Teens In Short Shorts
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The Royal Teens, best remembered for the catchy 1958 novelty hit \"Short Shorts\", were formed in 1956 in Bergen County, NJ, as The Royal Tones. One of the founding members was Bob Gaudio, later a prolific songwriter and founding member of The Four Seasons, another famous group of Jersey boys. Besides Gaudio, the original members included drummer Thomas Austin, bass player Billy Dalton and sax player Bill Crandall. The group started out as a back-up band for black R&B singers. Gaudio and Austin had an instrumental dance number they had written as a warm-up tune for their stage act. They came up with the catchphrase \"Who wears short shorts\" for a lyric and added a few basically nonsensical refrains. The song was noticed by an exec at ABC-Paramount Records and the group, now christened The Royal Teens, was signed. \"Short Shorts\" was recorded and released and quickly shot to #3 on the US charts, due in no small part to Crandall's driving sax (the song was later famously used in a series of TV commercials for Nair hair-removal cream). Crandall and Dalton soon left the group, though, to be replaced by Larry Quagliano and future Blood Sweat & Tears founder Al Kooper. Former Three Friends lead singer Joe Villa was also brought into the group. They had one minor hit for ABC before moving to Capitol Records, where they scored another minor hit. By 1960 the group was pretty much defunct, although some members continued using the name with various lineups until 1965, recording for several minor labels (All New, Mighty) and a few semi-major ones (Blue Jay, Swan), but The Royal Teens' time had passed and there were no more hits.
For some reason or another, pant trends always seem to be controversial. We may have just gotten past the skinny jeans vs. baggy jeans debate, but another trend is already arising with a handful of naysayers: Super short shorts.
Short pant trends have been particularly polarizing over the past few years, but it has not always been the case. Back in the day, we use to move as a united front. In the early 2000s, short shorts dominated. However, by the latter half of the decade, our shorts had become so long they were almost capris.
Though in apparent decline already, COVID-19 lockdowns brought our focus to casual and comfortable styles, and short shorts were finally dethroned. Over the past couple of years, bike shorts, as well as retro-inspired mom shorts with longer and looser silhouettes, have remained popular between both celebrities and the general public.
However, as usual, we eventually gravitate towards the complete opposite because fashion is indeed cyclical. Last year, Miu Miu famously brought micro skirts, an undisputed Y2K staple, back to the mainstream. Now, 2023 is following suit, with short shorts making a big comeback, and yes, Miu Miu had a hand in this too.
As we near spring, we're starting to see some of the hottest celebrities in fashion dress for the warmer weather, and we couldn't help but notice a trend. Throughout this fashion month especially, some of the most eye-catching looks have included ultra-cropped shorts with a more elevated look.
If you're not quite ready for the no-pants or barely-there looks, super short shorts could be a great starting point. If it's not the look for you, fear not because longer, looser shorts aren't going anywhere, but if you're feeling adventurous, you could always layer.
Some people believe the best way to teach is by example. For one father in Florida, the example was about what not to do. He took his message to a whole new level to convince his daughter not to wear short shorts.
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The Generation Z-dominated platform is absolutely flooded with videos of users straight-up roasting shorts. And not even long ones! Just the standard seven- and nine-inch inseam pairs you see in cities and suburbs, on golf courses and beaches. In the hive mind of TikTok, there is only one correct length, and that is five inches.
Like most good memes, these videos are demented, slightly horny, and funny as hell. Menswear nerds have been arguing the merits of different inseam lengths on message boards and Twitter threads for years. (We'll admit a bit of shock at seeing the debate blow up on a mega-popular social network among an audience otherwise uninterested in double-monkstrap shoes or Craig Green chore coats.) Beyond that, the five-inch inseam remains a pretty divisive length for men's shorts. It's probably shorter than the typical adult American man wears, which makes hordes of folks riding so hard for the short-short that much better.
Shorts have only just recently found their moment in the sun. For years, they remained one of the last faux pas among the menswear-obsessed until suddenly...wearing shorts was cool. And all kinds of shorts, too. Swishy high-end shorts, pocket-heavy streetwear shorts, ultra-tailored dress shorts. Labels like Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons, and Jil Sander continue to prove that giant shorts can look pretty damn stylish. Just don't tell the TikTokers I said that.
Instrumental rock and roll of the madcap kind was frequently dispatched by Bill Haley and his Comets during the band's heyday. Four teenagers from Fort Lee, New Jersey, attempted to follow that example, but plans went awry from the get-go. Their name, for one, didn't fly; too many groups named The Royals had come and gone. The instrumental thing went by the wayside as well with \"Planet Rock,\" released in the latter months of 1957; seems everyone of a certain age preferred the other side, as sexy and suggestive a song as you could imagine ('Man, dig that crazy chick!') considering the lyrics were mindlessly simple: 'Who wears short shorts...We wear short shorts!' and little else. Parental types had a point, at least as far as lyrics go, when they complained about the disposability of their teenage offspring's fave sounds. Excruciatingly for said adults, \"Short Shorts\" by The Royal Teens was a major hit.
The band came together in '56 at Bergenfield High School, a few miles up the road from Fort Lee. Tom Austin's uncle, a drummer, often let the youngster practice on his drum set. Bill Dalton played his grandfather's guitar and later took up bass. Bill Crandall played saxophone, at one point impressing King Curtis, who was amazed that such a scrawny kid could blow so impressively. Bob Gaudio played piano and had a propensity for writing songs. They made the acquaintance of The Three Friends when the Brooklyn-based act performed in Jersey; Tony Grochowski, Joe Francovilla (who became known as Joe Villa) and Frank Stropoli had hit big in New York and a few other east coast markets in late '56 with \"Blanche\" on the Lido label, a small operation run by Leo Rogers. Taking a trip across the bridge, the Royal-boys auditioned for Rogers, who gave them an assignment backing one of his groups, The Corvells, on \"We Made a Vow,\" crediting them on the summer '57 single as The Royalteens, a name the guys weren't fond of and didn't figure on using in the future.
Back home on the west side of the Hudson River, Tom and Bob went for a drive one day while enjoying their favorite pastime: ogling girls walking down the street. Spotting a couple of cuties in skimpily-sheared cutoff jeans, they were struck with the idea for \"Short Shorts.\" Girl watching songs were nothing new; The Four Lads had recently scored a major seller with \"Standing on the Corner\" ('...watching all the girls go by!') and The Coasters' latest smash, \"Young Blood,\" had them going gaga over a tuff-looking chick '...standin' on the corner...' Austin and Gaudio structured their song with as few lyrics as possible to leave plenty of room for the sax and guitar solos. Taking the idea to Rogers, the hesitant label owner put them in the studio to lay down the two tracks (Crandall and Dalton's Comets-influenced \"Planet Rock\" being the other). Diana Costello, a high schooler from Queens who went by the name Diana Lee, had done some session work and was brought in with another girl to provide the \"We wear short shorts' response. Rogers hedged his bets and made a deal with Lee Silver to have it released on Silver's Power label.
Somehow the Royal Teens moniker stuck with the band (two words now, no \"the\"); Leo and Lee decided to push the catchy \"Short Shorts\" side and by the end of the year it had begun getting airplay on stations in N.Y., Chicago, Los Angeles and other large markets; he shopped the record around to several major labels and accepted a sizeable offer from ABC-Paramount (Artie Singer of Singular Records had just done the same with Danny and the Juniors' \"At the Hop\" and ABC's crack promotion team made all the right moves to get it to number one). The band, with Diana temporarily along for the ride, appeared on American Bandstand and other dance shows and joined a tour as the opening act to several top stars. The single got as high as number three in March 1958; an R&B cover version by Tiny Bradshaw appeared on King but didn't catch on. A U.K. group, The Four Winds with their Teenage Friends, and another act from Australia, Bill and Ronnie, imitatively made attempts at recreating the song in their respective lands; no one made much effort to change the arrangement! An additional boost came when it was referenced in one of the year's biggest hits, Sheb Wooley's spring novelty monster \"The Purple People Eater,\" its one-horned protagonist admitting his appreciation of an earthly pleasure taken straight from Austin and Gaudio's lyrics: 'I like short shorts!' 59ce067264