Dean Owen

4 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Falling Short in Bermuda

Falling Short in Bermuda

It’s not often that one gets an all expenses paid trip to Bermuda. In actual fact my proposition was that, since our Global offsite was going to be in New York this year, why don’t I take the opportunity to visit that juicy hedge fund client of ours in Bermuda? They bought it hook, line and sinker.

I had a habit of bringing my wife on business trips. I’d buy her an economy seat and we would switch seats on the plane. Sometimes we’d offer the business class seat to the lucky scum class guy with the seat next to hers just so we could be together.

In New York she met up with old friends and hunted down that elusive Acquamarina Saffiano bag that was trending the streets of Tokyo. I was off to New Jersey for some pizza making team-building exercises. A few days later we found ourselves on the plane to Bermuda on some crappy American airline curiously named American Airlines. They get a bit anal about switching seats, so this time darling, you are going to have to scum it. It’s only two and a half hours!

Ten hours later I peak at the dark island below. We’d spent six hours and a bit on the tarmac at LaGuardia. Poor babe.


A while later we found ourselves rolling up to some massive flamingo pink hotel. By and large, it looked promising, but it was the gloriously black, and towering bellboy that caught our attention with a spontaneous deep bass rendition of Lee Marvin’s “I was born under a Wanderin’ Star”. What a delightful place, we pondered, heading to the check-in counter.

Waking up to spectacular views of the beach, we headed off to explore the island. I had a singular mission - to buy a pair of Bermuda shorts and a blazer for my business meetings. Even if the hedge fund guys turned up in charcoal suits, I was sure they’d appreciate the effort to dress local.

Turns out there is not much to see in Bermuda. Pretty pastel houses dotting the waters edge, lots of boats, and that’s about it! So after bagging a pair of knee length pink Bermuda’s and a white blazer, we took to the stunning beach.

becd0a45.jpg

That night I left M to her own, non-sexual, devices and took a taxi to meet the clients. It was crunchtime. Would they laugh at my fresh attire?

As it goes, like most traders these days, they were decked out in jeans and polo shirts - Clean-cut, all-American West Coast guys living the dream. They appreciated the pathetic effort on my part to blend in, but took delight in pointing out I had it all wrong.

If I wanted to dress like a Bermudan businessman or politician, I’d needed a dark (not white) blazer. The shorts were fine, be they effeminately pink, but loafers and sockless feet were a no no.

The formal attire of Bermuda shorts, dress shirt, tie and blazer with knee length socks, dates back to the early 20th Century. According to local businesswoman, Rebecca Hanson, founder of TABS, purveyor of authentic Bermuda shorts, British Royal Navy officers stationed on the island paradise would often frequent a little island tearoom owned by one Nathanial Coxon. According to Hanson, “Business boomed for Coxon but his busy tearoom quickly turned into a sauna with all the steaming pots of tea

His employees complained about the heat as their uniforms consisted of a smart navy blue blazer and khaki pants.

Coxon was a creative businessman and did not want to spend money on a new wardrobe for his employees, so he took all the khaki pants from his staff and cut them just above the knee to create the very first pair of Bermuda shorts.

Rear Admiral Mason Berridge took his tea in Coxon’s and thought their new uniform was “a bit of old Oxford and a bit of the Khyber Pass.”

Rear Admiral Berridge decided to adopt the style for his fellow officers and coined the attire ‘Bermuda Shorts.’

He later went on to credit Coxon for his creative solution and Coxon was awarded an OBE.” (Source: New Bermuda shorts line sparks trip down memory lane)

It wasn’t long before the shorts were being made in London to specified length and styles. It was during World War II that the trend spread to the business community during a period of dire shortages of fabrics. The General Managers of The Bermuda Bank Ltd and The Bank of N.T. Butterfield were quite concerned that their male employees may not have appropriate attire to wear. They appointed a tailor to make shorts similar to what the British Navy were using. Shorts were to be no higher than six inches above the knee, but usually three, and knee length socks were to be worn at all times with formal shoes (and not loafers!).

After a pleasant dinner with the hedge fund chaps, they told me to meet them at the Yacht club the following day. “Bring the wife!” they pleaded.

Needless to say, the following morning I headed out to Southampton’s main shopping arcade to rectify my mistake. This little side trip was eating up dough like anything, what with the Prada bag and my shopping spree. But these guys were big fish. I shouldn’t worry too much.

When in Rome, as they say…


e099dcaa.jpg                         (Picture Credit: TABS)


Title picture credit: Dean Owen


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Comments
Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #29

#33
When you've lived all your life in big cities like London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai, Bermuda is definitely quaint....

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #28

#30
Yes I noticed Bermuda came up quite a lot on your website. i can't imagine it has changed that much in 50 years, it is still quaint.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #27

#30
funny you say that, I just wrote an article on Bermuda.... https://www.bebee.com/producer/@dean-owen/falling-short-in-bermuda

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #26

#28
Yes it's a look that is very alluring to sun drenched faces against a pretty backdrop of pastel. Sans socks is transferable to most countries, but with the socks one would assume you were from Brighton, England.

don kerr

don kerr

4 years ago #25

Dean Owen too funny and close to the bone. In 1987 I hosted a conference in Bermuda at the Royal Southampton. I beacme enamoured of the shorts, bow tie and blazer look topped off (bottomed off?) with navy knee socks. Got away with it in Hamilton but importing the look to Toronto was met with derision.

Paul Walters

Paul Walters

4 years ago #24

Dean Owen When in Rome indeed!!!

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #23

#23
that makes me feel better knowing this Ken!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #22

#18
Let me think, Dean-san. An army of warriors, naked from the waist down. Is that what they mean by the Bermuda triangle? 🤔

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #21

#19
Habitually there's nothing 'worn' under the kilt, Lisa. It's all in perfect working order! 😂

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #20

#21
I'm sure they do! They were lucky, they traveled all over while living in England for 3 yrs. They spent their first year in a small flat just outside of London (forget the name of the town). My daughter flew there one Christmas and they all took the train to Paris for NY's Eve. On the way back they were the last train and come to find out there was a bomb threat to the tunnel, my son wouldn't tell his sister but she knew something was up. Katz's, will have to keep that in mind. I really want to visit NYC one day soon!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #19

#20
Ah Surrey, the garden of England. I went to school in Leatherhead. I'm sure they know it. You do need to go to NYC if not for the Pastrami on Rye (at Katz's)

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #18

#16
I think I'd like to join you men the next time you get together in your pink bermuda shorts, Ken in a dressing gown and well.. we can certainly ask a man in a kilt to join us too right? By the way Dean, my son and his wife lived in Surrey England for 2 years, they loved it there. Can you believe I've never been to NYC?

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #17

#14
LOLOL!! Get that pic and lets make it go viral. Wait a sec... you mean to tell me Ken Boddie my grandfather didn't wear undies under his kilt?

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #16

#14
You have a point there Ken-san. The Scots, and the Romans in their tunics are proof of concept. I bet a naked army would be invincible!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #15

#13
There you go! Validation! Pink shorts are cool! Thanks Fatima Williams. I'm sure I have pics somewhere on my hard drive. That last pic is an ad I'm afraid. Didn't want to look too touristy with the hedge fund guys, so left the camera behind.....

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #14

#12
Don't listen to Ken, Lisa Gallagher, after all he has been known to blog in a dressing gown straight from Downton Abbey! And truly, not much to do in Bermuda except rent a moped or a sailboat or wait for a hurricane.... But I understand the appeal as a playground for New Yorkers....

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #13

#11
I am sure you looked like a Saint in your uniform @CityVP Manjit. I was always one of those non-conformist types, shirt hanging out, collar up, tie loose. You'd look pretty dapper in Bermuda formals!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #12

#3
The Scots, of course, were reknowned for their speed in battle, due to the pleats on the kilt which allow this garment to open outwards and upwards. As nothing is worn under the kilt, surely the sight of a charging Scot, kilt around his neck and nature flappping in the breeze, would stop the Broadway traffic, Dean-san? Got a spare kilt you can borrow if you want to test the theory.😂

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

4 years ago #11

Ha ha Pink shorts I totally love a guy who wears pink shorts of-course he has to be single LOL ( Winks). I bet you looked dashing in them. Bermuda formal attire looks pretty cool to me I like the idea of working in shorts especially when you live in a tropical country. Dean Owen You should have shared the epic pic of you in them, I'm sure you have one. Give us a Christmas treat. :P Even though there was not much to see in this Island, I liked every minute of your journey and I think travels like this are unforgotten. I knew you were an amazing DAD but now I know your a super cool Husband too. Give my regards and Christmas wishes to M :) BTW is this a real picture of the guys in the shorts or Is it an advert ?

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #10

#1
I wish I had the laughter with tears emoji right now because your comment just cracked me up Ken Boddie in pink shorts too. Yep Dean, whatever floats your boat. No, really, I want to see a photo of you in them! All kidding aside, you're either a very trendy dresser or you do need someone to pick out your clothes for you! And, I read crap along with anal... which really smelled of something. Ok maybe the pink shorts? Sorry, couldn't resist. Sounds like an interesting trip. Is the entire Island like this? I do like the photo of the homes, pretty. Thanks for the history on Bermuda shorts. I remember when those were very 'in.' Enjoyed this!

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #9

This buzz brings back memories of being tailor fitted with our school uniforms. The Brits have weird ways with attire, either it is all preppy boy or it is Malcolm McLareneque rebellion. I can't remember if there was a middle ground where it did not matter what it is one wears, but on any given day you will can be guaranteed that I was not born with a single modicum of dress sense. Any dress sense I acquired is usually a marching order from the misses that brings me back to the regimented dress code - and the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" does not even begin to explain how all of this came into being including the origins of the Bermuda short.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #8

#7
Those Exco offsites were a blast. Not really in my culture to participate in team building exercises, but pizza-making, and obstacle courses etc. It did bring us together. And yes, the Bermudan formal attire is pretty unique. I recall all the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The Bermudan team certainly stand out every time.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #7

#6
I wouldn't call them exquisite. But thanks for the compliment.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #6

#5
Oh those bright hues are all the rage on the island now. I bet your compatriots don't wear the knee length socks with Bermudas. In certain parts of the UK, you'd probably get beating up for that. Thanks for stopping by my friend.

Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

4 years ago #5

Dean Owen So THAT is how Bermuda shorts started. Quite popular still in my part of the world - except the pink - I will leave that to our debonair Dean Owen!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #4

#2
Too true. I'm good and picking her clothes, but hopeless at dressing myself! Still, the next day at the yacht club, the guys were wearing Bermies too, just in manly colours!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

4 years ago #3

#1
Coming from a man who wears skirts! Actually I have every confidence you'd look pretty in pink Ken-san. And from my last visit to Broadway, I'm not sure any outfit would stop traffic there.

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #2

the gentleman traveller going native in Bermuda was a highly entertaining read I must say :-) I cannot believe your wife let you go to a meeting in shorts Dean Owen :-)

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #1

No offence, Dean-san, but I doubt I'll be seeking your wardrobe tips when I'm next in Rome. 'Be cool' t-shirt, ripped Levi's and deck shoes or chandals (without socks) wont get me into the Ritz but at least I won't be stopping traffic on Broadway with those luminous pink shorts. 😂

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