The Best-Fitting Shorts For Your Build

It's shorts season, guys. Looking for the right cut and length? Our guide has the quick answer to the best shorts for your build.

Stitch Fix Men’s laydown of stacked shorts in navy, olive, pink, yellow, grey and purple.


For starters, fit shouldn’t only be based on your height. It’s an easy mistake to make. The perfect pair should factor in a few things: your leg length (think: your denim or pant inseam), leg width (the cut of the leg opening) and torso length (upper body).

As a general rule, shorts should extend to either right above or right below your kneecaps—regardless of body build—based on your personal preference.

“When it comes to fit, remember this credo: if it’s skin tight, it’s not right. Do a pinch test to ensure that you have enough space between you and the fabric.”


The Long & Short of Shorts Inseams

At the Knee

This inseam ranges from 10” or more. We recommend this style for huskier builds because it will elongate your frame. Avoid going too longit will make you appear shorter.

Above the Knee

This inseam ranges from 9–10” or so. As the name says, this will hit just above the knee. Most shorts fall within this range and work for pretty much all body types.


This inseam ranges from 7–9” or less. This will hit just a few inches above the knee. Lengthwise, think of your typical pair of boxer briefs with legs. This works best for regular, athletic and slimmer body types.


This inseam ranges from 5–7” or so. This will hit a little below the midway point between your knee and hip. Lengthwise, think of square cut swim trunks. This style best suits slimmer body types.

Above the Upper-thigh

This inseam ranges from 4” or less. You’d be approaching hotpants range. Unless your shorts game is at its peak or you’re strutting down a runway, leave this one to the professionals.

Remember: Shorts Length Is A Personal Preference

  • If you like shorts that drop above the knee: Go with a 9–10” inseam
  • If you like shorts that fall at your lower thigh (2 inches above the knee): Go with a 7–9” inseam
  • If you like shorts that stop at your upper-thigh (3 inches above the knee): Go with a 5–7” inseam

Stitch Fix Men's model wearing peach hoodie and grey shorts.


Body Type Characteristics:

  • Wide shoulders
  • Narrow midsection
  • Lean legs

Since regular body types have balanced proportions, you have more wiggle room to experiment with different lengths. But, if you come across shorts that run past your knees, keep it moving.

Best shorts for Regular Guys:

You’re safe with anything that hits just above the knee. Since you’re so proportional, you’ll want to keep your shorts that way. That being said, you can play with different lengths and styles.

Best Inseams for Regular Guys:

Plan around 8 inches or anything that hits just above the knee.

“The longer you go, the shorter you appear and run risk of throwing off your natural balance.” — Stylist Tiffany R.

More Tips For Styling Shorts With A Regular Build:

  • Skip relaxed shorts styles. They can overwhelm your bottom half, especially if you’re wearing a slim fitting shirt.
  • Don’t be afraid to be your own tailor. If you like that pair that’s a bit too long (they may be really comfy; we won’t judge)―roll the cuffs up a bit and see how they look in a mirror.

Stitch Fix Men's model wearing baby blue tie-dye hoodie, green shorts and white sneakers.


Body Type Characteristics

  • Wider midsection & waist
  • Narrow shoulders compared to waist

For the guy with a husky build, choose shorts that aren’t too wide or too tight through the leg.

Best shorts for Husky Guys:

You’ll want a longer inseam here to offset a broader frame. Look for something at your knee or just below it. However, going too long will make you appear shorter.

Best Inseams for Husky Guys:

You can go up to 10” here if it doesn’t drop too low.

“I suggest going with a longer inseam to lengthen your frame. Go up to a 10” inseam that hits you at or just below the knee.” — Stylist Tiffany R.

Embrace the same fabrics used in your favorite pants and jeans. Shorts with some stretch can help bigger guys seeking a slimmer fit. Be sure to stick with neutral colors, like navy and gray, to streamline your look. If prints and patterns are your jam, select those that are smaller.

More Tips For Styling Shorts With A Husky Build:

  • Steer clear of distressed styles. Certain details, like rips or holes, can draw attention to your midsection.
  • Narrow your focus. Slim shorts can make a larger guy appear smaller.

Stitch Fix Men's model wearing pink crew neck t-shirt, khaki shorts and white leather sneakers.


Slim Guy Characteristics

  • Leaner, smaller frame
  • Shoulders & waist of equal width
  • Proportionate arms & legs

You have the flexibility to go with a higher rise, depending on your style preferences. Be aware that shorter options will make you appear taller.

Best shorts for Slim Guys:

Wear them a little high, wear them a little low—it’s really up to you. Experiment with different lengths and styles based on your outfit.

Best Inseams for Slim Guys:

If you’re looking for a shorter short, go with a 5” inseam or so. If longer suits you, stick closer to 7” or so.

“I recommend wearing shorts that fit your body type. Tailored, slim-cut shorts balance out your proportions.” — Stylist Tiffany R.

More Tips For Styling Shorts With A Slim Build:

  • Avoid loose-fitting tops. Pieces like baggy hoodies can call attention to your legs.
  • Opt for lighter-shade shorts. Darker colors will minimize your overall look.


Body Type Characteristics

  • Broad shoulders
  • Muscular arms & legs
  • Narrow waist

Drop the weights and back away from the oversized cargos. Yep, those. You spend hours in the gym, so why cover up that hard work? The biggest misconception muscular guys have is that they need to wear baggier clothes.

Best shorts for Athletic Guys:

Guys, fitted shorts aren’t just for fashionistas. Not only do they complement your gains at the gym, they also even out the proportion of your appearance.

Best Inseams for Athletic Guys:

Stick to a regular length around 8” and avoid anything that broadens your frame.

“Our Stylists recommend shorts in a regular, classic cut to show off your definition.”— Stylist Tiffany R.

More Tips For Styling Shorts With An Athletic Build:

  • Go for range of motion. Try out shorts with built-in performance fabric for more stretch.
  • Avoid skinny shorts that will make your build appear wider. Fitted doesn’t mean tight.

Don’t get the short end of the stick this summer. Elevate your shorts game just in time for warmer weather. Take your style quiz, order a Fix and ask your expert stylist to throw in a pair of shorts or two that will fit your build and keep you cool all summer long. Shipping, returns and exchanges are always on us. 

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