Trousers (or "pants" in North American English) are an item of clothing worn on the lower part of the body and covering both legs separately (rather than together as in skirts and dresses). Trousers are worn at the hips or waist, and may be held up by their own fastenings, a belt, or suspenders. Leggings are form-fitting trousers of a clingy material, usually a knit. Trousers, together with a shirt, are the standard clothing for men in many parts of the world.
- Length: Trousers can cover the body from the waist all the way down to the top of the foot, or stop almost anywhere from the upper thigh to the ankle. Short trousers, or just shorts, stop anywhere from the upper thigh to the knee. Capris are women's pants that end mid-calf or just below the calf. Children who have grown such that the trouser legs are not long enough are pejoratively said to be wearing "floods" (a reference to hiked pants to keep them dry in flood times).
- Some trousers have detachable legs, usually with zippers
- Pockets: There may be front pockets (usually inset) and back pockets (usually patch).
- Turn-ups or cuffs (the bottom of the trouser leg folded up) may or may not be present
- Pleats: vertical folds in the front for a looser fit
- Waist band: may be elasticized
- Fly: This allows easier dressing and for men urination without undressing. The fly may further be distinguished by the closure mechanism: zipper or buttons. There may not be a fly. Trousers wide enough to put on and taking them off without having a fly or opening at the side, are either elastic or kept in place with a belt or suspenders.
- Leg shape: The trouser legs may be straight, or tapered to be snug around the ankles. The bottom may be flared, in which case the trousers can be called "bell-bottoms".
- Beltloops: These may or may not be present to support a belt which may be used to adjust the tightness in the waist, and for decoration. Men can use suspenders (called braces in British English) to support trousers that are loose in the waist.
Trousers were introduced into European society at several points in history, but gained their current predominance only in the 16th century. Sailors may have been the purveyor of trousers around the world. In the 17th and 18th centuries, sailors wore a baggy trouser known as a galligaskin. Sailors were also the first to wear jeans. Jeans are trousers made of denim. They became more popular in the late 19th century in the American west because of the ruggedness and durability.
It is customary in the western world for men to wear trousers and not skirts or dresses. However, there are exceptions such as the Scottish kilt and the Greek tsolias , which are worn on ceremonial occasions, as well as clothing such as the cassocks, etc. of religious functionaries.
Based on their interpretation of Deuteronomy 22:5 in the Bible, a small minority of Christians believe that women should not wear trousers, but only skirts and dresses.. Many women see trousers and shorts as being more practical and comfortable than skirts or dresses for most activities. As a fashion item, long trousers for women were first introduced by André Courrèges.
Among certain groups, saggy, baggy pants exposing underwear are in fashion, e.g. among skaters, for whom it also provides more freedom of movement.
Cut-offs are homemade shorts made by cutting the legs off trousers usually after holes have been worn in fabric around the knees. This extends the useful life of the trousers. The remaining leg fabric may or may not be hemmed after being cut.
In May 2004 in Louisiana, Congressman Dick Shepard proposed a bill that would make it a crime to appear in public wearing pants below the waist and thereby exposing one's skin or "intimate clothing". (, PDF). The Louisiana bill was retracted after negative public reaction.
In February 2005, Virginia legislators tried to pass a similar law that would have made punishable by a $50 fine: "any person who, while in a public place, intentionally wears and displays his below-waist undergarments, intended to cover a person's intimate parts, in a lewd or indecent manner".
Not clear is whether, with the same coverage by the pants, exposing underwear was considered worse than exposing bare skin, or that the latter was already covered by another law.
It passed in the Virginia house of delegates . However, various criticisms to it arose. For example, newspaper columnists and radio talk show hosts consistently said that since most people that would be penalized under the law would be young African-American men, the law would thus be a form of discrimination against them. Virginia's state senators voted against passing the law. , .
Last updated: 05-07-2005 12:47:00
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04