The Shorts of Summer: Old Bull Lee

The last time we told you about Old Bull Lee, we made it clear that their shorts were some of our absolute favorites. Lee is committed to make the best shorts possible and approaches his craft as both an artist and technician. They were perfect.

It turns out he’s not done.

Lee sent along some of his new and improved shorts and we have spent the last month checking them out.  They are a bit shorter and trimmer, but still the built-to-last quality we remember. First, some details on the material and build.

The shorts are made from heavy Duck cloth, which is essentially canvas. Sourced from the finest Japanese mill (he won’t divulge exactly which one), the fabric starts out a bit stiff, but eases into a comfortable, personalized fit.

They are dyed and assembled in America using a wet “vat” process that is softer and longer lasting than dry pigment dying. The pocketing and waistband are made from a soft and smooth poplin and the button fly has been replaced with a zipper. Lastly, the shorts are pre-shrunk using water and dryers only, not chemical shrinkage.

As Lee likes to point out, everyone is trying to sell “your favorite pair of shorts,” but the truth is that it doesn’t work that way. The ones that come, “brand new, but lived in,” have actually been beat into that condition by chemicals. As a result, these pre-lived-in garments often start to disintegrate after a season or two; and not eloquently either.

A real favorite pair shorts has been around for a while. They just sort of know your body; it’s a relationship that takes time to develop. Because the Duck fabric lasts so long, they gave the color a little extra pop so that down the road when they are broken in, the short will still carry those fragile tones with which they started.

In fact, to accurately convey the fabric’s eventual color change, the website’s laydown shots are intentionally dull. Lee said, “it’s not to be misleading, but we feel that we are telling the truth by averaging the color out over it’s lifetime.

This guy lives and breaths shorts. They do pretty cool tees as well, but at it’s heart, Old Bull Lee is trying to turn shorts into a science.

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  1. I like to wear shorts in summer but I’m not very sure if I would wear these bright colors. I’m more a modest guy, especially talking about the color of clothes. I know, I should try it out before judging. Maybe I have the guts to do it this summer.Thanks for the post

  2. Nico, thanks for the comment. While the colors are a bit on the brighter side, I have found them to be a nice counterpoint to a solid polo or, as in the editorial shots, a simple oxford. Also, they will fade to a softer hue over time, which will mellow that pop of color!

  3. MMR

    Have many pairs of Old Bull Lee’s– highest quality and best fitting shorts I’ve ever owned— I get compliments from woman every time I wear them…needless to say, I wear them often!

  4. JT

    These are by far the best looking, best made, and most comfortable shorts I’ve ever worn. I also get compliments every time I wear them…way more than when I don’t. If all my clothes were made with this level of quality, I’d shop once and be done for life (barring any new lbs. that jump on board along the way).

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