Who wears short shorts? Dudes, apparently
Have you noticed that men are increasingly sporting shorts for which chafing is a major concern? Although seventies-inspired short shorts don't seem to have caught on beyond serious fashionistas yet, they may soon, as Guardian fashion editor Hadley Freeman points out.
Freeman blames two things for the trend: Kate Moss, which I find a little hard to believe (how can one pair of legs possibly have that much influence), and more interestingly, music festivals. Facebook and digital cameras have given the fashion of music festivals a much greater degree of exposure than in years past, she contends.
So basically, what this means is because certain festival-goers find short shorts to be the most practical fashion solution at hot, muddy concerts, we have to see them everywhere else too? That's unfortunate. I try to be an equal opportunist when it comes to gender-exclusive fashion, but it's hard to deny the vast majority of men's legs aren't pretty.
Incidentally, I think she misses an obvious influence: the increasing acceptance of gay fashion and culture. It's not like men haven't worn them before (see Arrested Development's famous Never-nude, Tobias Funke).
Interestingly, this trend does not seem to be limited just to da ladeez. Men, although by no means in the same numbers, are also shortening their shorts. Instead of relying on the usual British option of clownish cropped trousers, shorts are creeping up to the mid to upper thigh on men. I can't, sadly, blame Moss for this. Instead I can blame Cristiano Ronaldo, whose love of the male hotpant has shown no bounds on his tour of Los Angeles' finest nightclubs and pool loungers in recent weeks.
At Topshop, sales of super-short shorts and full-on hotpants are up 46% from this time last year. Such is the success that the next collection to come in stores is based, according to a Topshop spokesman, "entirely around the hotpant, and I can't remember the time an entire collection was based around just one garment". (By the way, you know that an item has really become fashionable when it is referred to in the fashion singular: look in style magazines and you will see what I mean - "a shoe", "a jean" and now, it seems, "a hotpant".)
Similarly, at American Apparel sales have doubled from last summer but it is not just the cheaply cheerful high street: the designer fashion website www.netaporter.com is also selling plenty of short shorts this summer, despite the triple-figure price-tags, proving that British customers are seeing them as, to use some more fashion parlance, "an investment piece". A - speaking bluntly - bum-grazing blue pair by Roberto Cavalli for a mere £405 (now a bargain-bin £202.50 in the sale) has sold out in every size but one.