How to Wear Bermuda Shorts

BY JO PIAZZA • ILLUSTRATIONS BY PEGGY PANOSH • NOVEMBER 5, 2019

How to Wear Bermuda Shorts

BY JO PIAZZA • ILLUSTRATIONS BY PEGGY PANOSH • NOVEMBER 5, 2019


The island’s national uniform is surprisingly flexible. Here are five ways to make them work—and where to buy them.

I didn’t discover my husband’s packing error until we arrived in Bermuda for our five-day babymoon. He had brought an entire suitcase of clothing… and not a single pair of Bermuda shorts.

“They might kick you off the island,” I said, only half-kidding.

“I have no idea how to wear them,” he admitted of the delightfully bright above-the-knee shorts trousers seen on Bermudan men (and women) from about age two to 92.

He shouldn’t have been concerned. The well-tailored Bermuda short was originally created by the British Army during World War II for officers stationed on the warm-weather island. We soon learned, while navigating the country in our tiny electric Twizy, that today’s version can be worn anywhere—and with nearly anything. They’re a ubiquitous part of island life from beach to bar, fine dining to football field.

Any traditional sartorial standards are only rules meant to be broken these days. Bermuda shorts can be pleated or not; worn one to two inches above the knee, or higher; with high socks or without. Here are five styles to try, whether you’re on-island or bringing a bit of Bermuda home:

Beach Casual

Shorts can be dressed down in Bermuda the same way they are in the United States—worn with a polo, even shirtless, while strolling the pink sand. Pair with flip-flops or sandals and take them from beach to casual brunch.

Sporty

Throw on some sneakers like you’re going for a run (even if you’re really going for a rum swizzle).

Boat Sporty

In Bermuda, this is a very different look than “sporty.” Boat life is alive and well on this little island, and you had better dress the part. Boat Sporty requires a sturdy loafer, preferably boat shoes, a polo or dress shirt and a sweater neatly knotted at the neck.

Business Casual

Take the shorts from day to evening with a jacket and a breezy linen button-down shirt. This look is perfect for a cocktail party or afternoon tea.

Formal

Imagine you’re wearing a suit, except replace the long pants with shorts. Or think of this look as the Bermudian mullet: business up top, fun down below. Wear this look for a nice dinner or even a wedding. Don’t forget a tie and a set of dark-colored trouser socks pulled up to the knee. The socks are the key to success.

 

Where to Buy Bermuda Shorts

You can hardly walk into a clothing store on the island and not find a multihued stack of Bermuda shorts. But some shops stand out above the rest. • In 2017, TABS (The Authentic Bermuda Shorts) was chosen as the official licensee for the 35th America’s Cup, hence solidifying its place at the top of the shorts stack. The flagship store on Reid Street, in Hamilton, sells shorts in a range of colors, plus quick-drying “performance” versions . • Founded by two former finance guys from Bermuda, Coral Coast, on Front Street in Hamilton, offers classic Bermuda shorts in nearly every color of the rainbow, as well as modern and stylish dress shirts. • Also on Front Street, former general store turned fine fashion boutique A.S. Cooper has been outfitting Bermudians for over a century, as has The English Sports Shop, an ideal place for picking out your shorts-blazer-tie get-up.

Discover A Sense of Bermuda

Explore more insider stories on Rosewood Conversations from Bermuda, where Rosewood Bermuda welcomes sunseekers access to the island’s largest private beach.

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THE DETAILS

TABS Bermuda: 12 Reid Street, Hamilton; +1 441-704-8227
Coral Coast Clothing: 15 Front Street, Hamilton; +1 441-400-5030
A.S. Cooper: 29 Front Street, Hamilton; +1 441-295-3961
The English Sports Shop: 49 Front Street, Hamilton; +1 441-295-2672

Banner image courtesy of Gavin Howarth for TABS.

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Written By: Jo Piazza

11.5.19

Locations: Bermuda

See more: Style

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