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Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Worst Costume Mistake in "Dirty Dancing"

The Diply website has a webpage titled 21 Worst Costume Mistakes in Film History, in which the 14th worst mistake is this:
Throughout the film, Baby can be seen sporting a cute pair of denim shorts that were made popular throughout the 1980s. Too bad the film was set in the '60s!
This judgment is illustrated with this photograph of Baby Houseman:
Baby Houseman wearing denim shorts
in the movie "Dirty Dancing"
The movie takes place in 1963, the year when I was a 11-year-old boy. In that year, I did not pay attention to teenage girls' fashions -- or even to teenage girls at all. However, I am sure that I never saw any teenage girls wearing denim shorts as casual clothing in Seward, Nebraska, where I lived.

Women's denim jeans were called dungarees and were rather loose around the legs.
Dungarees in a 1952 Sears catalog
-- and they were worn only for physical, dirty work.
Women wearing dungarees for farm work
Women wearing dungarees in a factory canteen in the mid-1960s

There was some sexualization of quasi-denim shorts in pinup art, but this was just male fantasy.
The painting "Farmerette" by Billy DeVorss (year unknown)
The painting "Girl on the Farm"
You can see in the above two paintings that the shorts are not denim, but rather a softer material. In real life, if farm girls wanted to wear shorts while not working, they preferred something like this:
A painting by Bill Medcalf, showing a farm girl
wearing non-denim shorts.
To sum up this far, teenage girls in the early 1960s did not denim shorts as attractive casual wear.


Aside from the denim mistake, female shorts were not cut in that fashion in the early 1960s. Female shorts extended down to the upper thigh and were tight around the thighs.

A website called Rusty Zipper shows this comparison of women's shorts by decade -- 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Here is the cut from the 1960s, which extends down the thighs.

Although Dirty Dancing was made in the late 1980s, Baby Houseman's shorts were cut rather like female shorts in the 1970s -- cut to the thigh top.

To the movie viewers in 1987, these short fashions looked rather old -- but they were only one-decade-old, not two-decades-old.

Here are some female shorts patterns from the year 1963, where you can see the down-the-thigh cut that was fashionable in that year.

The last of the above images comes from an interesting blogpage titled Prose and Illustrations from 1963's "Sewing Pants for Women" on a website titled Papergreat. The blogpage reviews a 1963 book titled Sewing Pants for Women, the cover of which shows the mid-thigh cut for female shorts in that year.

The beach movie in the movie theaters in 1963 was Beach Party. The movie is on YouTube, and I looked through it, but I didn't notice any female shorts. The beach movie in the theaters in 1964, was Bikini Beach, which also is on YouTube. If you watch the interval from 34:30 to 41:30, you will glimpse many female shorts in a popular movie that was filmed in 1963.

1 comment:

  1. Really?
    All you've got to do is google short shorts...start with 1950s. They were a fashion item then so it is not too far flung to think that teenage girls weren't rolling up the legs on their short creating short shorts in the 1960s era in this movie.