On the Hunt for Gurkha Shorts.

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With its dual strap waistband, barrel cut legs, high inseam, and row upon row of pleats, the Gurkha short is certainly not for the faint of heart, but we’re sure the original Gurkha wouldn’t have it any other way. This overloaded short can be traced back to the Gurkha, a legendary Nepalese military regiment that consisted of that nation’s most fearless soldiers. The Gurkha were so revered for their bravery that even after suffering a loss to the British during the Anglo–Nepalese War in the early eighteen-hundreds, the kingdom enlisted them to fight for the English Empire.

Their legendary prowess at combat was not the only thing the Gurkha brought along with them when they joined forces with their former adversaries, for they also contributed, well their name. Overtime these shorts, which like almost all colonial garb featured a tan color and loose cut that could easily combat the often oppressive heat, were given the Gurkha name as they were so popular within the region.


It was decades later that America’s classic outdoor outfitters “discovered” the Gurkha short and brought it to the civilian masses causing somewhat of a craze throughout the seventies and eighties. With its heavy detailing and unique fit, the Gurkha short presents an alternative to the all too common Bermuda short, without plunging too far off the deep end. That is, if you can actually find yourself a pair these days. Thanks to the unfortunate demise of “the original” Banana Republic, which was once the main purveyor of these pleated shorts, your best bet for Gurkha’s is through vintage resellers or military surplus shops. They’re not the easiest item to pin down, but if history has taught us anything about the real Gurkha’s, easy was not in their vocabulary.



Comments on “On the Hunt for Gurkha Shorts.

    Gavin on April 17, 2014 3:26 PM:

    Until recently, Filson made Pullman Shorts that I think were quite similar too Gurkhas.

    Scott on April 17, 2014 4:51 PM:

    just googled gurkha shorts and came up with a few hits

    Randy Katz on April 17, 2014 4:59 PM:

    and available in all of those larger sizes for modern male obesity!

    J Markley on April 17, 2014 5:40 PM:

    The J. Peterman catalog perhaps? Remember what the Banana Republic store used to sell? They had them back in the day I’m sure.

    Jeff on April 18, 2014 1:38 AM:

    Whatpriceglory.com for ghurka shorts that have all the authentic details

    Nick on April 18, 2014 2:30 AM:
    Kevin Phillips on April 18, 2014 9:02 AM:

    Few sported these as well as John Mills in the incredible “Ice Cold in Alex.”

    Jack Rubinger on April 21, 2014 12:47 PM:

    Try Andy & Bax in Portland, Oregon.

    Edward on April 21, 2014 3:28 PM:

    Bills made these and the pants a few years back. I have a pair of both. And although I can no longer wear them, I have a pair of shorts and pants I bought from the orginal Banana Republic store in Mill Valley, Ca in 1980.

    P. Cooper on April 30, 2014 9:23 PM:

    Everyone… You can find Gurkha shorts at Colonel Bubbie’s in Galveston in medium, large and extra large. If you call them, they’ll ship them to you. I used to buy original vintage British military Gurkha shorts from them — but the originals are long gone. They took an original pair and copied them and they’re great. And if you’re ever in Galveston, you need to go to this famous store on the strand. This is where we bought all of our khaki cotton chinos for prep school — little did we appreciate that we were wearing authentic WW2, Korean and Viet Nam pants way back then. Here’s the website: http://www.colbubbie.com

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