The Ball Street Journal

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Why We Wear Pants

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According to James Lever, pants originated from barbaric cultures during the time of the Roman Empire. Before this time, Scotsmen wore kilts over their pants, as Jannie Keddie from the Quora website stated, “Kilts were originally for women, the men began to wear kilts as well, although at the time they were considered feminine.” 

Peter Turchin of the University of Connecticut points to examples of pants “ranging from Japan, where the traditional dress is the kimono, but where samurais wore baggy trousers, to North America, where Plains Indians donned kilts until Europeans brought horses to the continent. Roman soldiers mounted steeds (and adopted pants) in the first century A.D. after getting trounced repeatedly by Hannibal and his trouser-clad cavalrymen.”

Pants-wearing became an everyday affair in Europe during the eighth century, after the fall of the Roman Empire, “when the continent fell under the rule of warriors who fought from horseback — the knights,” Turchin explained. “So wearing pants became associated with high-status men and gradually spread to other males.”

 Pants were known as “trousers” and they were made to warm the legs and to cover the bottom half of the legs. They became very stylish, too. Many patterns were invented in the clothing industry for pants known as denim, boyfriend jeans and light washed.  

In the 1800’s pants were well known because of horsemen. The fabric enabled riders to grip the sides of the steed while riding a horse. Of course, women were denied not only riding horseback (they had to ride side saddle), but they were also denied the opportunity to wear pants.

Later, men and women began to think that pants were rather fashionable; ladies and gentlemen began to wear casual pants and the trends have continued ever since from the denim blue jeans of the old west to the modish bellbottoms of the 70s to the elegant and tasteful contemporary pants suits worn by women today.

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Why We Wear Pants