Chic: Bermuda shortscan be traced back to WWI. *Photo supplied
Chic: Bermuda shortscan be traced back to WWI. *Photo supplied
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The origins of Bermuda shorts can be traced all the way back to a little island tearoom during the First World War.

But it seems that this uniquely Bermudian piece of practical clothing is gathering momentum on the global stage.

And Bermuda shorts look set to become one of the hottest items of fashion in Europe for 2014.

Local businesswoman, Rebecca Hanson, is hoping to make the most of this fashion trend and recently launched her own brand of Bermuda shorts called TABS.

But the plunge into business also got Ms Hanson hooked on the history behind the iconic shorts.

She told the Bermuda Sun: “I did a lot of research on the shorts before I set up Tabs and I was really surprised by what I found out.

“I doubt that many islanders today realize that it all started with a guy called Nathanial Coxon, who ran a little teashop in World War One. It’s such an interesting story.”

Ms Hanson traced Bermuda shorts back to the days of the First World War when Britain had set up its North Atlantic headquarters on the island.

She explained: “Native Bermudian Nathanial Coxon owned one of the only teashops in Bermuda and his little teashop quickly saw an influx of Naval officers. Business boomed for Coxon but his busy tearoom quickly turned into a sauna with all the steaming pots of tea. His employees complained about the heat as their uniforms consisted of a smart navy blue blazer and khaki pants.

“Coxon was a creative businessman and did not want to spend money on a new wardrobe for his employees, so he took all the khaki pants from his staff and cut them just above the knee to create the very first pair of Bermuda shorts.

“Rear Admiral Mason Berridge took his tea in Coxon’s and thought their new uniform was “a bit of old Oxford and a bit of the Khyber Pass.”

Rear Admiral Berridge decided to adopt the style for his fellow officers and coined the attire ‘Bermuda Shorts.’

He later went on to credit Coxon for his creative solution and Coxon was awarded an OBE.

The pairing of the shorts with the socks came about during World War Two when there was a shortage of clothing in Bermuda. 

Ms Hanson added: “Legend has it that the managers of the two banks in Bermuda arranged for a local tailor to make two pairs of shorts for each of their male employees modelled on the shorts from the British Military that Coxon and Berridge had made famous.

“The employees were also supplied with long socks to wear.

“The look was a success and local departments stores started selling the shorts in a range of bright hues and the rest of the world quickly caught
on.” 

To find out more about Ms Hanson’s business TABS visit www.authenticshorts.bm