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Men’s Shorts Styles of the 70s

Culture | June 14, 2018

Women’s shorts weren’t the only thing going short-short in the 1970s. Men were showing a lot more thigh, too. It seems that the overall style of the decade was skimpy…for both men and women…as we will see with this overview of men’s short styles of the 1970s. The seventies was a time when women were pushing for gender equality while also acknowledging their own sexuality. Rather than continuing to be the object of lustful attention, women became to ones doing the ogling. And the men of the '70s gave them plenty to look at by wearing short, tight shorts.

Athletic Shorts

The 1970s was the first time that athletic wear became a mainstream fashion, thanks in part to the fitness craze sweeping the nation. Whether one was athletically inclined or not, they probably still had a few pair of gym shorts that they regularly wore. These weren’t today’s baggy gym shorts, either. They were ultra short garments that often looked as though they were on the verge of full exposure. Inspired by basketball legends like Dr. J and Larry Bird, the tiny athletic shorts were a hot seventies fashion item that could be seen on the runways, the malls, and the beaches…in addition to the basketball court.

Cut-Off Jean Shorts

The Daisy Duke-style cut-off denim shorts were sexy and revealing on women, but men were getting in on the action too. The ultra-short cut-off jean shorts were popular among the rugged, country, outdoorsy crowd, but could also be seen on beach bums and skater boys. While crotch-high cut-off jean shorts for women have stood the test of time, for men, the style was a short-lived flash in the pan.

Dress Shorts

Even dressier men’s shorts in the 1970s were short and tight. For dress shorts, polyester was the fabric of choice. Whether solid, striped, checked, or patterned, polyester dress shorts were all the rage. They even crept into uniforms and work attire, bring a whole new concept to workplace casual. It was not uncommon to see police officers, letter carriers, doormen, and salesmen showing a lot of leg while they were on the job.

As the 1970s came to an end, short styles for men became more modest, hearkening back to the 1950s and 1960s short lengths. But for that one brief, shining moment in time…the 1970s…the shortness of men’s pants rivaled that of women. What we have remaining is a lot of humorous photographs of seventies dudes comfortably showing way too much thigh.

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Karen Harris

Writer

Karen left the world of academic, quitting her job as a college professor to write full-time. She spends her days with her firefighter husband and four daughters on a hobby farm with an assortment of animals, including a goat named Atticus, a turkey named Gravy, and a chicken named Chickaletta.