The great thing about shorts is the comfort they provide. Made from a variety of materials and styled in a number of lengths, they are appropriate gear for a variety of uses, including sports, walking, climbing, swimming, and all-around casual wear.
Athletic shorts are used when playing racquetball, working out at the gym, and playing sports. They are generally loose-fitting and made of nylon for shape or cotton jersey for breathability. “Bun huggers” are short, tight, and made from spandex and/or nylon. They are worn by girls and young women when playing such sports as volleyball. Their tight fit and ultra-short length give the wearer an increased range of motion.
For biking and running, special shorts are made from tight-fitting lycra and spandex to prevent chafing and extra movement. These shorts also make the athlete more aerodynamic, adding to his/her performance.
Today, walking shorts are more for the style than for walking. They come down to the knees or right above them. Women wear walking shorts when they want to be casual, without showing too much skin. They are perfect for a casual summer lunch or barbeque and can be worn to do light gardening.
Swim shorts, or trunks, are used by men to swim or sunbathe. They are usually made of nylon or some other quick-drying, shape-retaining fabric. The length varies from mid-thigh to well below the knees.
Bermuda shorts were not invented in Bermuda. They were designed in London, England, at the turn of the 20th century for British soldiers stationed in tropical and subtropical climates. Today’s Bermuda shorts extend to three inches above the knee, with a three-inch, hand-sewn hem, to make them hang properly. They come in a variety of colors and lightweight fabrics in both pleated and flat fronts.
Almost everyone had cut-off shorts when they were growing up and even into their college years. Cut-offs were usually a pair of pants or jeans with the legs ‘cut off’ after they became too worn to patch. The length depended on the wearer’s taste and extended anywhere from below the crotch to just above the knee.
Shorts changed greatly over the years. In the 1960s and 70s, short shorts, or hotpants, were designed to emphasize the buttocks and legs and were very popular with young women. Culottes, or very long shorts, can substitute for skirts and are sometimes worn with tights in the winter. ‘Skorts’ are shorts with an extra piece of fabric in the front that makes them resemble a skirt. Capri pants are shorts that extend below the knee. Cargo shorts have large ‘cargo’ pockets, are made from khaki material, and may be khaki brown, OD green, or camouflage colors. Currently, ‘Boy Shorts’ are in fashion with young women. They are tight-fitting shorts that extend from just below the navel to the crotch level. There are types designed for the outdoors and worn as short shorts or a cover for bikini swimwear. As well, boy shorts are made in lighter-weight materials and used as lingerie, usually incorporating lace or ribbons in their design. Both types are made from a variety of fabrics and come in many styles and colors.
Although there are countless styles to choose from, one should pick shorts that flatter the form while concealing their weak points. Style and length matter when choosing shorts for any occasion. Most shorts come in both flat front or pleated styles. Some incorporate a drawstring waist, which allows the wearer to adjust the waist size. A salesperson can be of help by suggesting alternative sizes and cuts.
As a person gets older, the style of their shorts should change. Shorts that are too short look tacky and those that are too long look frumpy. Well-fitted shorts are a must. The larger a person is, the more their shorts should be tailored and lengthy to flatter their body.