There’s quite a bit of hostility to shorts amongst guys who like vintage clothing. For various reasons – forced to wear them at school in winter, sub- Spike Milligan worries about hairy knees, the belief that men’s legs should not be seen, and many others – the vintage guys I know shy away from wearing shorts. Me? I like wearing shorts in summer, so I’ve been gathering vintage shorts whenever I see them for several years. Mostly these are military issue, but this post concerns only vintage British civilian shorts. These were marketed through the 20s-50s for hiking, and other healthy outdoor pursuits in good weather. There are 4 pairs of shorts in this post, so do scroll right down. All are made of robust drill cotton, and they tend to mustard khaki coloured (though the Bukta pair at the bottom are in white drill cotton).
First I’ll post some sample advertising. These pages are from the Kay’s catalogue, a British version of the Sears catalogue.
Poplar Brand Shorts. Government Dye Guaranteed. These have been worn A LOT. Clearly someone’s garden/painting/housework shorts, which is what I use them for now.
Fully Shrunk to …
Bukta, Rigmel Shrunk. A pair of pure white drill cotton shorts with integral belt from the famous Bukta brand. The catalogue image is from 1960. These shorts are significantly longer than the others.