Tennis player Alice Marble – First woman to wear Shorts
From Shorts to Hot Pants
First Women to wear Shorts
Like the miniskirt, hot-pants marked the history of fashion.
The first to make them popular was Alice Marble, the American tennis champion, who, in the 1930s, started showing them off on the playing field.
It will be in the 1940s and, above all, the ’50s, thanks to the Burlesque pin ups, that the pants will shorten, becoming feminine and sensual, high-waisted and equipped with buttons.
But only in the 1950s the shorts had their official debut, when the Hollywood stars started to wore them, bringing out their sinuous bodies. Back then the pants were short, with a high waist cut and a side zip closure.
Shorts became so fashionable that in 1958 the group “The Royal Teens” dedicates a song to them: “Shorts Shorts“.
The boom came in the 1960s with the British designer Mary Quant and the democratization of fashion. Her version of the shorts enhanced the legs and slimmed the figure.
During those four years, in the wake of the sexual revolution, shorts became increasingly hot, to contrast the rigid dress codes of that era.
Shorts among Celebrities
The shorts also conquered the celebrities of that time: Jaqueline Kennedy bought the white version of it, during her stay in Italy, to be combined with her flat sandals; very short shorts for Brigitte Bardot who will match them with boots; a luxury version for Elizabeth Taylor.
Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin who, walking through the streets of Saint Tropez with their buttocks wrapped in microscopic shorts, helped to drop the taboos of the “sixties respectability” and made this garment a sort of manifesto of emancipation.
The shorts were not only reserved for women, they were considered a unisex garment, also worn by bold men like David Bowie and Elton John.
In the late 1970s, the American fashion newspaper “Women’s Wear Daily”, published an article announcing the advent of micro-sized shorts, allusively baptizing them “hot pants“.
Very small, they cover from the pelvis to a few centimeters below the groin. The most common shorts were made of denim, but there are versions in cotton, nylon, leather and synthetic fibers.
David Bowie wearing shorts
From Shorts to Hot Pants
The Constroversity of Hot Pants
In 1973, Italy caused particular scandal with an advertising campaign, created by Oliviero Toscani, that was accused of blasphemy. The advertisement, in fact, combined the image of a pair of hot pants (worn by the model Donna Jordan) with the phrase of the Gospel: “Those who love me follow me”, imprinted on a bottom wrapped in tight denim shorts.
In the meantime, a new hit dedicated to the scandalous shorts is launched: James Brown‘s “Hot Pants”, a song dedicated to the new woman: attractive and sexually freer.
The success of the hot pants doesn’t stop even in the 80s, where they will be reinterpreted in a punk key, with leather and studs.
The 90s will see them very short, in denim and frayed, minimal, accompanied by large printed t-shirts, rucksacks and Dr. Martens boots.
Today we are witnessing the coexistence of different styles of shorts: from the more “aggressive”, short and tight, to the softer and more” bon ton” ones; from those with a high waist to those with denim; from balloon to tight-fitting or sporty ones.
To each his own shorts, a trendy garment that combines practicality and sex appeal.