past couple months, Drake’s worn a blinged-out lady’s piece as well as one featuring panels printed with erotic phrases (“Let Me Kiss You Tonight” is one PG example), both from Richard Mille. Drake’s newest piece from the brand is the RM 11-03 Automatic Flyback Chronograph with a dial that appears to have been ripped directly from the dash of a Formula One car.
DJ Khaled’s Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph
DJ Khaled, the father of Asahd, appeared on Jimmy Fallon wearing a diamond-encrusted Patek Philippe Nautilus (presumably a major key). The Nautilus is already a watch-guy fave, the rare piece dudes willingly wait on lists for almost a decade to buy. But DJ Khaled built his career on a version of pop hedonism where one A-list name is never enough for a single track. Why just Beyonce when you can get her plus Future and Jay Z? Think of this watch the same way: Why just wear a simple Patek when you can smother it with diamonds?
Brooks Koepka’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller
Winners wear Rolexes. When Tiger Woods won his first Masters tournament in over a decade last month, he celebrated by putting on a Rolex Deepsea D-Blue. And after Brooks Koepka held onto victory at Bethpage Black last weekend, he hoisted the trophy in the air while wearing a Rolex Sky-Dweller. The watch distinguishes itself with a center sub-dial that keeps track of a second time zone. Maybe he already has his time set to Pebble Beach, California, the home of the next major.