What are Daisy Dukes?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

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.

Catherine Bach often wore hot pants as her character of Daisy Duke on The Dukes of Hazard.
Catherine Bach often wore hot pants as her character of Daisy Duke on The Dukes of Hazard.

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.

Daisy Dukes are tight-fitting, short jean shorts made popular by the television show "Dukes of Hazard".
Daisy Dukes are tight-fitting, short jean shorts made popular by the television show "Dukes of Hazard".

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.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular wiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

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Discussion Comments


@anon195047: Well, in the late 70s, even most of the girls who wore short-shorts on the street had them covering their entire rear end. And if you watch Daisy Duke, hers don't show cheek. They almost do, but not quite.

I'd say these are more common among teen girls now, whereas in the late 70s and early 80s, you saw them more on early 20-somethings, minus the butt cheek peeking out. I've seen panties that covered more skin than the current version of Daisy Dukes do. It's kind of sad, really. It's really sad when the trashy hooker look is what's popular, although that does seem to be more on the wane, based on what I've seen lately in the juniors departments, thank goodness!


I have a question: I am in my twenties and I don't know if these kind of shorts were more frequently worn in the late 70s or now. What would you say?


Anon105681- Thank you for sharing your opinion. I’m sure it makes you feel very good to wear your designer shorts, and that’s great. Having self confidence is important no matter what you look like or what your age is. Loving yourself and staying beautiful on the inside is just as important as how you look on the outside.

Owning those shorts can make you feel proud, but it shouldn’t make you feel better than others, because you aren’t. Women are a dime a dozen and men don’t marry just for your looks. Not trying to rain on your parade, but not all of us hotties feel that way. Peace out, good luck.


i love daisy dukes/hot pants and i always will, but then again, i was blessed with shapely legs!

the only kind of women who don't like daisy dukes are old, prudes and out of shape/overweight women. and we all know men love daisy dukes! i actually got a pair designed by catherine bach that are exactly like the ones she wore on the show! short shorts will never go out of style!


I don’t think anyone was voicing a strong opinion either way; it seems people are just making conversation about whether they do or don’t wear the shorts.

As for me, I wear comfortable shorts to survive hot summers. I shop in the juniors department still but avoid the daisy dukes, or ‘hot pants’, because I choose to.


So glad that I don't subscribe to bible belt mentality. Guess what young people will wear what they like unless some old prude gets in the way. it's the reason the Who in england sang the song, 'hope I die before I get old.' Dictators always die, and that is so good.


In the 70's, a lot of women dressed in loose clothing and showed skin. It was still trendy not to wear bras. Clothing has definitely become smaller and smaller revealing more skin. How about the low rise hips that show plumber's cracks when the girls sit down! Lets just say that's not the part of the 'derriere' (as LivHappry put it) most appealing.


I never watched Dukes of Hazzard when I was young. For one, I was not in to all the car chases and such that seemed to be involved in that show. I also remember not being attracted to the type of girl that Daisy Duke was. I preferred watching Charlie's Angels--smart and attractive women who never would have entertained the idea of donning a pair of daisy dukes, unless it was for a disguise on an undercover case.


I agree with the article that these type of shorts should be avoided by pre-teens and young teens. Of course, it is up to the individual parent, but I think this type of dress is exploitive to women. Stars like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson influence young girls to want to wear these types of clothes, if unintentionally. Again, it's up to the parent to protect the child from undue influence.


I remember being glued to the T.V. as a young girl watching episodes of 'Dukes of Hazard'. I was too involved watching the mischief unfold to notice Ms. Daisy Duke’s wardrobe. I never paid much attention to Daisy's shorts; as far as I was concerned, my Barbie dolls shorts had the exact same fit.

When I first heard the '69 Boys' single in 1998 about girls bringing back Daisy Dukes, I knew it was sexual but didn’t know what part of the body they were talking about! My then boyfriend revealed he watched ‘Dukes of Hazard’ all right, but only in hopes of seeing more of Daisy’s derriere.

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