“Things my boyfriend would look good in,” reads the screen of a TikTok video by user @GabrielleKraus. As a viewer, I expected the usual handsome-guy garments: a tuxedo, perhaps, or a muscle tank.
No. The video was about shorts. Really short shorts. Specifically those with a 5.5-inch inseam.
This summer, the video-sharing app flooded with young millennials and Gen-Z women and men alike lusting over guys in teeny bottoms. Videos compiling the hashtag #5inchseam have more than 23.1 million views on TikTok. Google searches for the trending length skyrocketed in July.
From the early aughts into the mid 2010s, men’s shorts appeared longer, sporting either 7-inch or 9-inch inseams. But in last few years, shorter styles are more en vogue. Blame Armie Hammer’s carefree hamstring-grazers in 2017’s “Call Me By Your Name.”
It’s become an irresistible look — especially for ladies such as Tyler Alexander, a 20-year-old TikTokker who lives near Calabasas, California. She went so far as to hem her boyfriend Ryan’s shorts — without him knowing — to achieve the desired inseam and spice up his look. The video of her secret scheme has over 875,000 views.
🌈🥰He don’t even know he got the 5.5 inch inseam now #inseam #sewingtutorial #5inch #5inchseam #7inchstraights #hem #sewingdiy #TokyoOlympics
♬ оригинальный звук – mr.temik
Like me, she also heard about the trend from videos on the app. “He’s taller, and he has nice legs, [so] it would be nicer if he showed his legs a little more,” Alexander told The Post. Luckily, Ryan, 19, had left a pair of rubber-ducky patterned swim trunks at her house, so she broke out her sewing machine.
When Alexander later revealed the alteration, Ryan appreciated the new, more flattering look. “He’s probably going to have me hem a few more pairs for him.”
Bushwick-based fashion photographer Gabriel Perez Silva is surprised the trend went mainstream: He’s been rocking shorter shorts for about eight years now — and getting roasted by his friends because of it: “‘Why are your shorts so short? Are you wearing your girlfriend’s shorts?’ ” the 23-year-old recalled his pals saying.
#5inchseam #mensfashion #nyc #shortshorts #tattoo #miamibeach
♬ Ben10 Trap Intro – sheriff_alex
Perez Silva, who is from Florida, began wearing them because of the hot temps down south. He thinks tinier bottoms are now beloved thanks to social-media shorts sensation, Chubbies, a frat-boy brand that launched in 2011 and popularized the phrase “Sky’s out, thighs out.”
Now, “with TikTok, girls [are] expressing that they look better on guys,” he said. “And guys are pushing each other to feel more comfortable wearing whatever they want and not be self-conscious about it.”
Although most of Perez Silva’s pairs are vintage, if you’re looking to source short shorts, he says styles made for the martial art Muay Thai are “the best.”
Desmond Brooks, co-owner of the Tribeca-based tailor atelier ShopBoy, agrees that fighting sports have had a huge effect on the trend.
“You see Conor McGregor, who is considered a manly man, walking around in short Versace shorts,” the 35-year-old told The Post. He credits the NBA and pro-soccer, rock stars such as Harry Styles and fashion houses like Gucci for jumpstarting the look.
There’s a reason why these shorts can be so transformative for men: “Especially for a shorter person, it elongates your body. It does a good job of framing somebody,” Brooks said.
He’s had many requests to bring up shorts — even swishy athletic styles. Gym rats specifically “want shorts that hit right above the quad muscles, so they can see the results of them working out,” he said.
But Brooks warns that not all 5.5-inch inseams are created equal. “The inseam depends on where the rise is, it really varies by garment,” he said. Rather, look for the “safe spot”: “3 or 4 inches above the actual kneecap.”
I took Brooks’ advice to task. My boyfriend, Nick Valeri, is a little on the shorter side — 5-feet, 6-inches tall (we stan a short king!). I’ve been trying to get him in a pair of smaller pants for a while now.
I broke out a measuring tape and safety pins and got to work on his favorite pair of shorts, a 7-inch inseam pair from J.Crew.
He slipped on his newly 5.5-inch shorts and boom! Like the Grinch on Christmas, he grew a few inches right before my eyes. Instead of being swallowed by his clothes, he looked fit and put together. Who was this new man?
“Larry Bird used to wear short shorts, and he was a champion, so I feel like a champion,” he told me, adding that he felt much cooler. “It helps with the humidity,” he said, flexing his gams.
Looks like we’ll be heading to the mall this week.