Basketball shorts can be an excellent addition to your wardrobe, whether you are planning to hit the courts or just want a summer chilled vibe to your casual outfit.
Over the years, the style and flair of the humble shorts have changed and developed. But now they are firmly in the realm of stylish, loose, and comfortable.
Choosing the right basketball shorts, and knowing when to wear them (and when not to) will help you decide on the best way to style shorts to suit you.
A Brief History of Basketball Shorts
Unlike other sportswear, the design and shape of shorts seem to have little to do with technology or performance. They have been more focused on style than function.
Back in the 1900s, shorts were styled much like football shorts – knee-length and padded. Some players wore leggings.
By the 1920s, shorts were getting shorter, until they ended mid-thigh, and through the next decade materials changed as new fabric technologies were discovered. In 1940s not only were the shorts made from polyester and nylon, but they were getting even shorter.
By the 1960s it was common to have professional basketball players in tight shorts with just a 3” inseam – it could not be more different from today. You’ll notice images from the next couple of decades of basketball players in what really short shorts.
When did it all change? Well, we have the wonder that is Michael Jordan to thank for that. Back in the ‘90s, when he played for the Chicago Bulls. He made a point of wearing his (tight, short) college shorts under his Bulls uniform, which meant that he needed his uniform shorts to be looser fitting. Combined with his habit of pulling his shorts down in defense, uniform designer Champion needed to create a pair of shorts that were both long and wide.
Now, basketball shorts sit well below the knee – despite the hindrance to the performance that this can cause. Basketball shorts remain the only sportswear item that follows fashion, style, and personal preference rather than following the technology and innovation for better performance.
Things To Consider When Styling Basketball Shorts
If you are ready to take on the shorts style as part of your casual look, then there are a few things to consider:
- Occasion: Shorts should not be worn at a formal occasion, and you cannot style them with a suit or a tuxedo and brogues. Keep it casual and relaxed.
- Fabrics: Basketball shorts are typically made with sports materials, like performance polyester or jersey. You can take this athleisure style further and add more performance fabrics to your outfit, by pairing with a basketball-style jersey or a sports singlet. You can mix fabrics too – basketball shorts work well with a cotton V-neck tee.
- Tops: Go the whole hog and dress like LeBron or Michael Jordan with a basketball shirt and shorts combo. Great for being bang on trend with athleisure style, you can choose a singlet or a tee for this. Basketball shorts work with a plain or colored tee, or for a more eye-catching finish try a tee with a bold logo or design.
- Sneakers: You will want to be comfortable, as basketball shorts are all about loose and casual. Of course, basketball sneakers are the way to go for most people and choosing a pair of high tops is an easy solution. Other sneakers work just as well, or why not go the ultimate in casual with a pair of sliders for beach ready style.
Styling the basketball short look needs to focus on relaxed, loose, and casual to make the most of the shape and style. There are so many different designs and colors to choose from, so you really can make it your own.