Throughout the 18th century knee breeches were the garments of most men. At times
sailors and laborers wore full length loose trousers while the military began using tight
ankled overalls during the Revolutionary War. By the turn of the 19th century, long
trousers and pantaloons (from which we get the word 'pants') were replacing knee
breeches and by 1830 only "old fogies" and servants wore short pants.
Center closures varied as greatly as did lengths. A center closing visible button and
vertical flap arrangement (commonly called the 'French Fly' although equally worn
by the English) was universal from 1700 to 1750, when it began to be replaced by a
narrow front flap called a 'Fall'.
The hidden button center fly came in about 1830, although many farmers and working
men wore broad falls (a modification of the earlier pattern) well into the 1850's.
These were the most common men's "trousers" of the 18th century from officers and the gentry to craftsmen and
farmers -- everyone wore them. Workingmen favored buckskin for durability, the military chose wool for warmth and
everyone who could afford it had a linen pair for warm weather wear. All of our knee breeches have a 3 button thigh
closure and a drawstring and casing below the knee. The waistband is linen lined and is adjustable with a
drawstring and gusset at the rear. The "dog ear" pockets are linen lined. All buttons are pewter. Both narrow fall and
French Fly are available -- the basic pattern is from an original in our collection.
1. 10 OT02 Knee Breeches - French Fly Front
2. 10 OT01 Knee Breeches - Narrow Fall Front
Full Length Trousers
This garment was worn by laborers and others who wanted to protect their legs and hose. The looser
straight leg style was the common civilian trouser while the military favored the tightly fitted calf and
ankle of the overall style. All buttons are pewter; the waistband is linen lined and the pockets are made
of linen. If you want to do "Eastern" but don't like knee breeches this is an authentic alternative.
10 OT03 Full Length Trousers - Narrow Fall Front
Bingham Broad Falls
This style is a later evolution of the 18th century fall fronts. The paintings of G.C. Bingham attest to their
popularity during the 1840's and 50's. All broadfalls have pewter buttons, linen lined waistbands, and
concealed interior pockets. The waistband is adjustable at the rear with a gusset and drawstring. The
Bingham broadfalls are copied from a pair in the Randolph County, Illinois Collection. These are a
high waisted garment.
10 OT04 Bingham Broad Falls
Arrow Rock Trousers
This style came into fashion about 1800 among the "racy" gentry but took 40 years to
reach common acceptance. This hidden button center fly would be the height of fashion
for a wealthy trader or a dandy. The waistband is linen lined and has a buckle closure
at the rear; the seam slit pockets are also linen lined. This style is taken from an
original pair in the Arrow Rock Collection.
11 OT01 Arrow Rock Trousers
Mountain Man Trousers
These are real "skins" -- the trousers worn by men such as Hugh Glass and "Old Gabe"
Bridger. Snug in the hip and thigh, they loosen at the knee and flare slightly at the cuff.
Long fringe at the thigh shortens to medium length at the ankle. Only available in
buckskin with antler buttons.
11 OT02 Mountain Man Trousers
Santa Fe Trousers
These trousers are taken from an original, circa 1810, in the La Purisima Collection in Lompoc, California.
They are typical of those favored by the caballeros of the Southwest and adopted by many of the
Mountain Men and Traders who sojourned in the region. The Santa Fe Trousers have a broadfall front
closure and also button completely down the outer leg seams. The originals were wool; our research
has also turned up buckskin examples, so we offer both. In either case, the leg seam is accented with
contrasting wool. There are 42 pewter buttons on these Southwestern beauties.
They were originally worn over light weight linen drawers. Interestingly, U.S. Army officers wore a garment
as part of their uniform (chervalles in the military) during the War of 1812 similiar to the Santa Fe Trousers.
Contrasting side stripe on seam will be done in red wool unless specified otherwise.
11 OT04 Santa Fe Trousers
For pricing information please email us at info(at)lapelleterie.com