Daisy Dukes should be cut out of women's wardrobes

August 05, 2005|By Tanika White | Tanika White,SUN STAFF

Ladies, please step away from the seamstress shears! Put those scissors down!

This weekend, fashion observers want you all to know: Just because Jessica Simpson looks amazing in her Daisy Dukes short-shorts - in the Dukes of Hazzard movie opening today - that doesn't mean you should run right out and buy a pair, or hack up your favorite pair of hip-huggers trying to make some.

Let's face facts. Simpson, 25, looks delectable in just about anything. Some of the rest of us? Eh. Not so much.

"Very few people can sport this look," says Kelli Delaney, editor-in-chief of Celebrity Living magazine. "Unless you have a body as perfect as Jessica's go for Bermuda shorts."

And not many women are as blessed as Simpson, the blond bombshell singer and star of the hit MTV reality show, Newlyweds.

"Even some of the industry's most beautiful celebrities shouldn't be wearing them," says Katrina Szish, style editor of Us Weekly magazine. "You have to remember, Jessica even trained every day, with a trainer, and was on a strict diet, really just to look good in those shorts."

And, toned as she is, Simpson still hasn't really been seen out and about promoting her movie in the dangerously sexy shorts.

"Off camera, she is sticking to great summer basics, like colorful, fun summer dresses, bohemian-style skirts and great vintage tees," Delaney says.

That's because Daisy Dukes - the nickname for the cut-off denim shorts made popular by actress Catherine Bach during the 1980s run of the original Dukes of Hazzard television series - are appropriate at very, very, very few places.

"It's not necessarily the best public choice," Szish says.

The original Daisy Duke, a seductive hillbilly with a heart from Hazzard County, Ga., wore her shockingly short pants while serving drinks at the Boar's Nest bar or while washing her car.

According to Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, her sexy shorts created a nationwide craze.

"Women clamored for the risque shorts," the encyclopedia says, "and even after twenty years they are still associated with, and referred to by the name of, the character of Daisy Duke."

Well into the early 1990s, the fad was still going strong - even inspiring a 1992 rap song, "Dazzey Duks," which celebrated the hot pants for all the "nice and sweet" female flesh they exposed.

The trend eventually cooled, but fashion experts say Simpson's revival of the shorts for this summer remake will undoubtedly increase the sales of similar short-shorts.

"We witnessed the frenzy over her coveted Louis Vuitton Murakami handbag in the fall of 2003, and nowadays it seems like everything the singer/actress wears becomes front-page news, especially her clothes," says Sonja Jacob, creator of Style Chronicles, a shopping and style Web site. Simpson was recently photographed wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "More, More, More," Jacob says, and within a few days, retailers had sold out of the shirt.

But "when it comes to imitating Jessica's style, we need to draw the line somewhere," Jacob says. "And we must do so at wearing Daisy Dukes anywhere outside of the comfort of our own homes."

Especially professional women, says image consultant Sandy Dumont, who calls herself the Image Architect.

"In Virginia Beach, a resort city, it would be perfectly fine to wear them in the grocery store," Dumont says. "If you were in a sophisticated area of Baltimore or Washington, D.C., you'd look like someone who took the wrong turn on the Beltway."

Women past 30 also should think twice before imitating Simpson's look - no matter where they are or how fit.

"There are certain things that would work for the twentysomething girl that won't work for the fortysomething woman. And Daisy Dukes are one of them," says Szish, who refers to this very type of age-appropriate dressing in a new book, Secrets of Celebrity Style. "It's just one of those things that looks like you're trying too hard to look young."

For their part, some men think Daisy Dukes are great for Jessica Simpson and OK for only a small percentage of mere mortal women. Emphasis on small.

"We ... celebrate all women of all shapes and sizes," says Dan Bova, executive editor of Stuff magazine, which is famous for its photos of scantily clad women. "But you should be cautioned: If the backs of your legs look like the relief map of the Andes mountains, you might want to put the scissors down."

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