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European men are wearing shorts and capri pants?

This topic keeps coming 'round now and again, but I still am struck by news footage of intra-European travelers at fairs and airports and leisure taking advantage of the (temporary?) relaxation of the limits where the men, adult men, are wearing shorts cut just below or just above the knee.
I'm old enough to remember when European men, especially in Spain, didn't wear shorts unless it was part of a sports uniform.
So it still looks a little remarkable to me to see this -- and the shorts aren't like the baggy long synthetic basketball shorts that (some) Americans wear, that makes them look like tubby toddlers, nor are they like the until-recently popular cargo shorts; they're more trim.

Also remarkable, a story on the Asterix amusement park outside Paris mentions that the rollercoaster is named after the god Osiris, and it has me wondering how much of middle America's amusement parks have been bowdlerized over the past couple of decades to remove any 'pagan' references. I'm imagining that many Americans are attached to Classical and Classical-revival architecture but don't give much thought to what was going on inside those kinds of temples and basilicas...

Posted by
477 posts

I wear shorts in all weather and in all locations. I'm old enough to have no regard at all for anyone's idea of fashion but, of course, I would cheerfully respect local custom.

Posted by
3436 posts

I have seen men in Europe wearing all sorts of casual clothing. Shorts baggy or fitted, sports gear, gym wear, baseball caps, and so on. I have spotted them in airports, shopping centers, hotels, strolling down the streets, everywhere. The concept that European men don't wear such things is very last century. Yes, there are still places where you see fewer men dressed that way. But the times have changed and I do not feel it is temporary in any way shape or form. Of course I have not been everywhere, but I am just reporting what I see.

That said, I will still continue to wear jeans, khakis, or other long pants and avoid t-shirts and shorts except if I am at a beach or other swimming spot where shorts and t-shirts are the expected fashion. No one wants to see my legs, not that I really care how much of my skin is seen. But that is just my "style".

Posted by
4119 posts

I have never known European men not wear shorts, unless you are referring to business attire or the the old men who gather in the shade of a village tree each day. Capri pants for men would only be for trendy Italian architects, media types etc. My gay friend has a pair and he gets ribbed regularly if he dares wear them!

Posted by
4062 posts

No man with any sense of pride would be seen wearing a pair of capri pants.

I'm not sure what these "limits" are when it comes to European dress code for men, shorts are acceptable attire for men and have been for decades.

Posted by
1711 posts

We’ve seen the younger men in Croatia wear capris quite often.

Posted by
2238 posts

I have seen men wearing shorts throughout Europe for years. In 2016 a member from our tour wore a pair of “Capri” style fitted pants. That was the first I’d seen that style. He looked trim & fit. Good for him to wear what he was comfortable in.

Posted by
7354 posts

I’ve seen European men wearing capris in Paris for at least 15 yrs.

Posted by
126 posts

I live in France. Have for years; in Lyon and in a small town north of there. And of course I've traveled all over the country over the years.

Men wear shorts in hot weather. Not all, but many do. In hot weather, if you choose to wear shorts in casual settings in France, at least,, you would raise nary an eyebrow.

That said, none, or at least none I've encountered in my travels around the country, wear shorts in cooler or cold weather, unlike some American men who never seem to have graduated into their "long pants" stage of life and who wear shorts year round. I've never quite understood that behavior.

Posted by
3436 posts

Sammy, i agree with you on not understanding the supposedly adult males who insist on wearing shorts year round regardless of the weather. Here in Colorado, it is not uncommon to see these men at the gas station in flip-flops and shorts in the midst of a blizzard. they are shivering and their legs are turning blue, but they are going to exercise their god given freedom to dress inappropriately. Are they still trying to show their mom who wouldn't let them out of the house dressed that way they can wear what they want? :-)

Posted by
1395 posts

I think Barbra, Sammy, and Mark are winning this discussion thread so far :-)

The observation/surmise that it's northerners wearing little while visiting the south is an interesting one, and coincides with earlier joking on the RS boards about speedos and bellies. It also has a parallel with how those used to warm climates overdo it when visiting cooler spots -- here in San Francisco it's not unusual to see transplants or visitors from the southwest bundled up like it's a blizzard when it gets chilly (which is often) -- a sweater won't do for them, they need the whole winter catalog!

Sammy and Mark are bringing out the hidden assumptions in discussions of short pants: that there's a strong childhood association with shorts that may or may not be overcome by other considerations regarding suitability to the conditions.
The men who refuse to grow up, or knuckle under to parental authority, are another variation on pet owners who refuse to put collars on their pets - they're overcompensating for limits on their 'freedom' when they were small, perhaps, and the effect now is animal abuse and public nuisance mistaking itself for love of your pal's autonomy.

This could also lead/tie in to a discussion of the role of neckties in polite society. Is wearing a necktie a sign of deference to authority? An assertion of authority? Sometimes neckties are a way of signaling subservience and sometimes they are signaling domination. And sometimes a necktie is just a necktie.

Posted by
5572 posts

We (boomer Americans) use to wear pants type knickers for climbing and cross country skiing pants. (Brits wear climbing pants over their knickers).
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/knickers

Definition of knickers 1: loose-fitting short pants gathered at the
knee

But outdoor fashions change.

https://rockandice.com/climbing-gear-tips/why-doesnt-anyone-climb-in-knickers-anymore/?cn-reloaded=1

Due to the numerous and important advantages of knickers, I am
surprised that all climbers do not wear them. You feel the same way,
obviously, and, like me, are amazed that climbers choose instead to
wear such ridiculous items as pants that stretch or have gusseted
crotches, board shorts and even capris, or “manpris” when donned
by an alpha who pulled them on in a dark closet and didn’t realize his
error until he’d already cinched up the waist cord.

Posted by
1395 posts

I brought this topic up here and learned for the first time that one of the neighbors had worked some years ago at the Univ of Zimbabwe in Harare -- he said that when he started there he wore shorts because it was hot and they suited him, but he was regularly ragged on -- "you're not at school anymore, you shouldn't be wearing shorts" "Not at school? This is a university!" "Exactly, it's uni , not school and you should not dress like a schoolboy" they insisted.

Posted by
17768 posts

Except for gardening, where i don't want to get my knees dirty, I generally wear short all summer long in Denver, and I don't think I am an exception. I have three or four pair in my drawer, including a pair of cut-off jeans and a really short pair I bought in the German Alps. In 2009, I visited Herrencheimsee on a particularly hot day, and I took lots of pictures of men in shorts. Of course, Lederhosen is a common form of dress in Bavaria.

Posted by
3542 posts

Maybe French men are returning to styles set by Louis XIV, with Spaniards emulating Felipe II, and even Brits recalling George III. Will wigs be far next?

And by definition, men on the isle of Capri wearing pants of any length are wearing Capri pants.

Posted by
14103 posts

I have photos of men in the Place de Vosges in Paris wearing shorts and playing with their toddlers on Sunday . . . from decades ago.

Posted by
1395 posts

These mentions of knickers and lederhosen have sent me down a WWW rabbithole tonight looking at clothing for the forgotten Olympic sport of orienteering -- even lower on the list than curling and the biathlon is crosscountry scavenger hunting,
which is already impossible to televise, and to make matters worse competitors typically wear knickers with rubberized kneesocks and cleated shoes, maybe gaiters in extra muddy conditions, too, just to make the whole ensemble look as dorky as possible.
Orienteers used to look like over-caffeinated alpinists, complete with a birdfeather in their hatband, but as everything nowadays has sped up, they now look more like bicycle racers who have lost their bikes and taken to scrambling through the woods.
Now I know how to answer if anyone on the airplane (dreaming, I know) teases me about compression socks -- I can say I'm actually on my way to an orienteering competition.

Posted by
4062 posts

I wear shorts all year round when I'm indoors simply because I prefer the less restrictive feel of them and also because I don't feel the cold so much. Once late October arrives then I will start wearing hiking trousers when walking the dog but will still wear a short sleeved wicking t-shirt. Only when it's very cold or raining will I wear a jacket on a walk and even then it's the most lightweight, waterproof but breathable one I could find. My walks tend to be quite vigorous so I quickly warm up.

There is is noticeable element of truth in the north/south divide. Those from more northerly countries in Europe are more inclined to dress for warmer weather during temperatures where the southerners will still be wrapped up for winter. I've worn shorts in Italy and Spain in February when temperatures are in the low 20's (celsius) and received strange looks from locals who are dressed as if it's sub zero.

Posted by
10339 posts

Someone mentioned men's fashions in the courts of Louis XIV. Talk about different from today: men dressed up with tights, tops lacey at the neck, long curled hair/wigs. Only for the courtiers and wealthy. Times do change.

Posted by
481 posts

When I was in Italy in August 2015 I took lots of photos of Italian men with capris and manbags. I was happy to see that men there were willing to be more fashion forward.

Posted by
4062 posts

Capri's just look hideous on men however I'm wondering if some of the mention of capri's are actually trousers or jeans that have turn-ups clear of the ankle accompanied with shoes or trainers and no socks. This is a current trend and can be seen everywhere in Europe but it's not what are considered capri's.

Capri's belong in Room 101 along with zip off trousers and sandals with socks. Either wear shorts or trousers (with a high turn-up if you must) but never the inbetween horror of the capri.

Posted by
1405 posts

I'm always amused by the posters who seem to enjoy making less than
complimentary comments about cargo shorts. I wear them at home (not in winter) and while on vacation. My wife hates them because they're not fashionable; but they are functional. Guess who carries a lipstick and other such small items in his side pockets so the wife doesn't have to carry a purse? No complaints from her then.

On our RS tour in France last year I was apparently the fashion leader. As we headed south and the temperature got warmer I was the first to wear shorts. A bunch of the guys commented that they were glad someone was finally wearing shorts and the next morning a bunch of us showed up wearing them. While in Nice, I noticed that most people were wearing shorts, locals and tourists.

Posted by
4156 posts

Are we still talking about shorts in Europe? This isn't 1986. I've lived here for 13 years in Austria. Everyone wears shorts when it is hot, including me, my husband and my kids. We travel all over Europe and find the same is true everywhere. Men often wear shorts that hit just below the knee.