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Beyond Plaid
These men's shorts take pretty prints to the next level.

What's a man to wear when his social life comes a-calling in the sticky heat of summer? A casual pair of neutral chino shorts? Everyone will be wearing those. Enter the colorful rainbow of patterned shorts, which can make enough of a statement that the rest of your outfit won't require much effort or thought. But just remember to button your shirt.

Old Bull Lee is a menswear company whose singular focus are these patterned shorts (at left). And the patterns themselves, designed by owner Lee Johnson, as well as cloth-makers in Italy and France, range from sweet and subtle paisley to funky orange with blue tie-like designs. 

The shorts are made in a cotton-linen blend or  lightweight twill. Matt Manningham, the company's business-minded half and president, describes Old Bull Lee's shorts as "
shorts that women want their men to wear. And because of that men like wearing them." All right then. 

Manningham, whose family is from Milwaukee, met Johnson when he had already about eight styles of shorts on the market. "He's a very detail-oriented creative type...
I could I call him the andy Warhol of shorts, " Manningham says of Johnson. But Johnson needed a business mind to balance the creative side and that's when Manningham got involved. 

The company now has about 15 different styles of shorts and sells in retail stores in 13 states. The closest Milwaukeeans will get to the shorts - for now - is Old Bull Lee's web store. 

All images courtesy of Old Bull Lee. 

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