Drainpipe trousers are a style of slim-fitting pants first popularized in the 1950s. One of the most famous celebrities to don these trousers was Elvis Presley. His slim fitting drainpipe style jeans soon epitomized the spirit of rock and roll that he was so well known for.
These pants come in a variety of materials and colors, though the original style was typically made from 100% worsted wool in black. Early drainpipe trousers had no pockets on the front or side, though they occasionally had pockets on the back. Belt loops were eliminated from this style of pant as well.
The signature aspect of this look is in the cut of the pants. Drainpipe trousers fit snugly through the backside and the legs. The bottom of the pants are cut to hang straight down. Unlike most pants, those with a drainpipe cut do not flare or taper at the bottom. For this reason, zippers are occasionally included at the bottom of the pants to help the wearer get them on.
The name "drainpipe trousers" is fitting for these pants, as the legs resemble a straight, evenly cut drain pipes. This style has also been known by a variety of other names. These include stovepipes, pencil pants, and cigarette pants.
In the 1950s, as increased consumerism began to reach the UK following the war, the "Teddy Boy" emerged. This class of youth adopted a signature style intended to shock their parents, and it set the Teddy Boys apart from the older generation. The Teddy Boy uniform typically consisted of drainpipe trousers, a drape jacket, and suede shoes. A brightly colored tie and white or colored socks completed the ensemble.
At the trend spread, these trousers could be found on a variety of musical celebrities. Both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones donned this look in the 1960s. Women occasionally wore a similar style of form fitting pants, and the look could be found on the likes of Sandra Dee and Marilyn Monroe.
Though the mass popularity of drainpipe trousers faded by the 1970s, these pants have been adopted by various subsets of culture over the decades. Punk bands striving to distance themselves from the hippie look wore drainpipe trousers in the 1970s. Jeans with the cut of drainpipe trousers were found on heavy metal and hip hop bands of the 1980s and 1990s. Through the 2000s, some indie bands have incorporated this straight-legged style as well, keeping the concept of drainpipe style pants alive and well.