Breeches and culottes
Breeches are trousers (pants) length below the knee. Breeches are sometimes called “culottes”, but this often refers to trousers of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Trousers to the knee can be found among the Roman legionnaires. They were called Braccae. Roman soldiers adopted them from the northern tribes, which ones are not known. In the Middle Ages Braccae became Braies and was worn as underwear.
The second time breeches appear only in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 16th century, knee-length pants can be found in Germany and Switzerland. In the middle of the 16th century, Pluderhosen appear, which gradually lengthen to the knee.
In the first half of the 17th century, breeches were popular because of the fashion for high boots. The forms of breeches are very diverse: straight, voluminous, very voluminous, according to the shape of the leg. In the second half of the 17th century, Versailles was a trendsetter, so the word “culottes” (pants in French) came into world fashion.
In the 18th and early 19th centuries, it is difficult to find another type of trousers other than breeches (culottes). All men wear them. Fabrics and colors are very diverse. Breeches fall out of fashion in the 1810s and remain only as riding trousers.
Breeches reappear at the end of the 19th century as sportswear for both men and women.
Pumphose is a very voluminous breeches, popular as sports trousers. Plus-fours are breeches that extend four inches (10 cm) below the knee. Plus-fours were introduced in the 1920s and became popular among sportsmen — particularly golfers and game shooters.