One leg at a time. That’s all you need to know about men’s trousers, right? Of course not! There’s plenty to learn about the style you use to cover your legs that can improve your wardrobe and have you looking and feeling your best. In that same vein, we’ve put together a list of five things you probably didn’t know about the history of men’s pants.
Pants Were Built For Storage
When first developed in the 1870s, jeans were often made extra-long for the express purpose of cuffing. Why? Because men often wanted their denim to hold their tobacco products, and cinching up the bottom of their leg meant they could avoid smashing these products in their pockets.
These days, men’s trousers don’t need all that extra fabric—in fact, it’s far better to have them hemmed for a crisp, clean fit.
Pants Have Been Worn For Centuries
Men’s trousers are not new. The idea of men wearing giant garbs or togas might have been accurate at one point, but trousers have been around for longer than most people might imagine. In fact, some form of trousers has been around since antiquity, and trousers were certainly around by the Middle Ages and the Age of Discovery. You might find them in the form of “breeches,” of course, but the fact is that the history of men’s pants extends far beyond the 19th century.
Pants Required Suspenders
The use of a belt to keep a pair of trousers up is a relatively “new” way to wear them in a dressy way. These days, a casual look is a pair of shorts, no belt—while a pair of dress pants means pairing trousers with a belt to bring a suit together. But “braces” or suspenders were once the dressy form of the belt—and they still are. But the definition of “dressy” has changed to include the more casual cousin of suspenders.
Pants And Pleats
There is more than one type of pleat. Most men tend to think that pants come in either a pleated or non-pleated variety. But even in the world of pleats, a pleat can open toward the pocket (a “reverse pleat”) or toward the fly (a “forward pleat”). Today, the reverse pleat is more traditional because of the clean, cinched look it offers, facing the opening of the pleats away from the eye line of anyone in front of you.
Pants Didn’t Always Call For Socks
Dress socks are less important today than they were in centuries past. After the French revolution, short pants called “pantaloons” became the general style. If you wanted to cover your ankles, you would have to wear something capable of coming up much farther than do today’s socks. Even if you’re a sock enthusiast, you’ll note just how easy it is for your socks to get covered up by modern trousers—and what a fashion faux pas it is to wear large socks with shorts.
Today’s men's trousers are sleek and fashionable, but the history of men’s pants goes back much further than you might imagine. After all, there’s nothing more timeless than good fashion. For the very best in today's men’s trousers and style, shop Berle.