It was something about the little look of overlapping on the sides, with the inverted v shape on the leg, and the contrast trim. I thought they were so cool! And it turns out that a lot of people I've spoken to remember these as very big in the 80's, and most owned a pair.
The tricky thing is that every pattern I've found for these so far has actually been from the late 70's.
Which brings me to an interesting point. When it comes to dating fashion, and consequently patterns, there is a lot of overlap between decades. Trends in fashion weren't limited by what year it was, and these shorts are a good example. Almost everyone I've spoken to remembers these being iconic in the 80's, even though the trend started in the late 70's. So if I made these up, would they count for the 1980's, or the 1970's?