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Why Can’t I Get Those 5-Inch Short Shorts to Show Off My Meaty Man Thighs Correctly?

It’s probably because you’re a very tall man, and you need a full 7 inches

Surely by now you’ve heard that meaty man thighs are in. And maybe more importantly, that nothing shows off your prime boeuf quite like 5-inch inseam shorts (a flavor of summer now as familiar as farmer’s tan).

FWIW: While TikTok would have you believe that male short shorts are a trend that originated just last summer — as new to the world as luxury COVID-19 face masks — per the authorities at r/MaleFashionAdvice (MFA), the fit has been a topic of discussion (and drip) for nearly a decade. In fact, eight years ago, one such MFA subscriber created a post in which he made the case for 5- to 7-inch inseams, noting, “A 5- to 7-inch inseam will hit 3 to 6 inches above most guys’ knees, and while that’s not a length that will work for everyone, I’d like to see more of you giving it a try.”

He, of course, practiced what he preached:

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The trouble is, despite their on-trend popularity, 5-inch inseam shorts aren’t always so perfectly suited to showing off the goods. Most of them are too long. Some are too short. Others don’t fit as well around the waist. Yet more have leg openings that are either too wide or not wide enough. It’s for these reasons that you should factor in your height when attempting to buy a short that will put all of that meaty man thigh on display. To that end, as one 6-foot-4 redditor has noted, “Nine-inch shorts look like 7-inch ones on me.”

“Short shorts with a 5-inch inseam may be the rage, but they might not fit everyone’s idea of what makes them feel good,” explains Logesh Pillay, a regular MFA contributor. “Shorts with a 9-inch inseam would suit anyone over 6-feet tall better than their shorter counterparts. A safe bet would be a 7-inch inseam if you’re unsure about a 5-inch inseam.”

Jason Gerraughty, a 38-year-old MFA contributor, adds that while he’s well aware of the 5-inch inseam shorts craze, he still prefers his a bit longer — his inseam of choice is 7 inches, but he likes to fold the hem so it’s more like 6 inches (or an inch away from the 5-inch promised land). “I own three pairs, all from Bonobos,” he tells me. “The fit is great for me, and the construction is solid enough for the price I wanted to spend. I feel like shorts shouldn’t be an investment piece, but I also don’t want them to fall apart so quickly that I have to replace them every summer.”

As for how you size up male short shorts for yourself, given that virtual fittings are still in their infancy, your best bet is to try on a few pairs at varying lengths to find out which works best for you.

As a starting point, Pillay says that he’s had some luck with Patagonia, which provides a more outdoorsy take on short shorts. On the flip side, he adds, “Club Monaco offers a clean, urban take.” If you’re trying to save some money, another redditor suggests that your perfect-length shorts are already hanging in your closet. “I’ve got some cheap jeans and chinos from AEO, A&F or even Hollister, cut them down, folded the bottoms up and ironed them so they stay,” he writes. “Best fitting shorts I’ve ever had.”

Well, what are you waiting for? Go forth and let those meaty man thighs free.

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