Shorts - Styles


  • Baggies
Loose-fitting shorts which reach the knees. These were the standard shorts worn by English football teams before World War II. West Bromwich Albion FC are nicknamed the Baggies because their team used to wear particularly baggy shorts. Recently, baggy shorts have become once again the norm in football teams worldwide, after a period from about 1970 to 1990 when football shorts were extremely short.
  • Bermuda shorts
Approximately knee-length short trousers commonly worn in Bermuda (with long socks and a blazer and tie) for business attire and even at cocktail parties. The style has also been adopted as a casual style in other locales. Usually has pockets and waist loops for an optional belt.
  • Board shorts
Swimming trunks that reach the knee or below. They are often used as ordinary shorts, but were originally intended as beachwear; the "board" refers to surfers' surfboards. Board shorts are manufactured by companies Billabong, Quiksilver, and Old Navy, among others. In the 1980s, board shorts were called "jams".
  • Boxer shorts
Mainly used as male underwear. Some years ago, this term also related to a basic kind of men's shorts.
  • Boyshorts
In the US, Similar to boxer briefs, but for females.
  • Bun huggers
Short, tight, athletic shorts also known as "racing briefs", commonly made from spandex and/or nylon. It is claimed that their tight fit and the fact that they barely go down past the buttocks give wearers an unhindered range of motion that is necessary in sports such as volleyball. However, the figure-hugging nature of these shorts makes some wearers feel uncomfortable, and making them compulsory for women athletes has been described as "venturing into the arena of athlete exploitation". Bun huggers for men also exist; these resemble boxer briefs.
  • Cargo shorts
Typically khaki shorts with cargo pockets. Similar to cargo pants, but a little below knee-length. Cargo shorts consist of a garment with more than four pockets; and or pockets that are stitched to the outside of the fabric. Placement of pockets can vary but are most often seen on the lower part or side part of the short. Cargo shorts are distinctive because the pockets are accompanied by an overlying flap. Because of their lowbrow appearance, they are prohibited at some golf courses and restaurants.
  • Culottes
A divided skirt resembling a pair of loose-cut shorts, originally popularized as a practical horse and bicycle-riding garment by dress reform feminists at the turn of the 20th century. School uniforms have adopted culottes in more recent years as a more practical option than skirts.
  • Cut-offs or Daisy Dukes
Home-made by cutting the legs off trousers, typically jeans (known as "denim cut-offs"), above the knee. These were particularly popular in the early 1970s. The cut is not finished or hemmed and the fabric is left to fray. They became so popular that they were sold in stores as such. Originally a practical use for trousers with worn-through knees, they are now a type of shorts in their own right. The ultra-short version of jean cut-offs are also known as Daisy Dukes, in reference to Catherine Bach's character of that name from the American television show The Dukes of Hazzard. They are a form of hot-pants or short shorts. The character Tobias Fünke from the television series Arrested Development is also known for wearing cut-off jeans as an undergarment.
  • Cycling shorts
Skin-tight long shorts originally worn by cyclists to reduce chafing while cycling, but which have also been adapted and adopted as street wear and active wear. They are also often worn under skirts and dresses (mostly under school uniforms) for modesty reasons. Also known as "bike shorts".
  • Denim shorts
Denim shorts are worn by both genders. For males, they are generally looser and longer. Sometimes, they are confused with Daisy Dukes.
  • Dolphin shorts
An athletic style of shorts, notable for visible binding of an often contrasting color. The name may refer to a side-view of the binding of each leg's lower hem, resembling the shape of a dolphin tail. Like gym shorts, they often feature a cord to be tied around the waist at the front. These were a popular trend in the 1980s gym scene.
  • Gym shorts
Gym shorts are often worn in gym class or for participation in sports, hence the name, but they are worn as casual wear almost as much, especially by adolescents. They are usually not form-fitting when worn by men or female athletes, but are often form-fitting when worn by women as casual dress. Length is usually from just above the knee to just below the knee. In the 1970s and 1980s in the U.S. gym shorts were often form-fitting and only slightly longer than boxer shorts. Gym shorts are generally made of cotton, spandex, polyester, or another synthetic fiber with a cord sewn in that can be tied at the front to tighten the waist.
  • Hot pants
Categorized as "short shorts", they commonly have an inseam length of 2 inches (50 mm) or less. These are short, tight shorts, usually made of cotton, nylon, or some other common material. They are meant to emphasize the buttocks and the legs. They were launched by fashion designer Mary Quant during the "Swinging London" scene of the mid 1960s, and hot pants were very popular up to the early 1970s.
  • Jorts
From 'jean shorts', another name for denim shorts but typically cut longer than Daisy Dukes (mid-thigh for women and at the knee for men).
  • Lederhosen
Traditional German leather shorts.
  • Leather shorts
Shorts made from leather.
  • Plaid shorts
Usually made of Madras, fabricated woven of differently colored yarns in a crossbarred pattern. Popularized by "preppy" stores, but now becoming more "skater".
  • Running shorts
Reach only the upper thigh; intended to provide maximum freedom of movement in sports activities. These are often made from Nylon, which has the advantage of being very hardwearing. After Adidas sponsored the 1980 Olympic Games, Adidas nylon track shorts were a fashion item for some years.
  • Short shorts
By the mid-1950s, post-WWII Americans were beginning to relax and enjoy both their new economic and baby booms as their offspring which were just entering their teens. Television and rock'n'roll captured taste and fashion, including the new "short shorts" fad, since Bermuda shorts were considered old, dull, and "fuddy-duddy" although, as History of Costume author and FIT Professor Rachel Kemper noted, "Short shorts left a girl's ass hanging out." The Royal Teens wrote and sang the song "Short Shorts" (1957) (in which "short shorts" is mentioned 18 times). Short shorts also refers to the older style of tight basketball shorts which went upper-thigh worn by players until the 1990s, when looser shorts that went down to the knee became the norm. Many clothing vendors refer to 'short shorts' as having an inseam of four inches or less.
  • Short trousers (British English) or school shorts
These are fully tailored and usually lined shorts with full zip fly and belt loops, in former times of flannel, nowadays of a cotton/synthetic mixture, typically in grey, worn by male primary and secondary school students as part of a formal school uniform in Britain, Australia, Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand, and also by Cub scouts. These were typically worn with long socks, or stockings (as they were known till 1960s) often also grey and often with coloured tops. They nowadays mostly reach down to the knee or even slightly further; from about 1960 until the 1980s they were generally much shorter, typically coming to about half way up the thigh when standing. In tailoring/menswear trade jargon (and colonial English) they are sometimes misleadingly called "knickers". Use of the word "knickers" reminds us that "shorts" for boys descended from "knickerbockers" which were commonly worn by boys in UK before the 1920s. Knickerbockers fell below the knee and were attached by buttons to stockings. In the 1920s knickerbockers gradually became shorter and lost their attachment to the stockings leaving the knee bare. Eventually, in effect, the knickerbockers turned into shorts and the stockings turned into turn-over knee stockings with coloured tops (after 1960s increasingly called knee-socks). Hence the new "shorts" were in the 1920s and 1930s (and even later) occasionally called "knickers" by old-fashioned outfitters. Some shorts even retained vestigial buttons reminding us that knickerbockers had been "buttoned" to stockings. But this name, "knickers" was never used among the ordinary public and least of all among schoolboys themselves, since "knickers" in British English had gradually come to refer to a kind of women's underwear and used to be regarded as a somewhat rude word.
  • Skorts
Have a piece of fabric in front, creating the illusion of being a skirt from the front. The term is a portmanteau of "skirt" and "shorts".
  • Slackettes
A term coined in the late 20th century by the fashion cognoscenti of the New York City neighborhood of Nolita (Northern Little Italy) as an alternative to the more frequently used term "shorts", referring to clothing worn around the waist and having two legs extending no further than mid-knee. This term quickly spread to the fashionista residents of New York's Chelsea gallery neighborhood and, by the early years of the 21st century, had worked its way into the everyday parlance of the community of fashion-savvy Manhattan residents.
  • Three quarter pants (Or Flood Pants)
A name used to refer to pants that go down to the calf and are arguably not long shorts, but short trousers. Also known as shants (from 'shorts' + 'pants') or shankles ('shorts' + 'ankles').
  • Zip-off Shorts or Convertible Shorts
A pair of long pants that zip off at the knee, allowing the wearer to change from pants to shorts as the weather changes. Originally a hiking garment, these have become a more casual fashion item since the late 1990s.

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