National Shorts Day

A young woman with a big smile, wearing colorful shorts, enjoying a sunny beach day with friends..
National shorts day illustration

Ever felt breezy freedom swathing your legs, a liberation from the claustrophobic confines of pants on a hot summer's day? Yes, we're talking about wearing shorts. But hey, did you know that there's a day dedicated solely to these little liberators? Welcome to National Shorts Day!

When is Shorts Day?

It's national shorts day on the 7th November.

National Shorts Day: A Brief History

Our data indicates that National Shorts Day was first mentioned online in 2015. Shorts enthusiasts across the internet came together to celebrate the comfort and style of their favorite clothing piece. However, the most significant online chatter was observed on the 7th of November 2015. While the origins of National Shorts Day are as elusive as your favorite pair that vanished inexplicably in the laundry, we believe it was created by those who truly appreciate the joy of shorts.

This Day is Short and Sweet!

National Shorts Day is all about embracing the ease and contentment provided by shorts. Whether they’re denim cut-offs, fashionable high-waisted, sporty gym shorts, or comfy cargo shorts, this day pays homage to them all. So each year on this day, shed your 'long pants' inhibitions, free those knees, and revel in the unabashed comfort of shorts!

How to Celebrate?

Donning your favorite pair of shorts? That's a no-brainer. Delving deeper, use this day as an opportunity to clean out your wardrobe, donate the clothes you don't need anymore, update your shorts collection, or even DIY your old pants into peppy shorts. Post your Shorts Day celebration pictures online and remember to give a shout out to #NationalShortsDay.

History behind the term 'Shorts'


The Birth of Shorts

Shorts were born in the 1930s as a revolutionary clothing item that provided a cooler and more comfortable alternative to trousers. The word 'shorts' itself comes from the Old English word 'sceort', meaning 'not long'. In the early years, shorts were mostly worn by children and athletes, but their popularity grew rapidly.


The Birth of Short Trousers

In the 1800s, a new style of trousers began to emerge, known as "short trousers". These were pants that reached only to the knees or slightly below, providing a more comfortable and cooler alternative to the longer pants of the time. Short trousers were primarily worn by young boys as part of their school uniforms or for outdoor activities.

16th century

The emergence of breeches

In the 16th century, men commonly wore knee-length trousers known as breeches. These garments were typically made of heavy fabrics and were considered appropriate attire for the upper class. Breeches were often accompanied by stockings and were the primary lower-body clothing choice for men during this period.


Rise of Bloomers

During the 19th century, women's fashion began to change, thanks to the feminist movement. In the 1860s, a new style of undergarment for women called 'bloomers' gained popularity. Bloomers were loose-fitting pants that reached the mid-calf, typically worn under a skirt. This marked the first step toward the modern concept of shorts.


The Birth of Shorts

In the late 1800s, shorts as we know them today began to emerge. Originally, shorts were seen as a practical garment for activities such as playing sports and cycling. They were typically knee-length and made from durable materials like cotton or linen. These early shorts were often worn by men, as women's fashion of the time focused more on long skirts and dresses.


The Birth of Knickerbockers

In the late 1800s, a new style of pants called knickerbockers gained popularity. Knickerbockers were loose-fitting trousers that extended just below the knee. They were typically worn for outdoor activities like golf, cycling, and horseback riding. This marked the first step in the evolution of what would eventually become shorts.


Shortened Trousers in Sports

During the 1930s, athletes in various sports started wearing shortened trousers that reached above the knee. This modification allowed for increased mobility and reduced weight. High school basketball players, in particular, embraced this trend as they found it easier to move around the court. The term 'shorts' began to be used to describe these athletic garments.


The Rise of Shorts in Fashion

During the 1930s, shorts started gaining popularity as a fashion choice. This shift was driven by the increasing interest in leisure activities and the desire for more comfortable and casual clothing. In Hollywood films of the era, leading men were often seen sporting shorts, further popularizing the trend. Despite criticism from some conservative circles, shorts became more widely accepted and started to be worn by both men and women in various social settings.


Shorts in World War II

During World War II, shorts gained significant popularity among military personnel. The hot climate and need for mobility made shorts a practical choice for soldiers in tropical regions. This exposure to soldiers from around the world helped popularize shorts as a versatile and functional garment.

19th century

The birth of shorts

As the 19th century rolled around, there was a shift in men's fashion. With the rising popularity of outdoor activities, there was a need for more comfortable and practical clothing options. It was during this time that shorts came into existence. These were essentially knee-length variations of breeches that provided greater freedom of movement while retaining the formal elements of traditional trousers.


Introduction of Knickerbockers

In the 1930s, a new style of trousers called 'knickerbockers' emerged. Knickerbockers were loose, baggy pants that ended just below the knee. Originally worn for outdoor activities like golf and bicycling, knickerbockers influenced the design of future shorts by emphasizing comfort and mobility.


Introduction of Bermuda Shorts

In 1900, the British Army stationed in Bermuda sought relief from the sweltering heat and humidity of the Caribbean climate. As a solution, soldiers started wearing knee-length, lightweight shorts made from khaki fabric. These shorts, now commonly known as "Bermuda shorts", quickly gained popularity among both military personnel and civilians as a comfortable and stylish option for warm weather dressing.


Shorts Enter Mainstream Fashion

In the 1950s, shorts began to enter mainstream fashion. Hollywood movies and popular culture played a significant role in promoting shorts as a casual and stylish option for men and women. This shift in perception turned shorts into a fashion statement rather than just functional attire.

20th century

Rise of shorts in sports

Shorts gained particular prominence in the 20th century, especially in the realm of sports. Athletes and sports enthusiasts embraced shorts for their flexibility and ability to keep them cool during physical activities. Whether it was cricket, football, or track and field, athletes began to sport shorts as part of their athletic uniforms. This widespread adoption of shorts in the sporting world eventually influenced their popularity in everyday fashion as well.


Military Influence

In the 1940s, the influence of military fashion played a significant role in popularizing shorts. Military personnel, especially in tropical or hot climates, commonly wore shorts as part of their uniforms. Their practicality and comfort caught on with civilians as well, leading to shorts becoming more widely accepted as casual wear.


Military Influence: Shorts in the Army

World War II played a significant role in popularizing shorts. Military personnel, particularly soldiers in tropical regions, needed a practical and comfortable uniform. Thus, shorts became standard attire in warm-weather areas, and their association with military wear helped increase their acceptance in civilian fashion.


Shorts in the Military

In the 1940s, shorts found their place in the military. Soldiers serving in tropical climates, such as the Pacific theater during World War II, were issued shorts as part of their uniforms. The practicality and comfort of shorts in hot and humid environments made them a logical choice. This exposure to shorts in a military context further solidified their association with functionality and utility.


Hollywood Popularizes Shorts

During the 1930s, Hollywood movies began showcasing shorts as a fashion statement. Film stars like Clark Gable and Gary Cooper frequently appeared on-screen wearing stylish shorts, which contributed to a surge in their popularity. This exposure led to a widespread adoption of shorts as casual wear, particularly in warmer climates.


Rise of Casual Fashion

The 1960s marked a turning point for fashion, as casual clothing became increasingly popular. Shorts, previously worn primarily for sports or outdoor activities, transitioned into everyday attire. As the fashion industry embraced relaxed styles, shorts found their way into mainstream culture, becoming a staple in warm weather and leisure settings.


Rise of Short Shorts

The 1960s witnessed the rise of short shorts, particularly among women. Influenced by the liberation movements and changing attitudes towards fashion, shorter hemlines became more acceptable. The 1960s shorts trend embodies the sense of freedom and embrace of individuality characterizing the era.


Hollywood Glamour: Shorts in Films

During the 1950s, Hollywood films started featuring actors and actresses in shorts, showcasing a glamorous and carefree image. These movies portrayed shorts as fashionable and stylish, leading to their increased popularity in mainstream fashion. Stars like Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot popularized shorts as a chic and alluring clothing choice.


Shorts in Sports

In the 1940s, athletic shorts gained prominence as athletes realized the advantages of shorter and more flexible clothing for improved performance. Sports such as basketball, tennis, and track and field began incorporating shorts as part of their uniforms. The practicality and ease of movement offered by shorts made them a staple in the world of sports.


Shorts for Women's Liberation

The 1950s marked a turning point for women's fashion, and shorts played a significant role in the liberation of women's clothing choices. As societal norms started to evolve, women began to embrace shorts as a symbol of empowerment and freedom. Famous icons like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe were often photographed wearing shorts, helping to break down traditional barriers and encouraging women to embrace more comfortable and practical clothing options.


Shorts for women

During the 1940s, women's fashion underwent significant changes. With the growth of women's liberation movements and the desire for greater freedom of movement, shorts quickly became a staple in women's wardrobe as well. Women began to embrace shorts as a symbol of progress and equality, challenging traditional gender norms and redefining what was considered appropriate attire for women.


Casualization and denim shorts

In the 1960s, the concept of casual wear became more significant, driven by the youth culture of the time. Denim shorts, commonly known as jean shorts or jorts, gained popularity among young people. These shorts, often frayed and faded, represented a rebellious and carefree attitude. The comfort and versatility of denim shorts quickly made them a fashion statement that transcended generations.


Denim Shorts Take Center Stage

During the 1960s, denim shorts surged in popularity, becoming a symbol of youthful rebellion and counterculture. The free-spirited hippie movement embraced denim shorts as a manifestation of their anti-establishment ethos. The versatility and ruggedness of denim made it the ideal fabric for casual shorts, leading to their widespread adoption among the younger generation.


Versatile and Stylish

Today, shorts have evolved into a versatile and fashionable garment worn by people of all ages and genders. They come in different lengths, materials, and designs, suitable for various occasions. From denim shorts to tailored shorts, this wardrobe staple continues to be embraced as a go-to choice during the summer months and for leisure activities.


Athletic Shorts and Pop Culture

In the 1980s, shorts became a staple in athletic wear and popular culture. The rise of workout videos and fitness trends led to an increased demand for athletic shorts. Brands like Nike and Adidas introduced stylish and functional shorts for activities like running, aerobics, and basketball. The popularity of these athletic shorts spilled over into mainstream fashion, with people wearing them as part of their everyday casual attire.


Youth Culture and Summer Fun

The 1960s saw the rise of youth culture and a relaxed attitude towards fashion. Shorts became a symbol of leisure and recreation, particularly associated with beach culture and summer activities. With the growing popularity of surf culture and the rise of recreational sports, shorts became an essential part of the young generation's wardrobe.


Athleisure and the Boom of Shorts

The 1980s marked the advent of athleisure, a trend blurring the line between sportswear and everyday attire. This cultural shift saw the popularity of shorts soar as they became a staple in casual and active wardrobes alike. The comfort and flexibility of shorts perfectly aligned with the athleisure lifestyle.

21st century

Shorts in modern fashion

In the present day, shorts have evolved into a ubiquitous element of modern fashion. They come in various styles, lengths, and fabrics, catering to different preferences and occasions. From formal shorts worn in business settings to casual shorts for leisure activities, this clothing item has become an integral part of people's wardrobes worldwide. Shorts continue to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing fashion trends while maintaining their practicality and comfort.


Denim Shorts and Counterculture

In the 1970s, denim shorts gained immense popularity, thanks to the influence of the counterculture movement. Denim shorts offered a casual and rebellious style that resonated with the anti-establishment sentiment of the time. Rock musicians like The Ramones and Blondie further propelled the trend, solidifying denim shorts as a fashion staple of the era.


Fashion and Utility Combined

In the 2000s, shorts continued to thrive, evolving to cater to various fashion styles while still maintaining practicality. Cargo shorts gained popularity with their multiple pockets, providing a fusion of utility and style. Shorts had firmly established themselves as a versatile clothing item for various occasions.


Short Shorts and Pop Culture

The 1980s witnessed the rise of short shorts in popular culture. Fashion trends during this era focused on showcasing athleticism and emphasizing physical fitness. Short shorts, often made from bright and colorful synthetic fabrics, became a staple in the wardrobe of fitness enthusiasts and were commonly worn for aerobic workouts and dance classes.

Present Day

Shorts as a Fashion Statement

In the present day, shorts have solidified their position as a versatile and fashionable garment. From denim shorts to tailored shorts for formal occasions, there are countless styles to choose from. Shorts continue to be associated with comfort and freedom, making them a popular choice for warm weather, outdoor activities, and casual settings. The evolution of shorts over the years reflects the changing attitudes towards fashion and the desire for practicality and self-expression.

Present Day

Shorts as a Fashion Staple

Today, shorts have become an integral part of casual attire for people worldwide. From denim cutoffs to cargo shorts and tailored chino shorts, there are countless styles and variations to suit different fashion preferences. Shorts provide comfort, flexibility, and the ability to beat the heat in style, making them a popular choice in warm climates, during outdoor activities, or simply for a relaxed everyday look.


Short Shorts and Athletic Wear

The 1980s witnessed the emergence of short shorts as a fashion trend. Gym wear and athletic apparel became increasingly popular, and shorter, more fitted shorts became the norm for both men and women. This trend was heavily influenced by the fitness craze of the decade, with figures like Jane Fonda leading the way with vibrant workout attire.


Cargo Shorts and Casual Comfort

The 1990s introduced cargo shorts, featuring multiple pockets for practicality and a laid-back style. Cargo shorts gained popularity as a casual and comfortable option for both men and women. They became synonymous with relaxed summer fashion, reflecting the casual attitude and practicality of the decade.


Short Shorts Redux: Fashion Forward

In the 2000s, short shorts made a comeback, reclaiming their place in mainstream fashion. Designers and fashion brands showcased shorter lengths on runways, catering to those wanting to flaunt their legs and embrace a more daring style. Despite occasional debates about appropriateness, short shorts continue to be a popular fashion choice, allowing individuals to express their confidence and personal style.

Did you know?

Did you know that the name 'shorts' comes from the old English word 'sceort,' meaning 'brief?' So, when you're wearing shorts, you're essentially wearing a piece of etymology!


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First identified

7th November 2015

Most mentioned on

7th November 2015

Total mentions


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