Short Pants: Chronology


Figure 1.--Here we see German brothers in the 1920s, photographed during an outing to the local park. Short pants became very common for European boys after World War I. Shorts proved less popular in America where boys mostly wore knickers.

Short pants or trousers as they are called in Britain are a realtively recent development for boys. Short pants first appeared in the late 19th century, but were only worn by very young boys and were not very common. Most boys wore kneepants in the late 19th century. Knickers were also worn. They were employed for British soldiers in tropical postings during the 19th century. They were first widely worn by boys after they were aopted By British Scouts in the 1900s. Here the British military commectin was the major reason they were adopted. The The chronological trends in shorts varied widely from country to country. They were widely worn by European boys after World War I (1914-18), but not nearly as popular in America. Until this European and American boys wore many of the same stules. Knee pants, short pants, and knickers were seen as a standard style for boys in the first half of the 20th century. This changed in the second half of the 20th century afyer World War II when short pants became seen as more of a casual, summer style for boys and men. As this trend developed, short pants became increasingly worn in America, perhaps even more commonly than in Europe. Styles and lengths have changed over time.

The 18th Century

Short pants were not worn in the 18th century. Both men and boys wore knee breeches. In the late 19th century skeleton suits appeaed with long pants. At the times only boys and workers wore long pants. The primary style of pants for young adults and men was knee breeches.

The 19th Century

Gradualy men and boys began wearing long trousers in the early 19th century. Various forms of shortened-length pants for boys appeared in the mid-19th century, including bloomer knickers and kneepants. True short pants first appeared in the late 19th century, but were only worn by very young boys and were not very common. Most boys wore kneepants in the late 19th century. Knickers were also worn. Short pants were employed for British soldiers in tropical postings during the 19th century. I am not sure yet about the chronology of this. I think it began with the British Army in India.

The 20th Century

Short pants were first widely worn by boys after they were aopted By British Scouts in the 1900s. Here the British military commection was the major reason they were adopted. Thechronological trends in shorts varied widely from country to country. They were widely worn by European boys after World War I (1914-18), but not nearly as popular in America. Until this European and American boys wore many of the same stules. Knee pants, short pants, and knickers were seen as a standard style for boys in the first half of the 20th century. This changed in the second half of the 20th century afyer World War II when short pants became seen as more of a casual, summer style for boys and men. As this trend developed, short pants became increasingly worn in America, perhaps even more commonly than in Europe. Styles and lengths have changed over time. Shorts became quite short in the mid20th century, although the time-line varied from country to country. Very short shorts even became popular in America during the 1970s. This began to change, first in France. Then in America where basketball star Michael Jordan played a major role.

The 21st Century

A reader asks, "Why is it that the boys today toady want to wear those ugly baggy so called shorts, I have questioned a few teen boys about this and all they say is the stores don't sell short shorts for boys and some of them even say they would not be comfortable in normal fitting shorts, but for some reason the girls wear short shorts and never mention the comfort factor. In my own personal opinion I think the boys today think it a sissy thing for a boy to day to wear normal fitting short pants like in the 1950s when hardly any boy wore short pants, And I do get ticked off with these teens wearing those big baggy things with the underpants showing. I think it looks horrible and discusting. And I am just wondering if these boys know how ugly they really look by wearing this hip hop stuff. I think MTV has everything to do with that. Why in the world would these teen boys today think its a cool thing to live in the hood with a bunch of gansta thugs who would probably do them harm if they lived with those people. And yes I do blame the schools in America for letting these boys wear that stuff to school. I think the only cure for these teens is to put them in the HOOD for a few weeks with those people they admire so much, I bet in one day they would be calling mom and dad to get them out of that enviorment. I notice where I live in Pennsylvania that many of the younger boys from age 4 to 10 are now wearing more normal fitting short pants but not the teen boys. They are hanging on to that hip hop gansata look and I think there is a reason for that and its not good from what I see and hear.







HBC






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Created: 9:11 PM 1/9/2005
Last updated: 7:32 PM 7/31/2008