The History of Vintage Shorts

Official Vintage

To understand contemporary fashion, we need to trace it back to its origins. Various unique moments in history shaped the narrative of today’s society. Dresses that were not acceptable then are now casually worn without worrying about stigmatization. Vintage shorts go back to the 1950s when society embraced the idea of women wearing shorts. Shorts were worn not only as beachwear but also as a fashion statement.

Shorts came in so many styles and sizes. Shorties Shorts, Bermuda Shorts, Pedal Pushers Shorts, and Culottes Shorts were most popular in those times with different lengths. Shorts were shortened versions of pants. There were also other names given to the shorts based on their length.

Shorts became popular during hot weather and their style was inspired by sportswear and travel wear. They were made with fabric most suited for hot summers like cotton and synthetic fibre that was wrinkle-free.

Apart from their length and the fabric material used, there were different colours and themes to them. Different colours were in demand at different times of the decade with different prints like checks, vertical stripes, and plaids.

 Let’s dive into the past and explore the kind of shorts that were popular in those times. 

Shorties Short

As the name suggests, shorties shorts were given the name because they were the shortest in length.  These shorts were worn above the knee and the inseam was about 6 inches. Shorties shorts were mostly preferred by women in the modeling industry. They had a zipper on the side with a high waist that summed up the classic look it gave. Shorties were also most worn by women on the beach. In current fashion trends, shorties are liked most by those who prefer vintage fashion. It gives a slim look and can also be worn with belts nowadays.

Bermuda Shorts

Bermuda shorts were worn just 3 inches above the knee and it was the most popular one in those times. It also had a high waist and side zip just like shorties shorts. Jamaica Shorts and Walking Shorts were other names given to the Bermuda Shorts. They gave a smart and fit look but also could be worn loose and baggy depending on your preference. There used to be no pockets in shorts, but with time the shorts started coming with slit-like pockets. As the Bermuda Shorts became popular, Shorties Shorts almost went extinct.

Pedal Pushers

Pedal Pushers were the longest shorts in that time. These were also called clam diggers, motor scooter slacks and pirate pants. Their length fell just below the knee with mostly cuffed bottoms. These shorts were mostly preferred by cyclists who wanted them comfy and also short enough to be able to ride the bicycle and also cause no harm by getting tangled in the bicycle chains. People in those times would also roll up their pants to imitate pedal pusher style.


Culottes were also kind of long shorts, or you can say short pants. They were designed A-like with wide leg openings. These also had a high and a tight waist. Culottes were mostly paired with denim.

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