The super-short shorts known as ‘hot pants’ first appeared in the late 60s as an alternative to the micro-miniskirt that threatened to expose it all. Hot pants (the term was coined in 1970 by Women’s Wear Daily, the fashion bible of Fifth Avenue) offered an element of modesty compared to the miniskirt. They also allowed girls to bend over again.
Teens embraced the skimpy style, pairing their velvet hot pants with go-go boots, while adults hoped the shorts would be a passing fad.
As the decade gave way to the 70s, hot pants melted the hearts of the opposition, and even the disapproving agreed legs never looked better.
Hot pants were everywhere: in every fabric, every print, super tight or flirty and fluid, hot pants were out of control.
The ‘hot pant’ designation disappeared as the 80s began, but those sneaky short shorts were still around. Dukes of Hazzard cousin Daisy Duke wore a pair of denim high-risers so memorable that by the time short shorts came back into vogue in the early 90s, they were named after her sexy-legged character.
“People complain one isn’t with it, but honestly . . . that’s the limit, the absolute limit”.
20-year-old Princess Anne on hot pants. 1971
“I wore hot pants years ago when they were called shorts”.
Marlene Dietrich, 66, talking about hot pants. 1971