Shorting The Shorts
Sitting here in my Bermuda shorts, long socks and slip-on leather shoes, I was sad - but not entirely surprised - to come across this article in the LA Times (courtesy of Pondblog) documenting the decline of the Island's signature fashion.
While I can understand local businessmen not wearing Bermuda shorts for meetings in London or New York, I was truly surprised to read that some locals view the look as a symbol of colonialism.
The article gives the impression that Bermuda shorts were forced upon an unwilling populace down the barrel of a gun by "British military occupiers". But Bermuda was occupied by the British when there was nothing here but pigs. Although Bermuda shorts were created by the British military in London at the start of the 20th century, Bermudian tailors began copying them for civilian use in the 1920s. Originally in khaki, Bermudians subsequently adapted the design, adding the turn downs to the top of the socks, different colours, the tie and the jacket. The result: a national dress that is uniquely Bermudian.
That Bermudians are now eschewing it seems sad. As Christian Dunleavy suggests, perhaps it's a result of unpleasant flashbacks to their school days. But this foreigner thinks it would be a shame if the shorts-wearing tradition was allowed to die out. There are many ways in which I wish Bermuda was more like the rest of the world. This is not one of them.