Bermudas for the Dog Days of Summer

How to survive the dog days of August without looking like a slob?

Jack Kennedy rolled up the sleeves of his cotton Oxford dress shirt and let it all hang out over his khaki walk shorts.

Bermuda shorts were the leisure summer garment of choice for the favored few in its salad days of the 1950s. After taking a Bermuda buggy ride with their best girl by their side, prep school and college scions of the establishment returned to campus for final exams from their rum-filled spring vacations loaded to the gills with the real thing purchased at Trimingham’s, the era’s top tier purveyor of the home product. J. Press got into the act in the early 1950s.

Best-selling author and cultural critic, Lisa Birnbach put her stamp on the genre in her 1980 classic The Official Preppy Handbook. The chapter titled Dressing The Part proclaimed, “Bermuda shorts are an integral part of a man’s wardrobe. They are worn cut like dress trousers, only hemmed just above the knee. Solid cotton or madras.”

Thirty-nine years later J. Press continues to fill the bill with a world-class cornucopia of Bermuda shorts available for end of season reductions. Pick of the pack — Seersucker, pink/white or blue/white; Patchwork Madras, pastel or dark shade; varieties of cotton Madras Plaids; Poplin, blue heather or light tan; stone-wash cotton chino, tan with lobsters or red with anchors.

The last word belongs to my friend, menswear historian and connoisseur G. Bruce Boyer in his latest treatise True Style daring to suggest, “Why not indeed wear a pastel chambray shirt, natty foulard bow tie, and lightweight blazer with a pair of Madras shorts?”

Bermudas go both ways.


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