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更新时间:2014-5-22 20:48:10 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

A New Length for Men's Shorts

The very word 'hemline' can summon visions of midcentury women's fashion and the Byzantine bylaws that simply had to be followed whenever imperious French designers raised and lowered skirt lengths. Those crazy dames, right?

Guys, you're in the same game. For most of the past two decades, men's shorts have barely merited the name, dropping so far down the calf that Linnaeus would have stuck them in the pants family. Call them what you want -- knickerbockers, breeches, clam diggers -- the one thing they haven't been is particularly short.

Finally that's changed. And given how change in the menswear world is measured -- think millimeters per decade rather than centimeters per season for women's wear -- shorts are shortening quickly. In the past few years, the low-water-mark length of a 15-inch-or-so inseam receded to knee-length (11 inches), then a knee-baring 9 inches, then to a quadriceps-exposing 7 inches and on to the newly fashionable thigh-flaunting 5 inches. If men's shorts were a glacier in Greenland, scientists would be freaking out.

One trendy company that's staked its business to an abbreviated hem is Chubbies, which makes and sells only men's shorts with a 5 1/2-inch inseam, recalling Adidas soccer shorts of the 1970s and the Ocean Pacific trunks of the '80s (both of which are collectibles on eBay). The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2011 by four guys in their 20s who'd grown tired of the surf jams and cargo shorts they nearly drowned in during their teens.

'We spend too much time in the gym to hide under frumpy shorts that say, 'I don't care how I look,'' said Rainer Castillo, one of Chubbies' founders and the chief designer. The brand's goal is to bridge the divide between long cargo shorts and fussy, high-end designer short-shorts.

Produced in the U.S. in a range of sporty, casual and dressy renditions, and available via their website for around $50 each, Chubbies make a pretty good case for themselves. Still, Mr. Castillo said he is aware that there's a customer out there who's not ready to bare so much thigh; the company hopes to bring out a 7-inch inseam at some point. That measurement could prove to be a sweet spot of sorts -- smack dab as it is between the conservative 9-inch and the 5-inch party boy.

For Atlanta-based menswear designer and retailer Sid Mashburn, the magic number is close to it. He does either a 7 1/2- or 8-inch inseam. 'I just don't like the longer lengths. They cut off your body in a strange place,' said Mr. Mashburn. He added that he prefers to measure shorts by outseam (the measurement on the outside of the leg, from the waist to the hem) rather than the inseam, since the drop (the distance from the waist to the crotch) can vary as much as a few inches depending on the style. For the moment, however, he sticks to the traditional inseam in descriptions.

It may be only 2 or so inches, but the difference between the Chubbies and Mashburns is meaningful. Chubbies' shorter length (and elastic waistband) dovetails with its irreverent vibe; the shorts are more weekend wear than cocktail fare. The company doesn't use typical poetic names for their colors. Khaki shorts aren't 'bone' or 'sand,' they're 'Khakmeisters.'

By contrast, Sid Mashburn's styles have graduated from beer to vodka tonics. Made of cotton duck, seersucker or pincord and priced from $125 to $165, the shorts show enough leg to feel current without drawing too much attention. (For extra edge, Mr. Mashburn said, his tailor can sever the bottom hem, to finish them like cutoffs.)

However, many larger clothing companies believe that one length won't do for all customers. Menswear company Bonobos, which made its name with well-fitting men's trousers, hedges its bets when it comes to its $68 chino shorts, offering them in four lengths: 11, 9, 7 and 5 inches. J.Crew also offers four different lengths; Club Monaco has three. All make the inseam a prominent detail so guys can rest assured they know what they're getting -- an approach that other online retailers should follow.

So, which length to choose? The 11-inch shorts, said Dwight Fenton, Bonobos' vice president of design, tend to work for guys in their teens who aren't up for very short. The 5-inchers, meanwhile, are favored by men in their 20s who want an on-trend look. 'The same young guys wearing the slim-cut suits,' Mr. Fenton said.

Other factors are obviously height and weight. Taller and leaner gents look better in longer and leaner shorts; shorter builds are better in shorter, boxier shorts. Tall and burly men, meanwhile, can benefit from showing a bit of leg in 7-inch shorts.

The ideal strategy, of course, is to have a few in different colors and lengths -- giving you a pair for every occasion.

After all, summer is too short to spend it in long pants.




Chubbies是旧金山一家专注于新式短裤的时尚公司,只制作和销售内缝长5 1/2英寸的男士短裤,唤起人们对上世纪70年代阿迪达斯(Adidas)足球短裤和80年代 Ocean Pacific运动短裤的回忆(二者目前都是eBay上的收藏品)。该公司于2011年由四个20多岁的年轻人创立,他们厌倦了十几岁时烂大街的冲浪短裤和工装短裤。

Chubbies创始人之一、首席设计师雷纳·卡斯蒂略(Rainer Castillo)说:“我们花了太多时间在体育馆躲在宣称‘我不在乎自己什么样子’的老土短裤里。”该品牌的目标是消除长工装裤和花哨的高档设计师短款短裤之间的鸿沟。


对亚特兰大男装设计师及零售商锡德·马什伯恩(Sid Mashburn)来说,这个长度和魔力数字接近了。他喜欢的长度是7 1/2或8英寸。他说:“我不喜欢太长。那样会显得比例很奇怪。”他还说他更喜欢量外侧缝的长度(腿外侧缝的长度,从腰到裤边),因为不同款式从腰到裆部的距离会有几英寸的不同。不过目前他在产品说明里还是用传统的内缝长。



不过,很多大型时装公司认为,一种长度并不能适用于所有顾客。以合身男裤成名的男装公司Bonobos对其售价68美元的斜纹棉布短裤就采取了保险的办法,提供了四种长度:11英寸、9英寸、7英寸和5英寸。J.Crew也提供了四种长度;Club Monaco有三种长度。这几家公司都在内缝上下足了功夫,这样男士们就会很放心,知道自己买的是什么——这是其他网上零售商应该效仿的一个方法。

那么该选择哪种长度呢? Bonobos设计副总裁德怀特·芬顿(Dwight Fenton)说,11英寸的短裤比较适合那些不太喜欢极短裤长的十几岁的男孩子。与此同时,5英寸的短裤则受到20几岁追逐时尚的人的青睐。芬顿说:“和年轻人穿修身西装是一个道理。”