Hot pants & boy shorts: women’s fashion trend

Many recent fashion trends have pointed to it, and given the popularity of the likes of lingerie as outerwear it should really come as no surprise. Yes, hem lines continually become shorter as time marches on, but Spring 2010 may be the first season where hem lines can be predominantly measured in negative figures.

hot pants

Click the thumbnails for full pictures:
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines
Catwalk Trend: Negative Hemlines

Hot Pants

Once upon a time hot pants were considered more suited to a gymnasium than the streets. But then, in late 2007, the leotard came back into fashion. While it didn’t peak on the streets until 2009, and was often worn under skirts, shorts or long furs, in the case of Kate Moss, its prevalence guaranteed that hot pants would indeed be worn by forward thinking fashionisers.

And so there it was on the Spring 2010 catwalks. And again in the front row. Always on the confident personality. Always on a great figure.

Those two latter parts are key to this fashion trend. It is not for the faint of heart, nor those who aren’t confident about their figure.

Who has been wearing hot pants

Two hot pant styles for 2010

One of the two styles for hot pants in 2010, mid-cut hot pants, start at or just below the belly button. A modern interpretation of the look, it was far less common on the Spring 2010 catwalks though was the style favoured by Miuccia Prada for her Spring 2010 collection.

High-Waisted Hot Pants

As it was on the catwalks, so I suspect it shall be on the streets. To balance the fact that a negative hem line is going to reveal a lot of skin high waisted hot pants will be the strongest look for this trend in 2010.

For those who have enjoyed the vintage revival of recent years have, a vintage interpretation of hot pants is definitely on the cards. To achieve a vintage look invest in a good pair of high-waisted hot pants. When wearing them, look to the classic pin-up girl for inspiration. In particular, draw on the girly motifs that are evident in most pictures of vintage hot pants; nautical detailing is a prime example (just don’t take it to the level of being a parody) though a fusion of hot pants and lingerie as outerwear is the most predominant for Spring 2010.

Marc Jacobs hot pants
Vintage influenced hot pants from Marc Jacobs Spring 2010

dolce gabbana playsuit
Dolce & Gabbana hot pants from their SS ’11 collection via Style.com

Tips for wearing hot pants in 2010

  • Look for a negative hemline: the hemline of your hot pants ought to curve up the outer thigh. Around the back it needs to at least follow the shape of your derriere. Some styles will curve up the thigh and the cheeks, revealing what we hope is a perfectly toned bum; we implore that such a cut be kept for the evenings
  • Wear hot pants only with heels, unless your name happens to be Gisele Bundchen, Natasha Poly, or you happen to be employed by Victoria’s Secret for the job of ‘Angel’. Heels will slim out your figure, and give shape to both your legs and derriere
  • On the same point, if you’re wearing hot pants in a vintage style (see below for more on that) consider wearing mid-height t-bars for a cute yet sexy look
  • If you translate the look from Spring 2010 into the Autumn (Fall) / Winter season, or even wearing out hot pants on a cool Summer evening, consider wearing them over tights or stockings. Also consider bold patterned or coloured tights, to increase the impact of the look
  • In the same vein: hot pants in Spring 2010 are all about colours and patterns. Don’t feel you have to wear them solely in black, that was a 2009 interpretation of the look. Also look for unique pieces courtesy of a different fabric; a fusion between hot pants and the leather fashion trend could work wonders, though we’re also partial to a fusion with knits
  • Night time hot pants allow for a whole new level of detailing, such as sequins and studs (though these aren’t precluded from day light hours)
  • Avoid the ‘I forgot my pants’ look that became the staple of stockings and leggings instead of pants in 2009; it’s now all too common, and generally frowned upon. To do so, either choose a bold pattern (as suggested above) or accessorise. You might add a belt around your waist or hips to balance out your interpretation of the trend
  • In wearing hot pants you’re showing a lot of skin, so consider pairing them other articles of clothing that tone them down. A loose cut top, such as a billowy blouse or a boyfriend blazer, might be the perfect match
  • Day time is the perfect time to fuse hot pants with the 2010 sports-wear fashion trend
  • Finally, akin to the bare midriff fashion trend I have to honestly caution you: you have to have the body for 2010′s hot pants. With a negative-hemline, wearing them means showing off your bum. Fantastic if you’ve got a great bum, but prone to derision if you’re don’t.

Where to buy hot pants

  • Derek Lam Spring 2010 paired black hot pants with a white, dotted pattern
  • DKNY Spring 2010 included a pair of hot pants that sported a red and black horizontal stripe pattern
  • Marc Jacobs Spring 2010 included hot pants for both a modern and vintage interpretation; the latter falls perfectly inline with the lingerie as outerwear fashion trend courtesy of Jacobs’ use of satin
  • Missoni Spring 2010 featured patterned hot pants with soft, feminine tonality
  • Stella McCartney’s Spring 2010 brown hot pants ride up the back to a slight degree
  • TopShop have a number of styles stocked, though don’t make a clear distinction between the various cuts and styles

For pictures of all the hot pants from these designers and many more, visit the hot pants inspiration gallery at the bottom of this page.

Boy Shorts & Short Shorts

If hot pants don’t take your fancy the consider boy shorts an alternative. Taking their inspiration from boy shorts knickers the cut is akin to hot pants, though differentiated by a featuring a hemline that doesn’t curve up the body. Think of short shorts, just not in denim and without the rips, and you’re on the money.


Short shorts and boy shorts on the Blumarine and Balmain Spring 2010 catwalks

If you want to invest in the boy shorts as outerwear fashion trend then ensure that you’re wearing a pair that have these two features:

  1. A hemline that travels no more than 2 inches down your thigh
  2. A figure hugging cut, particularly across the rear. A relaxed front is a great idea if you’re want to avoiding camel toe

Where to buy short shorts / boy shorts

Boy shorts and short shorts featured in a number of Spring 2010 collections. Notably:

  • Balmain Spring 2010 presented their micro-shorts in a faux-vintage black leather
  • Blumarine Spring 2010 used a 1970s influence colour palette for their stretch-boy shorts
  • Emilio Pucci Spring 2010 includes a pair of boy shorts that Robert Cavalli could be proud of courtesy of their snake skin print
  • Iceberg Spring 2010 played it safe with black hot pants, though relied on jewel embellishment and leather fabrication for detail
  • Lacoste Spring 2010 featured them in a plain black, perfectly inline with their sports-day-wear feel

For plenty of inspirational pictures of boy shorts, scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the thumbnails.

Tap Pants: a loose alternative

For those days when you’re not feeling up to the bum-hugging look of boy shorts or hot pants, consider instead loose boy shorts / tap pants. More a part of the lingerie as outerwear fashion trend than the hot pants fashion trend, loose boy shorts in 2010 should pair flowing shorts with, preferably, lace or semi-sheer material.

tap pants
Tap pants from Cynthia Rowley and Organic by John Patrick

Where to buy tap shorts

  • Brian Reyes Spring 2010
  • Cynthia Rowley Spring 2010
  • D&G Spring 2010 featured them with a girly touch courtesy of a frilled hem
  • Fendi Spring 2010 presented a ‘safe’ pair that relied on gold trim for detailing, though their pairing of tap pants under sheer skirts and dresses was definitely the standout styling
  • Organic by John Patrick of the same season
  • Stella McCartney Spring 2010 relied on sand tones for the designer’s take on high waisted tap pants
  • Vena Cava Spring 2010

For pictures of tap shorts for Spring 2010, scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the thumbnails.

Body Suits

Over the past years body suits have come to represent a basic item; not a basic in the sense that everyone has been wearing them, but in the sense that they’ve primarily been worn in basic colours and styles. That’s meant that fashionisers could take the focus off the body suits themselves and use them as a blank canvas to be paired with statement accessories and eye-grabbing layers.

Spring 2010 will see that change. Yes, bodysuits will still be used with layers, but they’ll become the statement pieces themselves. Francesco Scognamiglio’s Spring 2010 catwalk made best use of this interpretation of the look, infusing the Grecian fashion trend into two body suits (both below). Rochas Spring 2010 collection also featured body suits, but these were in knit fabrics somewhat reminiscent of vintage bathing suits.

body suits 2010
Body suits from Francesco Scognamiglio and Rochas

Where to buy body suits for Spring 2010

  • Derek Lam Spring 2010 mostly avoided the overall pattern element of this trend in Spring 2010, choose to use fabrication cuts and layers as the eye catching feature
  • DKNY Spring 2010 featured several body suits. Often layered under the likes of a boyfriend blazer, another Spring 2010 fashion trend, each relied on bold patterns with largely neutral colours
  • Lacoste Spring 2010 fused body suits in monochromatic colours with the 2010 sportswear trend
  • Though in brown, Stella McCartney Spring 2010 featured a body suit whose cutaway detailing and stretch fabric wouldn’t be amiss on an Herve Leger catwalk

For pictures of bodysuits from the Spring 2010 runways, scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the thumbnails.

The difference between hot pants, boy shorts and short shorts

While analysing this trend two things became clear: #1 the distinction between the styles of hot pants, short shorts, and boy shorts wasn’t in the least bit clear, #2 that this was as a result of the fact that public taste has largely changed. As you peruse the pictures above and those in the inspiration gallery below you’ll realise that what counted as hot pants the last time they were a trend would now be considered a short short (at most). As such, for 2010 a redefinition of the styles is needed:

Hot Pants

  • Have a negative hem line
  • Are cut up the outer thigh
  • Reveal some part of the derriere be it a small part of the bottom of the cheek, or a larger part
  • Can be mid or high waisted

Boy Shorts and Short Shorts

  • Have a neutral hem line
  • Sit under the cheeks
  • Generally low waisted, though some designers have interpreted the short in short shorts to only affect the hem line and not the belt line

Tap Pants

  • Have a hem usually no more than 2 inches long
  • Hem line generally has a straight or ruffled finish
  • Not figure hugging
  • Heavily influenced by lingerie

Body suits

  • Have a negative hem line, generally revealing a large part of the derriere
  • In 2010 feature more patterns and bolder cuts
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Author

Written by .

He was 5 when his teacher wrote on his report card “Daniel can’t sit still.” Taking it as a compliment, he’s been on the go ever since. Having flown over 590,000 kilometres in a single year (2012), he’s done much to push the boundaries of a fashioniser, always looking to fold one extra Tom Ford suit into his set of Samsonite cases and for one extra occasion to tie a tie for. As much an editor-at-large as he is Fashionising.com’s Editor-in-chief, when he's not travelling to all the fashion weeks his passports will allow him to, Daniel works on guiding this publication’s editorial and trend views. He is one of Fashionising.com’s co-founders.

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