Shorts Story

I GOT some knee-length shorts. They are quite sharp-looking, almost trouser-like, made of some sort of synthetic gabardine in a grayed-down black, with back pockets, belt loops, and double snaps on the waistband. (For those who are interested, they come from my old friend Detour Short in caviar or tar, $90. I know. Scandalous.)
Respectable as they are, I haven’t worn them yet. They cover the veiniest area of my thighs but not my ever more wrinkly knees. Calves don’t seem to age as fast as the rest of the legs, so perhaps I can get away with it. No knee socks. I could look like a hockey player or ageing parochial schoolgirl.
Shorts for men are an age issue, too, according to a recent style report in the French newspaper Le Figaro. Two visiting friends, male (who wear shorts of the cargo variety), were jeering at the fashiony get-ups, as in “Who’d ever wear that?” Apparently we are not the only gender to encounter a gap between runway and reality.
The photos are of Bermudas in various guises—including a full-bore plaid suit with bow tie, which the writer assures us is appropriate even for a wedding…if you’re under 30. Up to 40 you can get away with shorts with a jacket or shirt. Older than that? Only on vacation, Le Figaro says reprovingly, as if to imply: You should be seen in them by as few people as possible; if those people are strangers, so much the better.
Maybe the same goes for me, 26 years past the Figaro limit. I was once part of an older women’s discussion group committed to letting each other know the truth if we started wearing clothes or makeup that made us look scary and desperate. Chic or silly? Can’t decide. Tomorrow I’ll take them for a test-drive.