Fellas, listen up because I am about to drop some knowledge on you. These tips and pointers will go a long way to helping you look your best when you step on-stage. This entire article will be dedicated to the Men’s Physique uniform. That’s right, board shorts.
The NPC provides some pretty general guidance regarding board shorts, which I will quote because I would hate to get anything wrong:
“Contestants will be asked to walk in board shorts (shorts must be just above the knee in length and can be one inch below the belly button, no spandex and no logos are permitted on the board shorts however a manufacturer’s logo such as Nike symbol or Billabongs are acceptable.)”
Seems pretty simple, right? If you’ve competed before you’ll know that people get this wrong all the time. If you’ve never competed, trust me when I tell you that people get this wrong all the time. Let’s breakdown some of the direct violations to the policy and then we’ll bridge into what I consider fashion faux pas. Keep reading until the end, because I’ll also offer some helpful tips.
Violation 1: Too long shorts. Time and time again, I see competitors step on-stage with board shorts that are well below the knee. If they added an inch or two they’d be wearing capris. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with capris, but that’s not exactly the look you want on-stage because it throws off your proportions.
Violation 2: Low rise shorts. Almost no one wears their shorts one inch below the belly button. I mean, how can you show off your Adonis belt if your shorts are that high? While there is nothing wrong with showing off your hard earned V-cuts, some guys take it a little too far with waist bands that sit just above the pubic bone. Trust me when I tell you that no one wants to see that. Noooo one.
Violation 3: Spandex. Do I really need to explain why this is wrong? Well, given the number of guys that I see with Spandex, I guess I should explain. Spandex is just… bad. In addition to adding extra size to your waist, it just doesn’t look clean. Spandex shorts are fine for the beach or pool, but please don’t wear them on-stage.
Okay, the three violations that I outlined above are pretty common, but so are the fashion faux pas that I’ll outline next.
Faux pas 1: Busy bottoms. The color and design of your board shorts should complement your physique and enhance your overall stage presence. I know guys that select very busy shorts because they want to get noticed, but trust me when I tell you that your physique, posing, and smile should be what people remember. These are just my suggestions, but stay away from shorts with floral prints, American flags, and intricate designs. Sometimes, simple really is best.
Faux pas 2: Putting your goods on display. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory, but if not, here’s a brief explanation of what I mean.Generally speaking, board shorts should fit but not snugly. If someone can make out the outline of President Washington’s head on a quarter in your pocket, your shorts are too tight. Get a bigger size.
Faux pas 3: Wrinkles. Presentation is everything, especially when it comes down to the only piece of fabric that you wear on stage. All too often, I see guys with wrinkled shorts that look like they were just pulled from a gym bag. Most board shorts are made of wrinkle-free material, so all you really need to do is put on your shorts a little earlier and allow gravity to do the rest.
Faux pas 4: Tan smudges. Please see #3 above. Presentation is everything.You can avoid this faux pas by just washing your hands before touching your shorts. You should also be careful where you sit. I’ve seen several guys show up with tan picked up from chairs and benches backstage.
Faux pas 5: Skip the underwear. Visible underwear lines and underwear tags should be avoided at all costs.If you don’t want to go commando, at least put on a pair of tagless compression shorts.
Now, that we’ve discussed dress code violations and fashion faux pas, let’s review a few tips that might help you.
Tip 1: Purchase at least two pair of board shorts, so that you have some options.
Tip 2: Get your board shorts tailored/altered, but don’t do so until the week of the show. You’ll pay a little more for a rush job, but they will fit so much better.
Tip 3: Put your board shorts on about 30-40 minutes before stepping on-stage, but keep them covered with a pair of clean sweats.
Tip 4: Remove your board shorts after stepping off stage (e.g., between pre-judging and the night show).
Tip 5: Avoid blending into the background by picking shorts that work well with the stage’s curtain. For example, if the curtain is red, you might want to avoid wearing red shorts. You typically won’t know the color of the stage until you arrive, but if you follow tip 1, you’ll be all set.
Tip 5: Remove all tags from your shorts to avoid anything sticking up when you hit your back pose.