Yes, We Wear Bermuda Shorts in Bermuda
If you are an American over the age of 40, you probably think of Bermuda shorts as a sartorial invention of the 1980s when fashionistas were looking to put the plain, very short, basketball-style (think Wilt Chamberlain) shorts of the 1970s behind them.
The Bermuda shorts that burst onto the American scene in the 1980s were 2-3 times longer than their 1970s short-shorts compadres. They stretched to the knees with bold pastel colors and patterns. But did they really come from Bermuda?
Yes, Bermuda shorts started in Bermuda, and they are still routinely worn around the island. But they are more business-like and subdued than the Bermuda shorts of the 1980s. The shorts we wear here on the island can be tan or black, bright green or pink. But they are almost always solid colors with no patterns on them. Think of them more as Dockers that happen to stop before reaching the knees.
Before we began wearing such shorts, the British army actually provided them as standard military dress in tropical locations. Businessmen here in Bermuda just preempted the military shorts during World War II and made them their own, turning long socks and knee-length trousers into acceptable business dress. (It is even acceptable to wear them with a suit jacket and tie.) Somewhere along the line, people started referring to them as Bermuda shorts.
In the early 20th century, American tourists from the Northeast began taking the shorts home with them. They added their own stylish twist by wearing the shorts with button-down dress shirts.
Today Bermuda shorts are sold all around the world, in many shapes, colors, designs and sizes. But if you want to see how Bermuda shorts are supposed to be worn, come to Bermuda. And if you are coming to Bermuda, there is no better place for you to stay than at Cambridge Beaches, where our dedicated staff (in their matching Bermuda shorts) will take care of your every need.
Photo: Courtesy Bermuda Tourism Authority