Designer Men's Shorts Are Ridiculously Overpriced

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Cutoffs by Michael Bastian. Photo: Courtesy of Michael Bastian

Men are relatively new to shopping for themselves. Could designers be trying to take advantage of them? Eric Wilson penned a piece for today's "Styles" section in the Times about how ridiculously overpriced men's shorts have become (maybe $750 Hervé Léger bikinis that can't get wet will get their day in the sun next week). Spending $195 on shorts used to be insane. But now you can buy Tom Ford's cotton chino tennis shorts for $650, Giorgio Armani's cotton drawstring shorts for $775, or Thom Browne's seersucker man skort for $1,495. So illogically priced are shorts, some of them even cost more than pants. Neil Barrett makes gray tropical-weight wool city shorts that cost $615 and pants of the same fabric that cost $485. Do designers take men for fools?

Designer Michael Bastian defends the extravagant shorts, arguing that the work that goes into them is the same that goes into pants — pants just happen to have more fabric at the bottom. Bastian makes $540 cutoff khaki shorts with boxer briefs sewn inside. The cotton is hand-dyed, the buttons are pearl or horn, and the frayed edges are hand-ripped and washed a few times at extreme temperatures. And did we mention the manties are sewn in? At least if you men buy them, you know what you're paying for. The outside world might only notice you have underwear sewn into your shorts, but that doesn't mean you can't appreciate the craftsmanship.

Pricing Designer Shorts? Think Deep Pockets [NYT]