Summer is a notoriously difficult season for clothes. For starters, dudes be sweatin’. So you can forget about layering. But maybe more disconcertingly, jeans, a staple in just about every man’s closet, aren’t necessarily built for 90-degree weather. And so, we’re left with jorts, an item of clothing for which there is no middle ground. That is, you’re either pro-jort or anti-jort. “We try to not judge the other group,” a jort enthusiast confesses to me, “but it’s impossible.”
As for how you become a jort convert, it’s probably first worth noting that jean shorts aren’t back in style — largely because they haven’t been out of style for some time. “Jorts are like high-waisted jeans, where every few years someone proclaims they’re back in style when they’ve been in style since 2008,” one subscriber to the Male Fashion Advice subreddit (MFA) explains.
Honestly, denim shorts for dudes have been cool since at least the 1970s when Lemmy from Motörhead sported his infamously high-cut, barely crotch-covering pair.
You’ll notice a trend developing here — primarily that denim shorts always look best when they’re thigh-high or above. In fact, I’d argue that jorts only began to spiral downward in the 1990s when they started to inch their way closer to the knees. Because let’s face it, jorts were always meant to be worn as Daisy Dukes. “They have a bad rap for being white trash and unstylish, but that’s for the really baggy ones,” writes one MFAer. “If you wear them slim in the legs, it’s a non-issue.”
According to Brandon, who’s been wearing his self-cut denim shorts “since at least 2010,” a 5-inch inseam is a good place to start. “I prefer mine closer to 3-inches, but that might be a bit high for most dudes.” Brandon tells me that the beauty of jorts is that it’s almost impossible to cut a pair of denim jeans the wrong way. “Even if you cut the legs unevenly, you can double-cuff the bottom and even the legs out,” he says.
In terms of the best type of jeans to truncate into jorts, as the MFAer above indicated, Brandon says he recently retired an old pair of skinny jeans that “became too tight after putting on some leg muscle. I cut those bad boys down to mid-thigh length, I’d say to about a 5-inch inseam.”
Others, however, tell me that skinny-jean-derived jorts won’t let your balls properly breathe. Therefore, the best thing to do, per another MFA subscriber, is “to go to Goodwill and buy a pair of old, loose jeans and cut them to your desired length.”
So while many people consider jorts to be Frankenstein’s Monster — and will never be convinced otherwise. Their beauty lies in the fact that they’re your Frankenstein’s Monster, which you’ve tailored yourself exactly to the specifications you desire. Or as redditor Harald12 suggests, “The factory-made ones are bad, which is why the anti-jort stigma exists. But if you were to go out and find a pair of jeans that fit you, cut off a bit and rolled a cuff out of the rest, they’re great!”