The History of Jorts


Jorts: The summer solution when it’s too hot for jeans but you just can’t bear to ditch your denim.

Where did these iconic style statements come from? Who can we thank for this life-altering innovation in men’s apparel?

Come on a journey with us as we uncover the history of jorts, as recorded by our imagination and Google image searches.

 

200 B. D. (Before Denim): A Farming Incident

According to the book of Jeanesis, it all began with a man named Orte. Orte was a Midwest farmer before the denim era when apparel couldn’t keep up with a farmer’s needs. At this time, farmers were wearing long pants made out of thick, itchy burlap. On one particularly hot day, Orte had a stroke of jean-ius. He took off the itchy burlap pants, laid them on the field and chopped them off with his saber-tooth combine. Wala! Cut-off pants! The farming industry rejoiced.

farmers

Early sketch of Midwest farmers circa 200 B.D. (Before Denim)

 

1910: Shorts Go Mainstream

It took a while for Orte’s cut-off pants to catch on (this was pre-Facebook). But finally, in 1910, an inventor by the name of Shane discovered Orte’s cut-off pants and decided to take it upon himself to introduce the category to the mass market. After months of vigorous wear tests, Shane patented and released his product to the public on July 19, 1910, naming the product “shorts” — a combination of his own name, Shane, and Orte, the inspiration behind the creation.

Shorts 1910

Early wear tests of Shane’s shorts

 

1973: Jack of Jorts

Shane’s shorts were a hot commodity for years, but sometime in the late ’60s, the fad fizzled — everyone wanted jeans. Right as the shorts manufacturer was on the brink of bankruptcy, Jack — Shane’s great-grandson — inherited the family business. (Lucky him, right?) All signs were pointing to bankruptcy and Jack was losing hope. Then, on one particularly warm summer day, he had the same stroke of jean-ius that farmer Orte had centuries ago. He invested in denim material and began crafting his company’s product out of the coveted fabric. Society went crazy for them — Jack had single-handedly revived the shorts industry, and he became known as “Jack of Jorts.”

 

Jack of Jorts

Jack of Jorts, a well-respected figure in the jorts community
CC Image courtesy of Brandon Cripps on Flickr

 

1987: TV’s Favorite Hooligan

In 1987, a style icon was born: Bart Simpson. This mischievous little boy captured the hearts of Americans nationwide, and soon people’s closets were filled with his classic red T-shirt and jorts.

 

Bart Simpson in Jorts

Bart Simpson, a fashion icon
Photo via Simpson’s Wiki

 

Late 1990s: The Decline of Jorts

Although “The Simpson’s” was still popular as a show, Bart Simpson’s image as a fashion icon began to fade. Because the grunge trend of the late 1990s required jeans to be covered in rips and tears, the need for jorts became obsolete. Those who were still donning their denim shorts were wearing the oldest pair they owned with as many holes as possible.

 

1980s grunge - ripped denim

Do these even qualify as pants?

 

2002: John Cena Revival

WWE professional wrestler John Cena debuted his signature jorts in November of 2002, showcasing their versatility in the WWE ring and on stage during his short-lived rap career (under the stage name Doctor of Thuganomics). The jorts worked out well for him — Cena holds the record for championships.

John Cena in Jorts

John Cena dominating the ring in his signature jorts
CC image courtesy of Krystal Bogner on Flickr

Today’s Jorts Enthusiasts

An elite group of jorts enthusiasts remain today — keeping the legacies of Orte, Shane and Jack of Jorts alive. You can most commonly see them on the Fourth of July, when Americans wear this piece of apparel that’s rich in heritage with pride to celebrate the U.S. of A. If you’d like to join the jorts community, pick up a pair of these wardrobe staples at Lee.com.

Jorts enthusiasts

Jorts Athletic Club: Golden Chapter
CC image courtesy of Dave Baker on Flickr

 

 

Recent Posts

  • 4 Jean-ius Ways to Gift Clothing

    Thanks to wish lists, it’s easy to get people exactly what they want. But even if you get the must-have-jeans-in-the-must-have-wash-and-the-perfect-size checked off the list, you can still make it special with these jean-ius tips. Keep reading to get inspired by our four favorite ways to gift clothing with personal pizazz for the holidays.

    Read More
  • Making Your Wardrobe Work: Fall-To-Winter

    There’s all sort of challenges that come with winter’s arrival – treacherous drives to work, keeping your kids (or yourself) from going crazy with cabin fever – and looking halfway decent when your bundled up can be one of them. A few great winter pieces, however, can really fill the gaps from your fall wardrobe and make the season much more enjoyable for getting dressed and staying warm.

    Read More
  • Let’s Talk Style (with a Party!)

    Lee is known for innovative and stylish jeans that make you look and feel your very best. Over the years, Lee has gained some really outstanding fans like top bloggers from across the country! Check out a fun recap of the Annual Lee Style Parties hosted by Sally of Already Pretty, Staci of 7 On A Shoestring and Colby of Days of a Domestic Dad.

    Read More
  • 15 Instagram Photos You Need To Take This Season

    Fall is very photogenic. It’s one of the reasons we love it so much! Don’t miss this opportunity to upgrade your Instagram. But don’t stress — Just use these 15 awesome Instagram photos to guide you.

    Read More
  • Blogger Spotlight: Sally McGraw

    Sally McGraw is the brain and writer behind Already Pretty, a style and lifestyle blog, and one of our favorite sources for all things trending, flattering and comfortable. We’ve sat down with her to find out her thoughts on fall trends and working in the world of fashion and blogging.

    Read More
  • Our Heritage: How Lee Outfitted WWI Soldiers

    Did you know that Lee manufactured uniforms for the U.S. military during World War I?

    It’s a fascinating story, one that seems fitting to share in light of Veterans Day. So slip into your vintage Lee jeans, pull up a chair and travel back to 1917 …

    Read More
  • Wear It Now: Styling Your Jeans With Boots

    Any guy’s wardrobe during the cold months of the year often boils down to some solid tried and true essentials. For myself, that includes a light and dark pair of jeans, a few chinos or khakis, and a couple pairs of nice boots. These are some ideas that can get you going in the right direction!

    Read More
  • Transition Your Wardrobe from Fall to Winter: The Do’s and Don’ts

    Winter can be a challenge when it comes to feeling stylish and staying warm. Bundle up with these do’s and don’ts on transitioning your favorite pieces from fall to winter and battling the winter style blues.

    Read More
View more posts