Suits with shorts. Shorts with suits. No matter how you word it, it’s a small tear at the seams of society. Odell Beckham Jr. and JuJu Smith-Schuster ripped the hole a bit wider at the ESPYs red carpet Sunday night.
The short-suit phenomenon extends back two decades if you’re well versed in designer Thom Browne’s 2001 collection, but you probably first saw them in Game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the arena for their ill-fated matchup against the Golden State Warriors by making a statement. Matching suits. And for LeBron, matching shorts.
A few days later, Draymond Green wore his own pair of suit shorts to the Finals. Accused of copying James’s style, Green pointed out that he had been on the suit short game for years. He’s right, but those efforts were received … differently.
Draymond wore them first, but LeBron revealed them to the masses. Here’s the Google search history for “suit shorts” over the last year, per Google Trends.
That spike is the NBA Finals occurs during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and from there the movement has spread. A few weeks after the Finals, Oklahoma guard (and longtime LeBron trainee) Trae Young wore a suit with shorts sans socks (Try saying “suit with shorts sans socks” 10 times fast) to the NBA draft.
Yet the shorts suit movement has a competitor: The burgeoning no-shirt suit look. While Orioles fans (and my boss) were distraught about shortstop Manny Machado’s imminent trade to the Dodgers on Tuesday, Machado bared his heart –– and by heart, I mean chest at the All-Star Game in Washington D.C.
On the other end of the country on Wednesday, Eagles defensive backs Rodney McLeod (left) and Jalen Mills (right) mirrored the move at the ESPYs.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard went shirtless while sitting on the bench for a game against the Lakers at Staples Center in December.
The no-shirt look is a statement, but it hasn’t attracted the star power of suit shorts, and it’s a tough look if you don’t have McLeod’s abs. Ignore for a moment how silly this all looks and focus on the bigger picture. A trend is emerging. Unlike the suits, it doesn’t seem to be short-lived. Smith-Schuster isn’t exactly a fashion icon (he paid a TMZ cameraman $100 to swap pants when he got denied at a Los Angeles restaurant in March), but Beckham has the potential to be a true trend-setter. He has the largest Instagram following of any NFL player.
LeBron and Odell embracing the suit shorts movement midway through summer could trigger an effect that cascades down the social ladder and spills across the entire nation. First, suit shorts will be acceptable at clubs and parties. Then, it will become the newest trend in #weddingszn. By the time people begin wearing suit shorts in your office, it will be too late. The summer of suit shorts is here. Are you ready to embrace it?