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It’s a Nu-Metal Shorts Summer, Baby

Last summer was all about short shorts for men. This year, it’s all about whatever System of a Down was wearing in 1999. Are you down with the sickness?

The last few summers have been all about men wearing shorts with as little an inseam as possible. It seems, though, that our various nu-metal influences, be it Limp Bizkit’s current revival or the Woodstock ‘99 documentary last year, have now imparted their influence. Hope you held onto your JNCOs, because it’s about to be a season of 20-inch inseams. 

“Fellas, last year I told you it was a 2-inch inseam summer, and this year, I’m telling you it’s 20,” said @willwebstar in a TikTok posted yesterday. As he puts his phone down to show off his fit, his shorts appear so lengthy that you initially can’t see the bottom of them until he steps further away from his phone. If you’re wondering where he got this from, take a quick look at the music videos for songs like “Chop Suey” by System of a Down or “Got the Life” by Korn, and you’ll see his exact lower body outfit combination repeated. 

Outrageously long shorts is just one of the many micro-trends being pulled from the late 1990s and early 2000s nu-metal era, as defined by aforementioned bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and System of a Down as well as Deftones and Linkin Park. For the unfamiliar, nu-metal is best known for combining rap and hip-hop influences with heavy metal, and the fashion reflects the combination accordingly — baggy clothes, basketball jerseys, flat-brim hats often paired with the color black, facial piercings and spikey hair. Above all, loose clothing reigns supreme. 

The fashion revival is apparent in both men and women’s clothing. In fact, many of the items, like cargo pants, are gender neutral. You’ll see this throughout the stage sets of every classic nu-metal band in live Woodstock ‘99 footage, and obviously in the much newer TikTok interpretations.

One common theme to the look, particular in today’s context, is the idea of appearing trashy or just straight-up bad. As one person commented on @willwebstar’s video, “It’s an Adam Sandler summer.” While not directly tied to nu-metal (though, Little Nicky is arguably a nu-metal film), Sandler’s overall look is undoubtedly nu-metal adjacent, adhering to that same formula of long shorts, sports jerseys and gigantic T-shirts. While it’s becoming an increasingly calculated style among TikTokers, an overarching similarity to both nu-metal and Sandler fashion is not trying too hard and being comfortable. Even other iconic nu-metal fashions like the Adidas tracksuit or kilts, both of which were popularized by Korn’s frontman Jonathan Davis, prioritize leisure and roominess above all else. 

If the joy of last season’s male mini shorts were their sluttiness, not all is lost now in the nu-metal moment — shirtlessness and fitted white tanks go well with baggy long shorts (though the wallet chain and those endless pockets on cargo shorts do take away the need for tote bags). But really, with Fred Durst and Jonathan Davis as its icons, isn’t nu-metal fashion already sexy enough?