From runway to curated social fashion feeds, the Bermuda short seems to have captured everybody's attention this season. Contrasting chicness and elegance with modesty and professionalism, the shorts have historically been confusing as to where they fit into our wardrobes. However, it is their refusal to be pigeonholed that we should celebrate. Bermuda shorts shift in tone with the most minor of styling adjustments and their versatility has rendered them the short of Summer 2020, a wardrobe essential. Knee-length socks previously aired with the style are being cast aside, with leather and neutrals used instead to create dynamic new looks.
FIRST, A CUP OF TEA
Despite the Bermuda Short’s cryptic title, they first began with a quintessentially English cup of tea. In 1914, the owner of Coxon's Tea Rooms, Nathaniel Coxon, had hemmed his employees' trousers to counteract the heat. He was visited by a member of the military who was coincidentally in charge of uniforms. The appeal of increased mobility and breathability in this new cut was instantly recognised, and they quickly became a uniform essential in hot climates. Largely prevalent for members of the navy and military stationed in tropical climates throughout the British Empire, they were classically worn with knee high socks and polished brown shoes.
THE BERMUDA CONUNDRUM
As American and European tourists returned from vacations in Bermuda, the innovative shorts became a motif of wealth, with strong associations to the yachting and resort lifestyles of the rich. The uptake of the style continued, leading to the shorts being considered a fashionable item in the 40s, and even earning a covetable position on the pages of the ultimate fashion bible, Vogue.
However, the adoption of these shorts into mainstream wear kickstarted a number of questions. Where were they to be worn? Were they to be seen as casual or formal? Worn around the house for activities such as gardening or out and about in everyday life? People were unsure of how this style of short, which could fit into so many settings, could be appropriately placed into wardrobes. These days, it is widely acknowledged that they can be worn anywhere you want, with a little bit of styling!
Yves Saint Laurent started to produce the very first Ready-to-Wear Collection of fashion, including Bermuda shorts, in 1968. Chanel, Fendi, and Prada were other early, notable adopters of the look in their summer collections.
TIME FOR NEUTRALS
STYLING IS POWER
Forget florals for summer - it’s all about Bermuda shorts in leather and neutral combinations! The options open to you this summer are endless, helping to revitalise your plain white shirts and flats into a more current look, allowing you to feel luxurious and professional throughout the upcoming summer months. Opt for tans, creams, and earthy tones when choosing the perfect Bermuda shorts. For an edgier look, leather is the perfect option, contrasting grunge with refined elegance. Combining shirts, kitten heels, and light summer blazers will create an easy yet stylish office look, while switching in an airy, floral blouse can adjust the style to suit evening occasions. For casual weekend wear, move towards pairing your Bermuda shorts with flats and a summer trench.