The 1950′s decade was the first decade that embraced women wearing shorts for more than just beach wear. 1950′s Shorts came in several lengths and styles to fit a variety of leisure activities women enjoyed.
The shortest of the 1950s shorts were “short shorts.” These came to about 6 inches above the knee and had classic 1950′s high waists and side zippers. These shorts were mostly worn on the beaches, or on naughty pin up models. Another name for these shorts is culottes. Culottes could be short or a bit longer and have wide leg openings that flair out from a tight waist and hip.
The most popular shorts length was the Bermuda short. These came to about 3 inches above the knee, again with high waists and side zip seams. They could fit rather loose and baggy just like pedal pusher pants, or more fitted and slimming (much like Bermuda shorts available today.)
The longest 1950′s shorts could also be called pants. Peddle pushers, also known as clam diggers, toreador pants, motor scooter slacks, calypso, and pirate pants all came to just below the knee with either wide straight legs or cuffed bottoms. These short pants were developed for cyclists who wanted the comfort of shorts and the safety of pants that wouldn’t tangle in bicycle chains.
All 1950′s shorts were inspired by casual sport and travel wear with materials suitable for warm weather days. Cotton and synthetic “wrinkle free” fabrics were the most popular. Solid, tropical colors like lime green, sherbet orange, and Caribbean blue were in demand as well as checks and prints in the same color family. Think “tacky tourist” clothing and your not far off from 50′s summer fashion.
It was very common for women to buy a four piece matching clothing set with shirt, long pants, peddle pushers, and culotte shorts. This way women always had a matching outfit to wear for all kinds of weather. If shirts didn’t match they were usually a light colored, short sleeve or sleeveless, blouse.
What 1950′s shorts do you want to wear? Here are some new vintage inspired shorts and pants for your vintage wardrobe.