Last year, music producer Pharrell Williams made a much talked about fashion statement at the Grammy Awards by wearing a large, Western-style Vivian Westwood hat. This year, the “Happy” singer ditched the headgear for a gray Adidas shorts suit—complete with bow-tie—that appeared white under photographers’ flashes. While some fashion critics dismissed his look as being too casual for an awards show, everyone could agree that Pharrell’s athleisure look was perfect for a trip to Bermuda.
Bermuda shorts date back over 100 years to a time when the British—who continue to govern the territory—needed a formal, yet tropics- and breeze-friendly uniform for their soldiers. The solution was to pair a more standard military jacket with short khaki trousers, measuring 22 inches from the waist to hem. As time passed, the shorts became a hit with locals and merchants started selling the bottoms in a variety of prints and colors.
Today, it’s common to see Bermuda shorts worn all over the island by tourists and businessmen alike. The unofficial rule is that each pair of shorts’ hems should not be more than 6 inches above the knee, for decorum purposes (2-3 inches is more preferable). The shorts’ material can vary, though twill, cotton and khaki remain popular.
If you’re looking to acquire your first pair of authentic Bermuda shorts, look no further than King’s Wharf in Bermuda, where English Sports Shop and A.S. Cooper & Sons, which are known for their collections of shorts, are certain to have just what you are looking for. (TABS also makes an authentic Bermuda short.) For men, finish the look off with a sports coat and for the ladies, pair the shorts with your favorite heels or espadrilles, for the complete Bermuda look.