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The question: Why are the hipster guys walking around with the legs of their shorts rolled up?

The answer: It does seem strangely girly, doesn't it? As if the principal idea is to show off more of your long, lean legs. Perhaps the idea is to show a rumpled outdoorsy spirit, as though you have just been wading in very deep water or would be willing to do so at any minute.

Honestly, I think it's a new variation on the trouser cuff, which originated in the turning up of hems for stepping into a racehorse's paddock. It was, in fact, Queen Victoria's son Albert, an inveterate racing fan, who inspired everyday gentlemen to wear permanent "turn-ups" on their trouser legs. But it's paradoxical that, just as cuffs start disappearing on long trousers, they appear in modified form on shorts.

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This can be explained by the fact that fashionable summer shorts have got a little shorter over the past couple of years. The over-the-knee cargo short with its strings and toggles is now relegated to those who get around on skateboards and/or live in frat houses. Perhaps the furled leg is an attempt to make older shorts a little more modern.

Russell Smith's latest novel, Girl Crazy , was recently published. Have a fashion question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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