A History Of The Man In 100 Objects #4: the Trouser

What single garment defines the manager?

The answer, in terms of the defining observable characteristics of the late 20th (and early 21st) century manager is:


The trouser or rather trousers. Not the suit: please allow me to explain why.

Non-managers may wear chinos, or jeans, or overalls, but if you are manager you can only deploy one kind of lower body covering: proper suit trousers.

Why? Because suit trousers are part of a suit and all managers wear suits, of course, but – what if it is a hot day, or if you are chatting at work? There are many occasions when you might take your jacket off, and you may loosen or remove your tie, or not wear a tie at all – you trendy you, but you will never remove your trousers at work. When you are a manager the trousers stay on, even when you are having a quickie with your secretary – you may drop your trousers, Carry On style, but you never, ever take them off. Mr. Bono never removes his shades, Mr. The Edge never removes that stupid hat, John Wayne was buried in a Stetson, and the manager always, always wears his (or her) trousers. Therefore the one (true clothing-related) symbol of the manager cannot be the suit as many believe, but can only be the trouser, because the suited manager sometimes removes the tie or the jacket but, like Judge Dredd’s helmet, the trousers are always on.

All hail the trouser!

We are on message, we have our trousers on, we are suited and booted, we are ready to rumble, we are managers. Gaze in lust and envy at our magnificent trousers: they are Pure New Wool, they drape, they have a crease so sharp I get paper cuts, the crease ‘breaks’ perfectly over my black Oxfords, they are magnificent – all hail the mighty trouser of power.

Female managers ‘wear the trousers’ of what they call, annoyingly, a ‘trouser-suit’. They call it power-dressing. The Men in Black, who work for the most powerful, most mannish manly ‘The Man’ of all men,  the President of the World – sorry USA, wear powerful black suits. They are therefore defined by their powerful black suit trousers.

For if you wear a suit it is always an expression of power –  or interestingly –  of its lack. Better then to say that the suit ‘talks about power’. Managers have power, they wear wear suits. Female managers have power, they wear suits*. A lager lout has no power, but when he appears in court – a place of power – he wears a suit.

His suit cost £39 from Matalan, the male manager he glassed in the pub last night might be sporting a £390 Ted Baker ‘Endurance’, and the foxy lady barrister might be wearing a Nicole Farhi trouser suit that cost £790, but they are all wearing suits in a place of power.

So, there you have it, our 4th object in our History Of The Man In 100 Objects: the Trouser (part of a suit).

Read on for the definitive details of the most powerful garment in the world – the trouser, as ‘researched’ on Wikipedia**.

(*except when they wear a jacket and skirt suit, but we don’t have time to get into that just now, I’m busy generalising)

(** I say researched, I mean nicked)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the clothing item. For the implementation of the TCG Software Stack, see Trusted Computing Group.
“Pants” redirects here. For styles of undergarments sometimes called “pants”, see Underpants and Undergarment.

A pair of trousers

Trousers are an item of clothing worn from the waist to the ankles, covering both legs separately (rather than with cloth stretching across both as in skirts and dresses). The word trousers is used in the UK and Ireland, but some other English-speaking countries such as Canada, South Africa, and the United States can also refer to such items of clothing as pants. Additional synonyms includeslacksstrideskegs or kexbreeches (sometimes britches play /ˈbrɪɨz/), or breeksShorts are similar to trousers, but with legs that come down only to around the area of the knee, higher or lower than the knee depending on the style of the garment.

In most of the Western world, trousers have been worn since ancient times and throughout the Medieval period, becoming the most common form of lower body clothing for males in the modern period, although shorts are also widely worn, and kilts and other garments may be worn in various regions and cultures. Since the 20th century, trousers have become prevalent for females as well. Shorts are often preferred in hot weather or for some sports, and also often by children. Trousers are worn at the hips or waist, and may be held up by their own fastenings, a belt, or suspenders (braces). Leggings are form-fitting trousers of a clingy material, oftenknitted cotton and spandex.




In the United Kingdom and Ireland most people use trousers or slacks as the general category term, whereas pants usually refers to underwear but is used, interchangeably with trousers, in some northern dialects. In Scotland, trousers are known as trews, which is the historic root of the word ‘trousers’. Trousers are known as breeks in Scots.

In North America pants is the general category term (though Ambrose Bierce found the word “vulgar exceedingly” and recommended trousers[1]), whereas trousers(sometimes slacks in Australia, the United States,) often more formally, to tailored garments with a waistband and (typically) belt-loops and a fly-front. For instance, informal elastic-waist knitted garments would be called pants, but not slacks.

North Americans call undergarments underwearunderpants, “long johns” or panties (the last are women’s garments specifically) to distinguish them from other pants that are worn on the outside. The term drawers normally refers to undergarments, but in some dialects, may be found as a synonym for “breeches”, that is, trousers. In these dialects, the term underdrawers is used for undergarments. In Australia, men’s undergarments are called underwearunderpantsundiesunder-dacksdacks or jocks.

Various people in the fashion industry use the word pant instead of pants. This is nonstandard usage. The word “pants” is a plurale tantum, always in plural form—much like the words “scissors” and “tongs”. However, the singular form of the word is used in some compound words, such as trouser-legtrouser-press andtrouser-bottoms.[2]



There is some evidence, from figurative art, of trousers being worn in the Upper Paleolithic. An example are the figurines found at the Siberian sites of Mal’ta and Buret’.[3]


There’s lots more like this at Wickedpeedo so just click on the title word ‘trousers’ at the top of this to be transported to a magical world of men’s garments, which I find to be hilariously unintentionally amusing.

I’m sorry, no really I am, I know it’s infantile, but the word ‘trouser’ is just funny. It is one of the iconic comedy words, sat shinily in the proud company of banana, poo, fart, boobies and wee.   See that there, under the title? It says, with a straight face: {“Pants” redirects here}. I’m sorry but that is funny. Trousers are pants! Ho ho, ha ha, hee hee. If you’ve read this far, and few will have bothered to, I’m sure, you’ll want to continue the trouser-splitting laughter by reading the rest…


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