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2.13.2009

Pants!

How about a little history today? How about a little pants history? It's an interesting subject...

* Nomadic Eurasian horsemen such as the Iranian Scythians, along with Achaemenid Persians, were among the first to wear trousers. Funny that they wear galabiyyas now, which I think look pretty cool.

* In ancient China, trousers were only worn by soldiers.

* The first European appearance of trousers was in Hungary, in the 9th century.

* Trousers were introduced into Western European culture at several points in history, but gained their current predominance only in the 16th century, from a Commedia dell'Arte character named Pantalone (the Italian word for trousers, thus, pants).

* In England, in the 12th century, peasants were often seen in long garments to the ankle, rather like trousers. Strangely enough, trouser-like garments, which became rare again in the 13th century, vanished altogether during the 14th, and scarcely reappeared for 400 years.

* By the end of the 16th century, the codpiece had been incorporated into hose, which were roughly knee-length and featured a fly or fall front opening.

* During the French Revolution the male citizens of France adopted a working-class costume including ankle-length trousers in place of the aristocratic knee-breeches. This style was introduced to England in the early 19th century and supplanted breeches as fashionable streetwear by mid-century.

* Breeches survived into the 1940s as the plus-fours, or knickerbockers, worn for active sports and by young school-boys. Types of breeches are still worn today by golfers and baseball and American football players.

* In Great Britain, pants are not trousers, they're underwear. Likewise, knickers are not knee pants, they are women's underwear. Remember this if you ever go there.

* Sailors may have played a role in creating trousers as a fashion around the world. In the 17th and 18th centuries, sailors wore baggy trousers known as galligaskins. Sailors were also the first to wear jeans, or trousers made of a fabric that came from Denim, France (for Serge de Nîmes). These became more popular in the late 19th century in the American West because of their ruggedness and durability, and survive today, easily the most popular pants of the modern world.

SILLY PANTS
The Codpiece Hose: I think this probably came first from armor of the Medieval period designed to protect the nether regions of the male anatomy during battle. Later, it became a fashion statement by which men could promise more than they actually had, much like the roll of socks thing that rock stars used in the 1970s. Maybe they still do, I don't know. I don't look anymore.












Balloon Pants: These are by far the silliest pants ever designed for men to wear. What's worse is that men, important men like William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh, and many of my famous Waller ancestors actually wore them.
















Fall-Fronts: In certain parts of Europe in the 18th century, these were made off hot, non-breathing, unforgiving silk, and were v-e-r-y tight. Their obvious purpose was to 1) allow quick and easy access, 2) show off a shapely calf, and 3) show off your junk. I have two pairs of breeches, which I wore when I used to portray Mozart in the public schools, and they're damned uncomfortable. And I don't even have junk to get smashed.









Hip Hops: So this is heretofore the culmination of fashion evolution? Now men are showing off their backsides instead of their fronts.

16 comments :

  1. Tell me, what is the point of wearing your pants hanging half-way down your ass? I would really like to know!

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  2. I want to know how they stay there.

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  3. Erk, that hip hop look is awful! '

    Love the quote on the side btw!

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  4. Although the balloon pants are quite ridiculous, those hip-hop take the idiot award.

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  5. "Look at my torso!"

    Big whoop...

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  6. Very interesting. Humans take pants so much for granted, it's good to see how they came about. It's good to see a faithful hound creep into the history lesson and give some much needed dignity to the man in the silly pants.

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  7. Twenty years from now these guys are going to be feeling pretty stupid.

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  8. The Vatican Swiss guards still wear the balloon-y pants. They look less like guards than escaped actors from some Shakespearean play.

    I'm sick of seeing guys with their crotches down around their ankles. It looks totally stupid. The other day, when I was at the credit union, there was a young chick with jeans with a waistband waaaa below the waist. She dropped her keys and bent over to pick them up and, because her jeans rode so low, her entire ass was hanging out. Sheesh!

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  9. I apologize for the low altitude of my pants. (I lost five pounds this month for some unknown reason.)

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  10. I have heard once that the "hip hop" pants trend has nothing to do with hip hop--It is a prison trend in which a weaker man offers himself up for "easy access' if you catch my drift. Ah, the streets will tell you many things! Great post Steph.

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  11. The codpiece was a great look in A Clockwork Orange.

    Still is.

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  12. Your descriptions are fun. Even better than the pictures.

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  13. Thanks to you all for your comments. I'd respond to each of you personally, but my pants have smashed my inspiration.

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  14. I wish all young males would get it into their heads just how disgusting the bum-hanging-out-as-jeans-slip-down look really is. Obviously, they are devoid of girl friends, for any self respecting one of those would sort themm out in no time. Perhaps we should all give that finally twitch to the pants as we scurry by, then they might all get had up for indecent exposure? UP being the operative word.

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  15. It is another symbol of Indian power dressing. Although the uses of Jodhpur breeches are many, it is the main riding apparel as well as the main item of Equestrian clothing, hunting clothing

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