A Buyer’s Guide to Shorts

Shorts are fun, sporty, sexy and cool, all at the same time. They have come a long way from being clothing worn by young boys in the army in Europe and Britain, to the fashion accessory of today.

In parts of Europe men wore skirts, much like the Scottish kilt. Between the 14th to 16th centuries, they began wearing breeches. In the 19th century, knickerbockers, full trousers falling just below the knees, became popular. They were worn as sporting wear. Knee-length pants gained popularity in Europe and Britain, and boys around the age of three to eight began wearing shorts that were wider.

At this time, men in America wore only full pants. If they went swimming, they wore one-piece swimsuits. American boys were still wearing long pants after World War I. But shorts started making their presence in the warmer Southern states. The wealthier families were influenced by the fashions in England and private boys’ schools introduced pantsuits as part of their uniform.

The beginning of the 20th century saw the creation of the Bermuda shorts. The British military dressed their soldiers in clothes that could be worn in the warmer climates of their colonies. At the same time, changes in fabric also had men wearing shorter swimming trunks.

Shorts also entered the sports arena; football, hockey, rugby and many other sports were played wearing shorts. Bunny Austin made it acceptable in tennis, wearing them in the 1932 U.S. Men’s Championships at Forest Hills.

With time, women became liberated enough to begin wearing shorts in sports. In tennis, it was Senorita de Alvares who first wore a divided skirt in 1931; Alice Marble wore one in 1933.

There are many types of shorts worn today. Track shorts are common for running. Bun huggers, made from spandex or nylon, are worn by girls and women. However, some find these uncomfortable to wear because they can be quite revealing. Cycling shorts are designed, as the name suggests, for cycling. Nowadays many athletes wear compression shorts, made from nylon and Lycra and designed to support the waist, groin and thighs during vigorous physical activity. Athletes can also wear looser varieties of shorts.

For casual and comfortable wear, many prefer walking shorts and Bermudas, which are longer and have loops for a belt. These have a much more relaxed feel about them. Three-quarter length pants are also worn as comfort wear.

If a person wants to wear pants and then change into a pair of shorts easily, he could wear the zip-off shorts. These are ingeniously zipped off at the knee. Women who want to combine the look of a skirt with the comfort of shorts can wear the divided skirt or the ‘skort.’

The sexiest shorts are the short shorts or hot pants. Hot pants were created by John Herbert is in the early 20th century. When they first made their appearance, they created quite a stir. Pop stars and models keep their sexy look alive!

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