Women, hot pants and the 1970s

Former teen queen, Miley Cyrus, made waves at the VMA 2013 when she donned PVC hot pants and twerked away to glory. Before that, Country star Taylor Swift, sizzled in leather hot pants for a performance in LA. Brit pop singer, Elle Goulding, also wowed the crowd in a black and white patterned pair of hot pants at the Kiss FM studios in London last month.

 Back home, our very own Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra will soon be seen in khakhi hot pants for a song in her upcoming movie ‘Zanjeer’. Sexy, isn’t?

I am quite sure that visuals like these must harbour in your mind whenever you come across the word ‘hot pants’. Today, it’s fun to rock them. But have you ever wondered how this provocative piece of clothing influenced the society some forty years ago?

Hot pants, in fact, are the brainchild of Anglo-Welsh designer Mary Quant who popularised the garment in the late 1960s. Quite interestingly, hot pants topped the popularity charts as women thought it gave more coverage than a mini skirt, also a Quant invention, due to the presence of the inseam.

With famous celebrities like Brigitte Bardot and donning them almost everywhere, it became a ritual for the women to own at least one pair of short shorts in that period. For sometime, it was considered cool to don them at workplaces and even weddings.

In 1968, hot pants were instilled into the uniform of the flight attendants of Southwest Airlines. Wearing hot pants and go-go boots with a jacket over the blouse completing the look, the air hostesses painted a rather sexually attractive persona of themselves. That was a time when flying used to be sexy. Talk about a revolution!

The early 1970s saw a rise in the number of women going on a diet. The reason was simple – they wanted to slim down so that could rock those itsy-bitsy shorts. Although there is no proof of this, hot pants soon vanished from the mainstream fashion circuit. They became a regular at the disco scene! Remember funk pioneer, Betty Davis, in thigh-high boots and hot pants whilst rocking a huge afro?

No doubt, hot pants emblematized the fashion trend existing in the 1970’s and today they have come a full circle.

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