There are few outfit choices as maligned as a man in jean shorts. Perhaps you know them by their extremely scientific name: jorts. Either way, jean shorts have long been synonymous with the fashion of middle-aged suburban dads, alongside graphic tees from Old Navy and clearance rack New Balance sneakers. (One of those things is considered cool now.) The only other denim-related article equally hated might be boot-cut jeans, which are still so feverishly despised that the Internet went up in arms over the fact that Balenciaga decided to resurrect the out-of-date style a few years back. But, even despite the venom hurled against it, the humble has maintained something of an eternal presence among men, whether you like it or hate it or merely tolerate it. Guys are just gonna wear shorts made out of jeans. What’s new, though, is that this season, you can spot the style in designer collections left and right.
Saint Laurent, famous for selling full-length skinny jeans, now offers high-cut jean shorts that are whiskered and distressed just so. The Japanese denim lords at Kapital sells a knee-length pair with embroidered skeleton bones running down the leg.
And then there is Los Angeles-based designer Mike Amiri. Amiri is famous for designing skinny moto jeans that populate nightclubs like 1 Oak—but who recently decided to swerve somewhere a little roomier. The fun doesn’t stop there: he makes a pair of shorts in a faded paisley print, too.
These are not your beat-up Levi’s: shorts from labels like these run anywhere from $590 to $719. Some look decidedly bland and dad-leaning, like this pair from Acne Studios. Others, like this leopard-printed number from Vetements, are designed to turn heads. There is a jort for everyone, it seems.
It is hard to imagine a summer where dudes embrace jorts the same way they’ve adopted five-inch Patagonia baggies. Sure, every once in a while, someone wildly stylish like Pharrell or Tyler, the Creator will decide to don a pair, but that feels like the exception, not the rule.
But perhaps these designers are merely taking a leap of faith here—throwing these fashion-upped jorts out there to see who takes the bait. This moment in men’s fashion—full of wild-style suits, funky mules, flared pants, and more—has more leeway than ever. If there was ever summer to swing for the short, frayed denim fences, this might be it.