Short shorts are back and bigger - or, actually, smaller - than ever. Here are five reasons why you should never wear them.
Even the name is offensive: hot pants. Really?
When the weather warms up, something crazy happens out there. Shops suddenly abound with clothing that nobody should ever, ever -- ever -- wear in public. And with hot pants you get a twofer: a terrible look and an insulting name that suggests sexual promiscuity.
"Hot Pants 5 Ways. Your Summer Must Have," read the sign in a shop window recently. In fact, in a four-block stroll along a major shopping street, there were at least six window displays of hot pants.
They come in denim, lace, sequins, every imaginable cotton color and even -- ick -- black pleather. (Bet those are comfortable on a hot summer day.)
In response to that misguided window display, I've put together "Hot Pants: 5 Ways They're a Big Mistake":
1. There's no right place to wear them.
There is no occasion or place that's appropriate for wearing short shorts. Think about it. Would you wear a swimsuit to the office, lunch with the in-laws, preschool pickup? Hot pants show just about the same amount of flesh as swimwear.
"They are appropriate never," said Susan Swimmer, fashion features editor of More magazine.
"I can't think of a single occasion when something else wouldn't be better."
"Even if you have the 'perfect shape,' it still looks like you're wearing your underwear," said Kathryn Finney, founder of the Budget Fashonista blog.
2. They're totally uncomfortable.
"First of all, hot pants were not invented by a woman. We can all pretty much agree on that," Finney said.
Yes, we can.
"Hot pants show all your jiggly bits -- on display for everyone," she said. "Most of us like to keep our jiggly bits covered and packaged. ... Then, you have that horrible wedgie factor. It's fashion physics. There are certain items of fashion that are very difficult to wear and be comfortable in."
(A strapless bra, stilettos and thong underwear also come to mind.)
If you're riding in a car, sitting on a bus or even relaxing on a park bench, your flesh is going to stick to the seat. That is so not a glam picture.
3. You'll look like a hooker.
The "Starlet or Streetwalker?" segment on Joan Rivers' "Fashion Police" show on E! comes to mind when a woman wears short shorts. Even stars with stylists and perfect bodies are mistaken for strumpets when they sport this style.
"In women's fashion, it's always a fine line between sexy and trashy," said menswear designer Lee Allison. "Really sexy can be cringe-worthy but still hot -- just not on your girlfriend or wife."
Swimmer added, "You can't do anything but stand upright in them. You bend over to pick up anything, and suddenly you could be arrested for indecent exposure."
4. They flatter no one.
Well, that's not entirely true. They flatter no one who has reached puberty, with the possible exception of Victoria's Secret models.
"They're flattering on the minuscule percent of the genetically blessed," Swimmer said.
5. They'll be out of style -- fast.
This is the good news. This fashion statement will be yesterday's news before the summer is over.
Instead of this style "don't," there are plenty of good options. Consider tapered shorts (not the big boxy Bermudas), or a pretty floral skirt to the knee or an inch above. Even a tapered lightweight pant that hits just at the ankle, à la Audrey Hepburn, would be better.