Did knickerbockers serve a purpose in Great Britain?

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Naphtali, Jul 28, 2018.

  1. Naphtali

    Naphtali Practically Family

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    Seeley Lake, Montana
    I have been viewing several pre-World War II and wartime British motion pictures that were consistent with their period of creation. Knickerbocker pants are worn by a surprisingly large number of men. While most instances occur among those pursuing sport, some urban men who are not at work are wearing this pant style, best known in the United States as what professional baseball players wear during the contests.

    Is this pant style only a fashion statement? If it has a purpose beyond fashion, please describe what this purpose is.
     
  2. Canadian

    Canadian One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Perhaps it allows a young man to buy fewer pair pants. After all, when a teenage man is growing, his inseam might extend faster than his waistline. By wearing trousers tucked into some kind of gaiter, it would be less obvious that he had pants which may have been 2-4 inches too short. It would also mean that if, as is common in Canada, a person could be able to own multiple pairs of pants by minimizing the amount of cloth needed for formal items.

    People in the city? I think perhaps a person who wasn't in City professions (banking, law) might have the same attitude as we see in the late 60s or late 80s. If you can get away with dressing bizarrely or irregularly, much as many of us on FL do, you do it.
     
  3. avedwards

    avedwards Call Me a Cab

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    London and Midlands, UK
    I’m assuming here, but I imagine they were popular for sports because they are more practical than the wide legged trousers that were popular in that era. I also imagine that, like today, sportswear influenced fashion and was often worn in day to day life.
     
  4. HanauMan

    HanauMan Practically Family

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    Inverness, Scotland
    I live in the UK these days and I see many men and women wearing these kinds of pants, usually older folk of a certain social class, playing golf. A similar type of pants are popular here (and Europe generally) with hikers, the Brits call them 'walking breeches'. These are less baggy than regular knickerbocker pants and give more freedom when hiking the trails.

    I believe that these practical (for some) pants became fashion pants by becoming longer and baggier. These were those awful plus fours and maybe they are what you saw mostly in your movies. In all my time living in the UK I only ever saw one elderly gentleman (and I mean 'gentleman' in the traditional sense) wearing plus fours. Grey wool, black shoes and light colored socks ("One never wears brown in town!").
     
  5. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    You've obviously never been to vintage car shows, owners there live the part. Someone should tell this fine fellow that brown is such a faux pas.
    plus fours 1.jpg
     
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  6. HanauMan

    HanauMan Practically Family

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    Inverness, Scotland
    Not sure what you're on about. Anyhow this guy is dressed for the country, not the town (check shirt & suit & brown brogues = country wear). You're correct, I don't frequent these kinds of shows, though I am aware that you English do like to dress up for these events, usually as German soldiers or US GIs!

    The man I was referring to was an elderly gent I saw frequently in the city I lived in at the time; he wore plus fours nearly every time I saw him and he wasn't in some vintage show!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  7. avedwards

    avedwards Call Me a Cab

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    Location:
    London and Midlands, UK
    I believe the OP was referring to traditional high waisted, slightly baggy, plus fours worn with long socks. Outside of golf or the vintage scene they are very rarely seen in the UK. Anyone wearing them day to day would be seen as eccentric.

    Plus fours, in whatever colour, would traditionally not be “appropriate” in the city as they are country / sports clothing. That said, outside of traditional white collar industries with strict dress codes there is no longer an “appropriate” dress code in the city and in London no one would pay any attention to someone in plus fours unless they were standing on the wrong side of an escalator at a tube station (in which case they would clearly be a tourist).
     

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