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There's a shorts style for every occasion, and one to suit most people. Short and tight, long and full, anything in-between _ take your choice.


Shorts stories in fashion vary in length and have intriguing endings.

While some people like their shorts hot, others prefer them full or straight forward. Full-blown details interest certain fans.Shorts have been around since the turn of the century when little boys wore them but by the name ``knee-pants.' American women didn't start wearing them until they became flapperish and daring in the 1920s.

For Triad women, the at-the-knee city short rates No. 1.

The style for men is not such a clean-cut choice. But retailers say men prefer their shorts in fashion colors like red, eggplant, orange, blue and green.

Women have taken so readily to the city short that some offices are adopting the style as a uniform of sorts.

Nurses at Greensboro Ophthalmology Associates went to a T-shirts-and-shorts style about a year ago as an alternative to white dresses, says Rachel Hudson. They wear skorts (so named because they combine skirt and short) in a variety of colors, taking their cues from their T-shirts.

One T-shirt style comes in white, dark green or dark peach, and has the Greensboro Ophthalmology logo and an eye chart on it. Another style in bold colors, has the phrase ``Eye Care' on it.

``We also have white skorts,' says Hudson, who is a nurse.

The idea spread from the four nurses to office personnel. Eighteen women now slip into something more comfortable for work. They confer to get a daily professional, uniform look.

``City shorts are the answer to the career-oriented woman who's not 20 years old,' Jackie Creed of Oh Expressions says. ``Once we show them the hose for shorts, they'll wear them.'

``City shorts have replaced sun dresses for us,' Libby Hundley of Gin-Ettes says. Women wear them for eating out and traveling as well as career, she says.

Hundley says most of her customers accessorize city shorts with pearl-colored hosiery and metallic flats.

For work, the blazer is the serious topping but women also pair shorts with novelty sweaters and even the '40s-inspired peplumed jackets. Most of them like the straight leg in linen or a linen blend, Hundley says.

``The latest are chalk-white linen shorts and a white and chocolate-brown big check blazer and white stockings.'

Mary Beth Geraci of Selections Too says shorts are the bulk of her business. ``Women love the city short. It's an option to the skirt. Women who would not consider wearing a skirt above the knee feel confident wearing shorts that length.'

``I bought a ton for fall,' Geraci says. ``City shorts have become a staple in the wardrobe. Women want to be more comfortable. That's why knits have been so good.'

Large polka dot city-short suits and shell blouses are popular with her customers, Kathy Wray of Lee Ann's says. Women definitely are wearing city shorts to work, she says. ``The only ones not are those at Jeff-Pilot. They have their own policy. But all the other offices are going for them. Even bankers.'

Women in real estate really like city shorts, Jackie Creed says. ``They're so active in their jobs they try to avoid straight skirts.'

Lucie Harris of Ups and Downs says women of all ages are buying denim short shorts, either roll-up cuffs or cropped, and in bright solid colors, stripes and blues.

Short shorts in denim and other woven cottons also are big sellers at Contempo Casuals, Rhonda Bridges says. Lace leggings edge the hemline of some, she says.

Moms-to-be are getting cool in cropped one-pieced shorts styles, with names such as rompers or shortalls, and in shorts sets, retailers say.

``The hottest men's shorts fabric is twill,' JCPenney men's merchandise manager, Mark Barber, says.

``The younger boys like Dockers pleated twill shorts worn quite a bit above the knee. A lot of kids like the baggier styles. They'll get a size or two bigger to get the look.'

Duck Head shorts, canvas drawstrings and elastic-waist pull-ons are selling well, too, he says.

``I've sold a carload of Bermudas this year,' Bob Blumenthal of Blumenthal's Men's, Ladies' and Children's Wear says. ``Many men are buying colors.'

Kent Tager of the Hub Ltd. says pleated walk shorts in solid colors such as coral, royal blue and teal are the only style the store stocks.

High Point's Arnold Craven, whose fashion store bears his name, says he's selling a little of everything in men's shorts: madras, in florals as well as plaids; sail cloth; seersucker; twill, particularly olive, and khaki.

The walk short is the most popular style, he says. The young are wearing it at the knee and the older men a little shorter.

Many men now think of shorts as their pants of choice and have a growing wardrobe of dress shorts, casual shorts and athletic shorts, says Jack Herschlag, executive director of the National Association of men's Sportswear Buyers.

``At summer get-togethers, it's no longer unusual to see a man wearing shorts with a top as dressy as a double-breasted blazer.'

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