Daisy Dukes are form-fitting denim short shorts first popularized by actress Catherine Bach in the late 1970s. Bach played the role of Daisy Duke, the beautiful cousin of lead characters Bo and Luke Duke in the television series Dukes of Hazzard. Daisy routinely appeared in a pair of cut-off denim jeans fashioned into shorts, along with other tailored hot pants and short skirts. These skimpy costumes served primarily to show off Bach's well-toned legs, which were rumored to be insured for at least one million US Dollars.
The use of short shorts, cut-off denim jeans and form-fitting skirts to project a provocative blend of farmer's daughter naivete and sexuality had been popular for decades before the first appearance of Daisy, but television series such as Dukes of Hazzard brought this style into the mainstream. Young women began to create their own shorts by strategically cutting their jeans along the seat and just below the crotch. These jean shorts allowed young girls to display their legs and emphasize their natural curves without revealing too much of their hips and buttocks. The originals, as modeled by Catherine Bach and others, still provided some cover for the wearer's more intimate areas.
The Daisy Dukes fashion phenomenon has continued long after the last episode of the Dukes of Hazzard television series aired. Wearing skin-tight shorts with provocative high rise cuts remained a popular trend among younger women with the physical attributes necessary to pull off such a revealing and sexually charged look. Many of the dancers and extras in urban music videos of the late 1990s and early 2000s wore these shorts and skirts to accentuate their sexual appeal. Unlike bikini bottoms or lingerie, Daisy Dukes could be worn on the street or at a dance club without violating most dress codes.
Some critics of Daisy Dukes suggest that the look is far too sexualized for preteens and young teenagers to adopt. They are revealing by design, so they can be readily confused with the short shorts and other provocative clothing associated with prostitution. Traditional versions are generally cut to provide coverage of the wearer's hips and buttocks, but some styles can reveal the wearer's lower "cheek" area. Participants in organized Daisy Duke contests may also elect to make even more revealing modifications to their original shorts. Parents of impressionable teens and preteens may want to discuss their concerns before allowing these short shorts to be worn in public.
The Daisy Dukes phenomenon got a second boost in popularity when singer and actress actress Jessica Simpson portrayed the character in a motion picture adaptation of the television series. Simpson spent several months in the gym doing intensive exercises in order to achieve the well-toned legs and hips required for the role. Some organizations now hold special "Daisy Dukes" car wash fundraisers, which feature young female members performing their work while wearing traditional denim cut-offs or short shorts.