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Paul Mescal’s Short Shorts: All the Big Questions Answered

Paul Mescal’s Short Shorts: All the Big Questions Answered
Paul Mescal Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Gucci

Paul Mescal caused quite a stir by stepping out in Milan on Monday, June 17, in very short shorts showing, once again, that he is a man who is confident in his skin and, more specifically, his legs.

The Normal People actor, 28, wore the distinctive thigh-grazers at the Gucci men’s spring/summer 2025 fashion show at Tiennale di Milano, teaming them with a casual-yet-so-not-casual half-tucked light blue Oxford shirt, gleaming Gucci loafers and crisp white socks. And while he hasn’t quite broken the internet with his look, he’s definitely given it a big shake-up.

It’s not the first time Mescal has shown off his penchant for short shorts. The Irish actor has a long history of happily baring his knees. Interviewed by GQ at the show, he confirmed his love of the look. “I am a fan of the short inseam,” he said. “For my eye, it’s to do with proportion, like maybe a shorter short and a longer top. I’m a big advocate of men wearing shorter shorts.”

 

Everyone knows a guy who wears shorts come rain or shine, striding up to the school gates confident in khaki, looking like they have an important hike to attend to — even if, in reality, they just have a day of Teams calls ahead where, tragically, no one will see below their neck. But this is not Mescal. There is no chance that Mescal will interact with any bears in these shorts. Mescal would categorically not risk any toasted marshmallows dripping onto that pristine Gucci. No, Mescal’s shorts are worn not for utility but for fashion.

So, what is it that’s so surprising about Mescal’s outfit? Perhaps it’s because many famous actors think it’s cooler to look like they haven’t made an effort — and, when they do dress up, it’s clear they have been styled by their partner or a professional. Meanwhile, Mescal is obviously a man who actually knows how to dress himself. Where can we get one?!

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Still, if Mescal’s look has you feeling a confusing mixture of impressed, bewildered, amused, attracted and envious, don’t worry: these questions should help provide some clarity.

When did Mescal get into wearing short shorts?

Mescal says he was sent a pair of Gucci shorts while shooting Normal People in 2020, but as an avid soccer player, he’s been getting his legs out on the regular since childhood, playing for Kildare under-21s in his native Ireland and still enjoying a kick-about in his spare time now. Indeed, if he hadn’t had to quit due to a jaw injury, it’s possible he would never have become an actor, denying the world his brooding presence in movies like All Of Us Strangers — and probably also denying us the chance to ogle his legs at fashion shows. Assuming his jaw is better now, things worked out OK.

 

Are the shorts technically a good look?

It’s a tough question — but Gucci certainly seems to think so. The Guardian reported that “the main missive from the Gucci menswear show in Milan on Monday afternoon was that short shorts are sliding up the style charts for summer. Out of 46 of the looks shown, 41 featured shorts hovering around the 3in and 5in inseam mark.”

Mescal is undoubtedly the poster boy for this look and, since he’s also extremely well-liked in Hollywood and around the world, most fashion critics and fans only have positive things to say about his style, swagger and, of course, long, strong, hairy legs.

Don’t they look a lot like boxer shorts, though?

They do! At first glance, Mescal looks like he’s just been woken from a nap by the pizza delivery guy and grabbed the nearest clothes he can find to open the door. But then you clock his shoes and socks and know that this is a look chosen with precision. He didn’t just roll out of bed; he probably had a whole Pinterest board set up to workshop this outfit.

Besides, underwear as outerwear is a trend many famous women have been rocking for decades — isn’t it time we let the guys in on the fun too?

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Related: From ‘Normal People’ to Oscar Nominee! 5 Things to Know About Paul Mescal

But can normal guys really dress like Paul Mescal?

It depends on what you call a normal guy. According to New York-based Irish journalist Cahir O’Doherty, young local hipsters already are. “Paul Mescal has Gen Z in a chokehold in Brooklyn,” he wrote via X. “The men all look like they play GAA for Mayo now. It’s like the early days of Beatlemania here. People don’t understand the scale of the colonization. We’re in the Mescal topless summer. It’s a thing.”

But will the look spread beyond hipster enclaves to the rest of the world? Will ordinary millennial dads and boomer grandpas be rocking tailored short shorts in the backyard this summer while they toss a ball with their kids or tend to their rosebush? Perhaps not; but we can definitely see this sort of style working for more fashion-forward men at informal summer weddings and garden parties.

Like Mescal’s style for your own man? Well, why not ping him the pictures and tell him you think he would look great in some short shorts of his own? The worst that can happen is you get an eye-roll emoji in response — but you never know, it might just give him the encouragement and confidence he needs to start his own Short Shorts Summer!

What can women learn from Mescal’s short shorts?

On a warm day, many women try on five pairs of shorts before shoving them back into the closet in despair and reaching for a maxi dress instead. Should we all Be More Paul? Mescal knows that, when the sun is shining, his legs will feel happier roaming free in the open air, and doesn’t seem to care if anyone else agrees. While admittedly it might help that he’s Paul Mescal and everyone adores him, shorts are for everybody. You probably wore them when you were a kid without a second thought so, as they say on Instagram, wear the damn shorts!

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