jean shorts 80s

Jean Shorts

80's Pants Jun 24, 2022

Throughout the 1970s, cutoff jeans were quickly becoming one of the most popular choices for boys and girls. But it wasn’t until the end of the 1970s, thanks to the Dukes of Hazard and Daisy Duke, that the popularity of jean shorts exploded. By the mid-80s, you had a wide assortment of cut-off and tailored Jean shorts to choose from.

jean shorts 80s
80s Fashion Trend: Jean Shorts

Jean shorts was a unisex fashion in the 1980s, and men and women everywhere could be seen wearing them, and in all varieties of length. So why were jean shorts so popular in the 1980?

Jean Shorts In The 80s

The history of jean shorts is somewhat obscured. Although no one knows who was the first to sport a pair of shorts made from cutoff jeans, it is known that throughout the 70s they quickly became a popular choice for many people. It was the perfect way of recycling an old pair of jeans that had worn out. Since most jeans wear out at the knees first, the legs would be cut off of the jeans and worn as is.

The Popularity Of Jean Shorts Can Be Traced Back To The 1970s

For men, the length of the shorts was generally longer and went down to the top of the knees. However this was not always the case, especially if the jeans burst above the knee line. And in the 80s, a unique fashion for men was to wear jean shorts that were thigh-level in length.

For women, the shorts usually went as far as the mid-thigh but could be cut quite close to the hip and groin line. Popular shows like “Dukes Of Hazard” (1979) made these cut-off jean shorts very popular among women of the day.

By the 1980s, jean shorts had become extremely popular for both men and women. A number of manufacturers started mass-producing jean shorts that were properly hemmed at the bottom. Although seen as preppy at the time, it was fairly common to see men wearing jean shorts with a polo shirt throughout the latter half of the decade.

High-Waisted Jean Shorts For Girls

One of the most popular choices for girls was the high-waisted jean shorts. During the 1980s, high-waisted jeans and pants were a standard fashion for women. The designs would generally feature waistlines that sat above the navel and had a longer than usual zipper that ran down the front. Since the pants and jeans had already become popular by the mid-1980s, it was just natural to produce jean shorts with the same high waistline.

80s high waisted jean shorts
High-Waisted Jean Shorts Were Popular Among Women In The 80s
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Although sometimes an old pair of high-waisted jeans would be cut off and hemmed, most of the jean shorts during the 80s came from the store, with the hems already sewn in place. Girls would then spend time coloring their shorts with a wide variety of neon colors, and buttons or patches.

Relaxed Fit Jean Shorts For Boys

For boys, it was all about the relaxed fit. Jean shorts for boys could be found in a number of different styles to choose from throughout the 1980s. The most common style was the relaxed fit which quickly became popular among those who were heavily into grunge and rock ‘n’ roll.

relaxed fit jean shorts
Many Men Preferred The Longer Relaxed Fit Version Of Jean Shorts In The 80s

You could also find a tighter cut pair of jean shorts, which were generally seen as more of a preppy style. Nevertheless, these shorts could be purchased in department stores by the mid-1980s with the hems already sewn.

Cut-Off Jean Shorts

Throughout the 80s, both boys and girls wore cutoff jeans, and this was one of the unique 80s fashion trends we remember. They were the best way to recycle an old pair of jeans, and it was commonplace for a kid to come home to find that their mother had already cut up their favorite pair of jeans to turn them into shorts. For boys, these shorts were either cutoff at the mid-thigh region, especially if they were to be used for swimming.

cut-off jeans 80s
Cut-Off Jean Shorts Usually Featured Lengths That Were Mid-Thigh Or Even Shorter In The 80s

However, for general purposes, they were cut off at the knee line. Girls on the other hand had their jeans cut off at the mid-thigh for general purpose, and for a more revealing look, they were cut off at the line that ran between the groin and the hip.

Daisy Dukes

The popularity of jean shorts throughout the 1980s can be attributed to one show. During the late 1970s, the first episodes of the Dukes of Hazard began to air on television. In the very popular show, Bo and Luke Duke were always getting into trouble, while their cousin Daisy was always using her femininity to get them out of trouble.

daisy dukes 80s
Catherine Bach From “Dukes Of Hazard” (1979) Helped Usher In The Popularity Of “Daisy Dukes” Into The 80s

The term Daisy Dukes refers to the cutoff shorts that she wore in practically every single episode.

Are Jean Shorts Still Popular?

Today jean shorts are still popular, however the fashion is a little different than it was in the 80s. Men no longer wear the short cut-off jeans that were so prevalent in the 1980s, but they still opt for the longer, relaxed fit versions.

Women today still wear cut-off jean shorts regularly, especially during the summer when the hotter temperatures make them the perfect choice for casual wear.

Jean shorts are just one of those 80s fashion trends that we expect to be around in one form or another, and the timeless appeal of any form of denim pants is something we don’t expect to change any time soon.

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