There seems to be a not-so-silent game tug of war going on in the jorts arena. What, you might ask, could possibly be so divisive about jean shorts? Everything, it turns out. Because as the style slowly makes its way back into menswear’s good graces, denim-lovers are split on how, exactly, they should fit. One line of thinking maintains—ardently, of course—that the only jorts worth considering are the slim, trim versions of the ‘70s, the type designed for maximum mobility and an improvised electric-guitar-solo’s worth of sex appeal. Another swears by the aughts-indebted skater-y variety—wide, baggy, sometimes made with carpenter loops. But don’t fret: you don’t have to choose a side at all! Instead, buy a pair of sawed-off Levi’s 505s, a perfect middle-of-the-road option both teams can root for.
Plenty of guys turn to Levi’s’ ever-trusty 501 to satisfy their denim short fix, but the style is a tad slimmer in the thigh than you might expect. (Only when they get to the knees do they straighten out, completing that telltale goes-with-everything silhouette folks have loved for over 100 years.) The 505s, on the other hand, offer a relaxed fit that’s slightly roomier all around, so a simple hack turns them into shorts with plenty of maneuverability. Cut above the knee but with a wider, more relaxed silhouette, they fit like the rest of your favorite shorts do—with a 5” inseam that hits your thighs precisely where you want it to.
If you take pride in your short king status, these jorts make a lot more sense than their below-the-knee counterparts. We’re not saying you need to avoid the latter category entirely, but go any baggier and you run the risk of looking like some snot-nosed 8th grader making a ruckus in detention—or, y’know, Kevin Smith. Discrete (ish) jorts like these serve as only one part of a complete outfit, not the centerpiece of some contentious, eyebrow-raising swerve. In other words, everybody wins. Peace at last!