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Trousers vs Pants – Similarities, Differences, And More

Trousers and pants are two fashion terms that can be quite confusing. Unless you know the difference, you’ll keep missing out on their real meaning.

Over the years, trousers and pants have become popular among males and females, but there’s so much more to these unique pieces of clothing.

So, is there any difference between trousers and pants? Yes, there is.

In this guide, I’ll also share their similarities and how best to differentiate between the two. Keep reading to find out.

What are trousers?

trousers vs pants

Trousers are a type of clothing worn by men and women. They are typically made of a sturdy fabric, such as denim, wool, cotton, or corduroy. The design of trousers makes them comfortable and practical.

Trousers are usually fastened at the waist with a belt or button and have pockets for carrying belongings. Some styles of trousers, such as cargo pants, also have additional pockets on the legs.

These tailored garments have a fly front and buttoned loopholes, and the legs of trousers may be either straight or cuffed.

Trousers first became popular in the United States in the late 14th century as a more comfortable alternative to restrictive skirts and dresses. Over time, they have come to be seen as a staple of American fashion and are also known as “slacks” or “khakis.”

Today, there is a wide variety of trouser styles available, from relaxed-fit jeans to formal dress pants. No matter the occasion, there is a pair of trousers to suit any need.

SEE: The Unspoken Meaning Of Chino Pants

What are pants?

trousers vs pants

Pants are outer garment people wear to cover their bodies from the waist to the ankles. They were first invented in the 6th century BC and have been an important part of men’s and women’s fashion ever since.

It took women a while to adopt pants as everyday clothing, but they eventually did in the mid-20th century after Elizabeth Smith Miller rocked the first pants in 1851.

Today, there are many types of pants available for both sexes, ranging from formal wear to casual wear. Pants are also now made from a variety of materials, including denim, polyester, corduroy, and leather.

Pants are most often fastened at the waist with a belt or button and zip fly closure.

Some styles of pants also have side pockets, back pockets, or cargo pockets for carrying small items. People wear them with a shirt, sweater, or other tops or as part of a uniform.

In the UK, the word “pants” also refers to underwear worn by both men and women, and people use them under trousers.

SEE: Why Do Guys Sag Their Pants?

Similarities between trousers and pants

  • Trousers and pants are both garments that cover the lower half of the body. 
  • They are both made from cloth, such as denim or wool, and they both have a waistband and legs. 
  • In America, trousers are a type of pants that come with a button or zip fly, pockets, and more.

What is the difference between trousers and pants?

The main difference is that in America, pants refer to outerwear, i.e. trousers in a broader sense, while they refer to underwear in Britain. 

Underwear is typically made of cotton or another soft material. They cover the body from the waist to the thighs and do not have a fastener at the waist.

It’s called underwear because people wear it beneath other clothing, and it is not meant to be seen by others except during lingerie exhibitions.

Some styles of underwear have a fly opening in the front and are also sometimes referred to as “drawers.” 

In the US, outerwear, also known as pants or trousers is typically made of heavier materials such as denim or corduroy and is fastened at the waist. Meanwhile, underwear is called underpants.

This means outerwear worn from the waist to the anklesCan mean underwear
Trousers are comfortable outwear made from cotton, corduroy, wool, etc.All types of lower bodywear split for each leg fall under pants, including shorts, dress pants, and even trousers
Trousers are more practicalPants, depending on the type, can also be practical or elaborate
Trousers are outwear that cover the bodyPants (as underwear) are worn to protect the delicate parts of the body

Men’s trousers vs pants

In the United States, men’s trousers and pants mean nearly the same thing. Trousers have a fitted waistline with pockets and a zipper, which are commonly called tailored garments. 

Meanwhile, pants refer to everything from trousers, slacks, capris, breeches, jeans, bloomers, etc. Therefore, you can remember men’s trousers as being a subset of pants.

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Trousers vs pants vs slacks

There is a difference between trousers and slacks, aside from the fact that both are a type of pants. In general, men’s trousers are called trousers, while women’s trousers are called slacks. Both clothes are fit for formal and informal occasions. 

Trousers are used to describe men’s outwearTrousers and slacks are still a type of pantsMostly women’s pants are called slacks

Trousers vs pants vs jeans

There are a few key differences between trousers and jeans. First, trousers are typically made from a smoother, more polished fabric, while jeans are strictly made from denim.

This gives jeans a more casual look and feels, while trousers tend to be more formal. 

Additionally, jeans usually have rivets or other hardware at the corners of the pockets, while trousers typically do not. They also have a higher waistline than trousers, which can give them a more relaxed look and feel. Both are a type of pants.

Made with soft materials with a polished lookMade with hard denim material often fitted and body-huggingTrousers and jeans fall under types of pants
Can look formal or casualMostly looks casual and relaxed

Chinos vs trousers vs pants

Trousers are a type of clothing that is typically worn by men. They are made of a variety of materials, including denim, wool, and corduroy.

Chinos, on the other hand, are a type of pants that are made from a cotton twill fabric. They are often considered to be more casual than trousers. Again, they are both a subset of pants.

Can have a formal or casual lookThe less formal type of trousers. Trousers and chinos fall under types of pants
Made from soft materials of cotton, wool, etc.Chinos material is made from cotton twill fabric

Trousers vs dress pants

There is a big debate among fashionistas as to whether trousers or dress pants are better. While both have their unique benefits, there are some slight differences between the two:

Trousers tend to be more comfortable than dress pants, as they are typically made from softer fabrics and have a looser fit.

They are also less expensive than dress pants. However, trousers can sometimes look too casual and are not always appropriate for more formal occasions.

On the other hand, dress pants are usually made from stiffer fabrics and have a more tailored fit. This gives them a more polished and sophisticated look that is perfect for office settings or other formal occasions.

Dress pants can also be more expensive than trousers, but they will last longer and generally look better over time. The better one depends on your style and preference.

TrousersDress pants
Have a looser fitHave a tailored fit
Can be less expensiveThey are on the expensive side
Trousers are made with softer fabricsDress pants are made with stiff fabrics
Can be worn for both formal and casual occasionsSuited for more formal occasions

Trousers vs square pants

There are several key differences between trousers and square pants.

  • Square pants are gender-neutral and were popularized by the SpongeBob comic.
  • Trousers typically have a waistband that fastens with a button or zipper, while square pants usually have a drawstring waist.
  • Trousers mostly have two or more pockets, while square pants usually have only one pocket.
  • Finally, people mostly wear trousers with a belt, while square pants fit without a belt and don’t need any.

SEE: Lookout for These Things When You Buy Perfume for Women

When should you wear trousers or pants?

Trousers and slacks are more appropriate for formal occasions, while jeans, square pants, or shorts are more casual and fit informal settings. They are all types of pants.


Are leggings trousers?

Not exactly. Some call leggings pants or trousers, but they fall under the category of hose.

SEE: Can Men Wear Leggings Or Not?

Is it correct to say a pair of pants?

Yes, it is. That is because it’ll be wrong to say ‘a pants,’ because ‘pants’ is in the plural form already.

Who ‘wears the pants’ meaning?

This refers to a position of power and masculinity.

In a family, for instance, the term ‘who wears the pants’ refers to the head of the family.

SEE: Similarities And Differences Between Trousers And Chinos


Pants vs trousers are two popular words with different meanings. And we can both agree that they are a fashion staple and convenient formal and informal wear for many. 

When deciding what to wear, the differences and similarities in this guide will always help you make an informed choice, so you might want to bookmark this for future reference. 

Thanks for reading. 

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