Around the turn of the 16th century it became conventional to separate hose into two pieces, one from the waist to the crotch which fastened around the top of the legs, called trunk hose, and the other running beneath it to the foot. Trousers enter recorded history in the 6th century BC, on the rock carvings and artworks of Persepolis ,  and with the appearance of horse-riding Eurasian nomads in Greek ethnography. In Men's Clothing, one finds "dress trousers".
Added AmE tag because to me "pants" definitely does not mean the same as "trousers"! More important to me than the reference of each of these word is the users. In decades of life as a native English speaker, living in multiple countries that speak English, I don't think I've ever heard anyone outside of those three categories use those two words.
My mom talks about "slacks" and "trousers". I just call everything "pants" and I'm done with it. It's all pants all the way. In my experience in American English, "trousers" is seldom used unless it is an affectation of some kind.
Tim In British English, "pants" is short for "underpants. An excert from here: Daniel 3 7. Isn't it neat how usage varies? Personally, I would call suit pants slacks if worn without the jacket I've never heard suit pants called slacks.
What part of the US do you live in? Brandon I generally wouldn't say slacks as the term is more of an occasional term used by my elders But if I did I would only mean suit pants in the sense of the kind of pants that may be paired with a suit jacket.
For your information, I was raised in a suburb of Chicago. As I understand "suit", the jacket and pants always come together. If you pair the jacket with pants of a non-identical material, then it's not a suit again, as I've always heard the term used, and had it explained to me when I've asked for fashion advice.
FumbleFingers k 30 Google does something curious if you search for "men's slacks". In the UK, pants just means what Americans call underpants. I'm surprised by your mention of "slacks". I haven't heard that word used in the UK, at all.
It seems to be an American English word. I saw two peaks in AmE and no hits at all in BrE. Mitch It counts pants as hits for slacks. I found that curious. I didn't intend to give the impression that "slacks" is "US-only" terminology.
I meant that it seems to be an American English word, at least in origin and most of its use. That's because, in all my decades, I can't think of even one example of hearing "slacks" used in the UK. See ngram below which is probably book references only slacks - The next fairly broad term, covering all but work clothes or jeans.
Men's slacks are where you find men's dress pants in a department store. Men's Furnishings is where you find "pants" in Nordstrom, a popular American department store. In Men's Clothing, one finds "dress trousers". So not all stores are the same. In Macy's, one of the largest department stores in the US, one subcategory in Men's is pants. There is also a Suit Separates subcategory where, a quick review, finds the bottoms referred to as pants across several brands.
Brooks Brothers, a more classic men's store, lists casual pants and dress trousers as categories. That AE definition for slacks is outrageous. Do a google image search for slacks. Do those look informal? You might wear jeans to work, in which case those images would look formal. But in a suit-and-tie office, slacks would be decidedly informal. I think even the idea that a suit is formal is a recent notion.
AFAIK "formal wear" once meant a tuxedo. If you look at depression-era pictures you can often find impoverished men in a three-piece suit, dingy and worn out though it may be.
DanielCook Wear what you like. Technically you are not wearing a suit when you do that, though, as a suit is a jacket and trousers cut from the same cloth. When your jacket and slacks don't match, they may be stylish, but you're not wearing a suit.
If ladies were present, only a full dress suit "white tie" would be formal enough. Nowadays white tie is a rarity even among the ruling classes, and black tie a tuxedo is as formal as you're likely to see. Robert Jeantet 21 1. Tristan 2, 10 7. I have never heard of slacks, but guessing they would be loose clothing.
Trousers are smart and formal, you would not call the lower half of your addias track suit "jogging trousers" If its raining I put on waterproof pants. I do not use the term slacks. I now live in the South of England; it seems the southern English are pretty much on their own on this subject. The rest of the world seems to say it in the American sense. I think it maybe a historic class issue.
This definition seems to exist only in American English. An outer garment covering the body from the waist to the ankles, with a separate part for each leg. So it's similar to the US definition.
Dominic Cronin 1, 6 Just love down-voters who don't comment. Sorry, I have downvoted because I think your answer is completely misleading. In the UK 'slacks is an old-fashioned word for trousers worn by both sexes see Kevdog answer.
No modern woman would refer to her trousers as slacks. During the French Revolution of and following, male citizens of France adopted a working-class costume including ankle-length trousers, or pantaloons named from a Commedia dell'Arte character named Pantalone  in place of the aristocratic knee-breeches culottes.
The new garment of the revolutionaries differed from that of the ancien regime upper classes in three ways:.
Pantaloons became fashionable in early 19th-century England and the Regency era. The style was introduced by Beau Brummell    and by mid-century had supplanted breeches as fashionable street-wear.
Breeches proper survived into the 20th century as court dress , and also in baggy mid- calf or three-quarter length versions known as plus-fours or knickers worn for active sports and by young schoolboys. Types of breeches are still worn today by baseball and American football players, and by equestrians. Sailors may [ original research?
In the 17th and 18th centuries, sailors wore baggy trousers known as galligaskins. Sailors also pioneered the wearing of jeans - trousers made of denim. Starting around the midth century, Wigan pit-brow girls scandalised Victorian society by wearing trousers for their work at the local coal mines. They wore skirts over their trousers and rolled them up to their waists to keep them out of the way. Although pit-brow lasses worked above ground at the pit-head, their task of sorting and shovelling coal involved hard manual labour, so wearing the usual long skirts of the time would have greatly hindered their movements.
The Korean word for trousers, baji originally pajibaji first appears in recorded history around the turn of the 15th century, but pants may have been in use by Korean society for some time.
From at least this time pants were worn by both sexes in Korea. Men wore trousers either as outer garments or beneath skirts, while it was unusual for adult women to wear their pants termed sokgot without a covering skirt. As in Europe, a wide variety of styles came to define regions, time periods and age and gender groups, from the unlined gouei to the padded sombaji. In Western society, it was Eastern culture that inspired French designer Paul Poiret — to be one of the first to design pants for women.
In , Poiret created loose-fitting, wide-leg trousers for women called harem pants, which were based on the costumes of the popular opera Sheherazade. In the early 20th century women air pilots and other working women often wore trousers. Frequent photographs from the s of actresses Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn in trousers helped make trousers acceptable for women.
During World War II , women working in factories and doing other forms of "men's work" on war service wore trousers when the work demanded it. In the post-war era, trousers became acceptable casual wear for gardening, the beach, and other leisurely pursuits. Further, in Britain during World War II, because of the rationing of clothing, many women took to wearing their husbands' civilian clothes, including their trousers, to work while their husbands were away from home serving in the armed forces.
This was partly because they were seen as practical workwear and partly to allow women to keep their clothing allowance for other uses. As this practice of wearing trousers became more widespread and as the men's clothing wore out, replacements were needed. By the summer of , it was reported that sales of women's trousers were five times more than they had been in the previous year. In , Luisa Capetillo challenged mainstream society by becoming the first woman in Puerto Rico to wear trousers in public.
Capetillo was sent to jail for what was then considered to be a crime, but, the judge later dropped the charges against her.
In the s, André Courrèges introduced long trousers for women as a fashion item, leading to the era of the pantsuit and designer jeans and the gradual erosion of social prohibitions against girls and women wearing trousers in schools, the workplace and in fine restaurants. Pat Nixon was the first American First Lady to wear trousers in public.
In , California state senator Rebecca Morgan became the first woman to wear trousers in a US state senate. Hillary Clinton was the first woman to wear trousers in an official American First Lady portrait. In Rome in , a year-old driving instructor was accused of rape. When he picked up an year-old girl for her first driving lesson, he allegedly raped her for an hour, then told her that if she was to tell anyone he would kill her.
Later that night she told her parents and her parents agreed to help her press charges. While the alleged rapist was convicted and sentenced, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction in because the victim wore tight jeans. It was argued that she must have necessarily have had to help her attacker remove her jeans, thus making the act consensual "because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them An Alibi for Rape.
As of at least 20 U. Wearing jeans on this day has become an international symbol of protest. As of the Italian Supreme Court has overturned their findings, and there is no longer a "denim" defense to the charge of rape. Women were not allowed to wear trousers on the US Senate floor until In Malawi women were not legally allowed to wear trousers under President Kamuzu Banda 's rule until Since the International Skating Union has allowed women to wear trousers instead of skirts in competition.
In the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began to allow women to wear trousers and boots with all their formal uniforms. In and , some Mormon women participated in "Wear Pants to Church Day", in which they wore trousers to church instead of the customary dresses to encourage gender equality within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In , Turkey's parliament ended a ban on women lawmakers wearing trousers in its assembly. Also in , an old bylaw requiring women in Paris, France to ask permission from city authorities before "dressing as men", including wearing trousers with exceptions for those "holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse" was declared officially revoked by France's Women's Rights Minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.
In , an Indian family court in Mumbai ruled that a husband objecting to his wife wearing a kurta and jeans and forcing her to wear a sari amounts to cruelty inflicted by the husband and can be a ground to seek divorce. In , The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that its female employees could wear "professional pantsuits and dress slacks" while at work; dresses and skirts had previously been required. Pleats just below the waistband on the front typify many styles of formal and casual trousers, including suit trousers and khakis.
There may be one, two, three, or no pleats, which may face either direction. When the pleats open towards the pockets they are called reverse pleats typical of most trousers today and when they open toward the fly they are known as forward pleats.
Trouser-makers can finish the legs by hemming the bottom to prevent fraying. A fly is a covering over an opening join concealing the mechanism, such as a zipper , velcro or buttons, used to join the opening. In trousers, this is most commonly an opening covering the groin , which makes the pants easier to put on or take off.
The opening also allows men to urinate without lowering their trousers. Trousers have varied historically in whether or not they have a fly. Originally, hose did not cover the area between the legs.
This was instead covered by a doublet or by a codpiece. When breeches were worn, during the Regency period for example, they were fall-fronted or broad fall. Later, after trousers pantaloons were invented, the fly-front split fall emerged. Most flies now use a zipper, though button-fly pants continue to be available. At present, most trousers are held up through the assistance of a belt which is passed through the belt loops on the waistband of the trousers.
However, this was traditionally a style acceptable only for casual trousers and work trousers; suit trousers and formal trousers were suspended by the use of braces suspenders in American English attached to buttons located on the interior or exterior of the waistband. Today, this remains the preferred method of trouser support amongst adherents of classical British tailoring. Many men claim this method is more effective and more comfortable because it requires no cinching of the waist or periodic adjustment.
In modern Western society, males customarily wear trousers and not skirts or dresses. There are exceptions, however, such as the ceremonial Scottish kilt and Greek fustanella , as well as robes or robe-like clothing such as the cassocks of clergy and the academic robes, both rarely worn today in daily use.
See also Men's skirts. Based on Deuteronomy in the Bible "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man" , some groups, including the Amish, Hutterites, some Mennonites, some Baptists, a few Church of Christ groups, and most Orthodox Jews, believe that women should not wear trousers, but only skirts and dresses.
These groups do permit women to wear underpants as long as they are hidden. By contrast, many Muslim sects approve of pants as they are considered more modest than any skirt that is shorter than ankle length.
However, some mosques require ankle length trousers for both Muslims and non-Muslims on the premises. Among certain groups, low-rise, baggy trousers exposing underwear became fashionable ; for example, among skaters and in s hip hop fashion. This fashion is called sagging or, alternatively, "busting slack. 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 be hemmed or left to fray after being cut.
In , a law requiring women in Paris, France to ask permission from city authorities before "dressing as men", including wearing trousers with exceptions for those "holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse" was declared officially revoked by France's Women's Rights Minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. Wearing jeans on this day, 22 April, has become an international symbol of protest. In Sudan, Article of the Memorandum to the Penal Code prohibits the wearing of "obscene outfits" in public.
This law has been used to arrest and prosecute women wearing trousers. Thirteen women including journalist Lubna al-Hussein were arrested in Khartoum in July for wearing trousers; ten of the women pleaded guilty and were flogged with ten lashes and fined Sudanese pounds apiece.
Lubna al-Hussein considers herself a good Muslim and asserts "Islam does not say whether a woman can wear trousers or not. I'm not afraid of being flogged. But it is insulting. In May , in Louisiana , Democrat and state legislator Derrick Shepherd proposed a bill that would make it a crime to appear in public wearing trousers below the waist and thereby exposing one's skin or "intimate clothing". It is not clear whether, with the same coverage by the trousers, exposing underwear was considered worse than exposing bare skin, or whether the latter was already covered by another law.
The law 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 penalised under the law would be young African-American men, the law would thus be a form of racial discrimination.
Virginia's state senators voted against passing the law. In California , Government Code Section From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the clothing item. For the British film, see Trousers film. For undergarment, see Underpants.
"Slacks" generally means something slightly more formal than denim and "Pants" usually means something like denim jeans but can also be used as a synonym for both "Slacks" and "Trousers". "Dress Pants" or "Suit Pants" might be used for men's or women's business bifurcated garments. Slacks vs Pants The clothing item that is worn universally by men around the world is called trousers. These are stitched to have one opening at the top and double openings at the bottom to be worn by men from waist downwards, to cover their entire lower body. Trousers look formal and are an [ ]. Trousers are usually what men's pants are referred to, while slacks is a term usually used for women's pants. Both terms are most commonly used nowadays if referring to a semi-formal to formal type of pants worn in the office or for special occasions.