Pants, or leggings, are an everyday piece of clothing that may have originally originated in Central Asia, worn by men as pants to their ankles and covering both feet at the same time, instead of with cloth curtained across both legs like in dresses, and robes. Today pants are often made with various fabrics, to match any outfit, whether work-a-day or formal. The styles and designs have changed over time, from tight-fitting sheiks in countries like Saudi Arabia to loose-fitting shorts worn by men during the day in some parts of Africa and Asia. In the United States, a similar type of pants are popularly called khakis, although technically this type of pants does not exist in the US.
While pants are usually one piece, they may be divided into two or more pieces depending on their construction, appearance, or use. Trousers, which can also be identified as sweat pants, are considered the original form of pants. From here the two major styles of pants developed: the regular long pair, also known as trousers, and the cargo brief, sometimes referred to as Jean pants, or khakis. Both of these varieties cover the leg at the same time, with the long pants featuring one leg and the cargo brief having two legs.
A pant suit, or blouse, is a type of pants that is made with a shirt-like blouse attached to the front of the pant, either with buttons ribbon, zippers, or other fastenings. Jeans are another kind of pant suit, with the leg of the pants covered as part of the jean material. Pant suits are often used in sports when players must be able to move freely without their pants being pulled down, and they have come into their own in Hollywood as a way for performers to look fashionable without forfeiting style. They are also frequently seen in fashion magazines, in movies, and as fashion accessories. One pant suit that has been in style for a while is the gladiator pant suit; this style was a favorite among the actors on the HBO television series The Sopranos.
Leggings, or leg pants, are a type of pants that match or border on matching jackets. Like jeans, they are designed with loose legs that allow a great deal of movement. Leggings resemble dress pants in that they are not always straight, but follow the shape of the legs or sometimes curve slightly. They also can feature pleats, are made from stiffened cotton or other lightweight material, and are available in a number of bright colors.
Flared pants, which include flare-pants, boot-cut pants, or tight pants, are very similar to leggings. Their purpose, besides presenting a streamlined silhouette, is to give the appearance of increased bulk, though this is not necessarily present. Boot-cut pants, especially those featuring a flared front, resemble leggings in this regard. Flared trousers also have a somewhat tapered look, resembling jean leggings, though they tend to be more transparent than boot cut or flare-cut pants. These types of pants are very good to wear during the warmer months, since their natural fabric enables the free flow of air through them.
“Pants” is short for “panties,” and is an apt term for these underpants. Underpants, like underpants, are functional clothing items but were first used to refer to female undergarments in French. Since pantaloons are frequently paired with matching bottoms, it is easy to see how the term became associated with all three styles of pants. The term panties, while still commonly used in North America, is now a general term referring to all types of pantaloons, regardless of their style, fit, or color. To most people, the word “panties” has become synonymous with “underpants.”
Pant suits, on the other hand, are much like skinny jeans, only they are not tight-fitting. A pair of standard pair of pants, cut straight and not flared, can be transformed into a pant suit by adding on a pair of high-waisted or low-rise pants. This is particularly useful if you want to make a fashion statement, since a pair of low-rise pants, knee-high or thigh-high, can be turned into a pair of low-waist pants by adding on a pair of high-quality tights. This same strategy can be used to turn a pair of standard pants into a skirt: just cut off the waist and add on a pair of leg-high tights.
As mentioned earlier, when it comes to pants suits, there is a lot of variation. Even so, there are four general type categories of pants suits in American English, as described in the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: Regular, Seamless, Half-length and Capri. Any kind of pant suits which deviates from this pattern is considered inappropriate. For example, a suit consisting of a pair of full-length pants with no pleats or cuffs (called a capris suit) would not usually qualify as an American English suit.