Archive for Monday, July 13, 2015

Shorts a necessity when mercury rises

July 13, 2015

Yes, I’ll be the first to embrace the fact that I have never been on the cutting edge of men’s fashion. I never had a pair of bell bottom pants or a Nehru jacket. I admit though that I liked my polyester leisure suit.

To be honest many of the fashion fads didn’t work for my body shape. I was never built for the really thin cut clothes that come in and out of style regularly. Maybe I should admit the truth: I haven’t bought any clothes for decades and always depended on my wife’s good taste and judgment.

I remember several decades ago, short pants for men were just coming in style, and I was one of the final men to accept the new fashion. I will readily admit that I was wrong, and in hot weather I wear shorts most of the time.

My first experience with shorts came in 1968 when I went to Australia. There every man wore shorts. If you were in the city you wore shorts and knee length socks. In the outback, it was just shorts. What really surprised me was men wearing shorts with suit coats, knee-length socks, white shirts and ties on their way to the office or church. I found out that shorts were in style at that time in New Zealand, South Africa and Bermuda. When I returned home, I was converted to a “shorts lover.” I realized how much comfort I’d been missing.

There is no doubt of the popularity of short pants for men. They are popular, in varying lengths around the world. Shorts worn by men have changed a great deal. They went from knee length to very, very brief and back to knee length again. Short pants are popular for all ages ranging from very young to some of us who are well on the other side of the hill.

I was surprised at how many different styles there are for men. My personal favorite is the cargo pants. I like all the pockets. I can stuff them with all my needs including a water bottle, cell phone and virtually anything I need on an outing.

Probably the biggest change is reflected in basketball shorts. If you look at a picture of a basketball team before the 1990s, the uniform pants are very short. I think from the start of the sport short trunks were in vogue. I saw a picture of the Garnett High School team my father was on in the early 1920s and, yes, the trunks were short. This was the trend in my brief basketball career as shown in photos. There was one difference: We wore long socks with knee pads. Incidentally, my father’ team had one other uniform difference; they wore beanies.

Now, longer basketball pants have been accepted and the short shorts seem strange. I remember when they first came out, there was a big uproar with nasty letters in the newspaper. Come to think of it, there was criticism of men wearing shorts back in the 1960s.

The United States was slow in accepting men’s short pants. By the 1930s, they were worn in many parts of Europe. Little boys wore short pants around the turn of the century, although in the United States, “knickerbockers” were more readily accepted. Some say that Americans were introduced to short pants during World War II when soldiers were serving in the desert or tropics.

As casual dress became popular in the United States shorts moved from the arena of sports to every day wear. It just makes sense to be comfortable when the mercury is soaring, and even though I’m a late convert, I am definitely a lover of dressing in short pants. Yes, I’m writing this clad in my cargo pants, and I hope this trend is permanent.

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