The history of Bermuda shorts: An evolution in women’s fashion

The history of Bermuda shorts: An evolution in women's fashion

One of the biggest revolutions in women’s fashion has been the use of trousers by women too . A real scandal at the beginning! And there was just time to get used to this change that another element arrived to leave right-thinking people perplexed: the leg in plain sight.

Before Mary Quant’s miniskirt, shorts in their various meanings, including Bermuda shorts , showed off the ankles, calves, knees and a little of the thigh . At the beginning of the last century they were considered men’s garments, and then they also came to be present in women’s wardrobes. They are versatile, easily adaptable to any occasion and to any outfit with the right accessories. But how were they born? Let’s see some history

The origin of the name

The first thing that catches your eye, or rather your ear, is the coincidence between the name of these trousers and the well-known North Atlantic archipelago which hosts the Triangle of the same name . Well, it is no coincidence: this item of clothing takes its name from those islands.

The native population wore this type of trousers for a long time and it is still considered elegant. Worldwide fame came during the war, when the military began to make them their own, for their practicality and freshness. From there they spread to everyday use and the civilian population, although still reserved only for men.

The origins of the bermuda in the sports sector

Shorts were born in the late 1800s just for kids. They were worn with long socks, and having long trousers marked the entry into adulthood.

At the time, women wore only skirts, also because they were forbidden access to a series of actions considered masculine which required trousers. Among these, a series of sporting activities.

Then women too started playing sports but often with skirts, until practicality got the better of it and fashion began to change too.

According to some, it is even possible to identify the first woman who wore a pair of women’s shorts: it was Alice Marble , a very talented American tennis player. In 1933 she took to the clay court wearing a pair of women’s shorts that also left the knees uncovered. An episode that caused a stir, but nothing can stop the change that had begun.

The pin-ups

In just over a decade, Bermuda shorts have gone from being an item of clothing for a sports uniform to a popular item of clothing in every female wardrobe. In 1948 the international fashion magazine Vogue for the first time used the expression “bermuda shorts” to talk about women’s fashion. Bermuda shorts were taking their place alongside capri and “pedal” models, which reached up to the mid-calf, leaving at least the ankle exposed.


The 50s sanctioned the triumph of bermuda shorts, consecrated by pin ups, who often wore them very close-fitting. But the slightly looser model on the hips and legs and adherent at the waist, typical of the fashion of that period, also found much success.

Thus we arrive at the 60s, when Bermuda shorts are drastically reduced in terms of length. Short shorts arrive , sometimes even very short . Icons of style and characters from cinema and TV also wear them, from Brigitte Bardot to our own Raffaella Carrà.

Bermuda shorts were now abandoning their origins linked first to the military and then to the sporting sphere. Even men began to use them as an item of casual clothing no longer tied to specific sectors.

The last decades of the 1900s

The 70s saw the air and the dominance of the miniskirt and cigarette pants , then the 80s the fashion dominated by jeans and color . Bermuda shorts were always present, but mostly used by men for leisure.

With the arrival of the 2000s, Bermuda shorts made a strong comeback in the collections of stylists and therefore on the catwalks. Not only synonymous with city shorts, but an elegant garment to be used also in the office and in formal commitments . If the use of Bermuda shorts on any occasion is still a bit questionable for men, the many female models really allow you to create any type of outfit.

Bermuda shorts in linen or fabric, with a classic and refined cut, are an alternative to the skirt for any occasion; with the right accessories, they become elegant. Those in jeans remain more sporty, but with the right accessories they immediately recall the immortal charm of the 50s pin-ups, those who brought them to the fore.