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  • Illustrations by Mr Andrea Mancini

Exactly 50 years ago this year, the fashion designer Sir Hardy Amies published his now classic style handbook, The ABC of Men's Fashion, a collection of pithily delivered points of view that touched on everything from sun lamps (a precursor of tanning beds – "their use must be considered a bit caddish") to trouser cuffs ("you can't have any"). On shorts, he offered readers the following piece of advice: "Never wear [them], except actually on the beach or on a walking tour."

Sir Hardy never had the chance of debating with Mr Thom Browne on the merits of knee-length suit trousers, or to opine on Mr Pharrell Williams' Lanvin "shorts tux" that graced the red carpet at the Oscars this spring. Even though times have changed since the 1980s, when Mr Truman Capote was criticised by a judge in Southampton, New York, for wearing Bermuda shorts in court, many of us still worry we're going to look like a schoolboy if we show a little leg. As we enter the dog days of summer – when a delightful mass-transit commute can reduce the most carefully curated look to a soggy mess, we're suggesting a few pairs of shorts for a range of situations. Click through the gallery, above, to learn more.

Words by Mr Chris Elvidge, Senior Copywriter, MR PORTER