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"Trousers" is the British word for what Americans commonly refer to as "pants." These are garments worn on the lower body with fabric that circles around each leg. Whereas skirts and kilts feature material that wraps around the body without sectioning the legs, pants or trousers feature seams that create two distinct leg pieces. The garments fasten at the waist or hips with items such as buttons, snaps and/or a zipper.
There are many different trouser styles for both men and women; these range from casual to dressy. In the United States, "trousers" tend to specify dressier pants, such as those made of wool and worn as part of a business suit. In the United Kingdom, "pants" is never used to describe trouser types, but rather refers only to underpants or underwear.
A good quality pair of wool trousers is an ideal addition to most wardrobes. Men can wear a trouser with a dress shirt, while women have many different blouse options. For example, a white blouse gives a wool trouser a classic office look for daytime, but when paired with a satin or silk blouse, the look is suitable for evening, such as to wear to a dinner party. Wearing a trouser with a sweater is a popular fall and winter option for both men and women.
Trousers are available in different fabrics, colors, textures and patterns. Wool, solid, smooth trouser styles in neutral colors are the most classic examples. Black as well as darker shades of brown and gray are typically worn in the winter, while lighter trouser colors suit spring weather. Lightweight wools and cottons can be worn in summer, such as in warm weather trouser suits.
Men's trousers were the norm until the latter part of the 20th century when it started becoming fashionable for women to wear them. Trouser styles originated from those worn as part of military uniforms. An officer's trousers were likely to be wool and quite dressy, while a field soldier's style was often made of more rugged material such as khaki.
Khaki casual military trouser styles evolved into what is known as cargo pants. These informal trousers in olive greens and tans are also available as shorts; they feature many different pockets. Whereas most trouser types have only upper pockets, cargo styles contain storage pouches on the lower legs or sides of the pants. Whether casual or dressy, trouser types for men and women may have a baggy fit or be more body skimming.