The official birthday of hotpants is 1970 by Mariuccia Mandelli of the Italian fashion label Krizia. However, some also cite Mary Quant, the miniskirt’s originator, as the creator of hotpants in the late 1960s (although they weren’t officially called “hotpants” until later). Whoever deserves credit, it goes without saying, the world owes her a debt of gratitude.
Short shorts had been worn informally since the 1920s, generally for sports activities. It wasn’t until the women’s liberation movement and sexual revolution of the late sixties that they became fashionable. As the seventies wore on, hotpants gradually grew out of favor, but equally high hemmed running shorts and dolphin shorts as well as Daisy Dukes filled the short-shorts void.
Sadly, the 1990s ushered in an era of long baggy shorts – a nasty plague that lasted for over a decade. That fashion crisis has, thankfully, been eradicated; however, we should still stand vigilant against its dreaded reappearance.
#1-2 – And so, we’ll start our count here, with a pair of white hotpants – a look that transcends cultural and political boundaries. From a German record album to an American motorcycle mag – they’re both enhanced by white hotpants on their covers.
#3 – Jaclyn Smith sporting a pair of denim short-shorts that Catherine Bach would be proud of.
#4-5 – Naturally, sexploitation cinema and adult magazines were among the biggest purveyors of the short short.
#6-7 – Then, of course, there is the 1971 James Brown hit, “Hot Pants”, which contains brilliant lyrics such as:
“One-two one-two-three uh! / Hot pants, hey hot pants uh! smokin’ / Hot pants, smokin’ that-hot pants / That’s where its at a-that’s where its at.”
#8-9 – Once upon a time, the required uniform for flight attendants was either miniskirt or hotpants. Take your pick.
#12-13 – In 1970, the same year the term “hot pants” was supposedly coined and invented, the Belgian band Salvage releases a song by the same name.
#14 – What album cover qualifies as the greatest to feature hotpants? Some may submit Linda Ronstadt or Barbara Streisand, but vote is for The Zebras.
#15-16 – I think it’s fair to say go-go boots and hotpants were a damn good look.
#17 -18 – Go-go boots with a one-piece variation on the hotpants look.
#19-20: More white go-go boots. The pic on the right is from an episode of “Jason King”.
#21-22 – As I mentioned, proper hotpants had gone out of style by the early 1980s, but running shorts/dolphin shorts quickly replaced it, and could be every bit as revealing.
#25-26 As these images of Blonde On Blonde and Susan Anton demonstrate, old-school short-shorts could reveal a lot more than just leg. Suffice it to say, ladies were comfortable with their bodies in the 1970s.
Hotpants were such a sensation in 1971, that, not only were there a couple popular songs devoted to the new clothing, but several movies: Dagmar’s Hot Pants, Inc. (1971), Love In Hot Pants (1971), and Hot Pants Holiday (1971). It should also be noted that Hammer’s Dracula AD 1972 was called Vampyren Jager Hotpants in Denmark.
#29-30 – We could do an entire post just featuring hotpants on record covers and still not have room for them all.
#33-34 – Couldn’t have a hotpants article and not feature Pan’s People; that would just be wrong.
#35-36 – Yes, from cheesy 80s girl groups to 1960s British actresses (Elaine Taylor), we’re bringing you a veritable potpourri of short shorts.
#39-40 – When it came to the best hotpants on TV, there were several contenders: Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island and Chrissy Snow from Three’s Company to name a few. However, the undisputed Queen of TV Hotpants is Wonder Woman (Linda Carter).
#43-45 – Jimmy Patrick brings us another tune devoted to our favorite brand of shorts. It seems mankind was obsessed with hotpants in the early seventies.
#46-47 – The 1979 movie Burnout offers fast cars and girls in short-shorts – what more could a 70s male want in a movie?
#50-51 – Olivia Newton-John at right
#52-53 – (L) Catherine Bach, the lady behind “Daisy Dukes”, and (R) a Yugoslavian girl group that really knew how to wedge into a pair of shiny short shorts.
And so we’ve come to end. Alas, there are so, so many more short-shorts images from yesteryear I’d love to share. But I think hotpant saturation levels have been reached. Until next time!