Bermuda Beach Style
By Courtney Murray
It’s a pant, it’s a short…no it’s a Bermuda Short! Also known as walking shorts or dress shorts, this style of tailored short trousers hits around 1 inch above the knee and can be worn cuffed or un-cuffed. Bermuda shorts weren’t originally intended for the office, they began during WWI when Britain set up its North Atlantic head quarters in Bermuda. Nathanial Coxon owned one of the only teashops in Bermuda that was frequented by many navel officers. The heat of working in the teashop became unbearable for employees, but Coxon couldn’t afford new uniforms. So he cut off the khaki pants just above the knee, and there was the birth of the Bermuda short. When Rear Admiral Mason Berridge saw the new uniforms he decided to adopt the look for his fellow officers. The British Army went on to wear the shorts in tropical and desert climates and the Royal Navy still wears the style. The clothing gained its name due to its popularity in Bermuda where men continue to pair them with knee-length socks, a dress shirt, tie, and blazer for business attire. These shorts can be made in a variety of fabrics for different climates in everything from wool and cotton blends to denim and linen. What has become a style icon of Bermuda over the years is still represented today. Bermuda’s delegation traditionally wears red shorts during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics, representing the primary color in the country’s flag.
England has always been known for their dapper fashion sense and British tourists and Americans from the Northeast coast noticed the style and brought it home to be worn during casual settings and vacations. In the United States, Bermuda shorts were often thought of for older, preppy gentlemen, but this is no longer the case. Women can rock this style and look fashion-forward and chic while doing it. Try a structured pair with a blazer and sleek pumps for an unexpected work ensemble. When going for a dressy look, choose crisp cottons and wool blends. Black and white are a tried and true classic but a blush or powder blue look beautiful and the pastel palette is right on trend.
Accessories complete the look when it comes to Bermuda shorts and direct how formal the outfit is. The difference is in the details. A leather belt says you are ready for the boardroom, while a woven belt says you are ready for the beach. Wearing your Bermuda’s with a sleek clutch or stylish crossbody bag reads upscale, while pairing them with a cute backback or oversized tote reads relaxed downtown. Footwear makes a monumental difference in your overall look as well. Sneakers are having a big moment right now and create a sporty look for both men and women. A strappy sandal or wedges for girls and leather flip-flops for guys bring Bermuda shorts back to their beachy roots. Think about your venue, your weather, and your audience when choosing your Bermuda shorts and building your outfit around them. If you are cruising a college campus or swinging clubs at the driving range, a polo shirt and loafers complete the look. This is also an excellent opportunity to step out of the box and experiment with different colors. If you are going out for cocktails with girlfriends or if you work in a creative environment, that is the time to try a subtle pattern with a solid top and statement jewelry. If you are heading out on the Emerald Coast this season and you can’t quite choose between shorts or pants, try out the Bermuda short.