How Well Do You Know the History of Harem Pants?
Fashionable harem pants are associated with laid-back living and casual culture; with a consolationable fit and a liberating sense of unrestrained style.
They’re so deeply entrenched in Western fashion, that it’s easy to overlook that harem trousers have been round for hundreds of years – in several completely different areas around the world. The name itself offers a clue about their origins, however how often do you ask yourself the place the evocative name ‘harem pants’ came from?
Here’s some insight into the history of these iconic trousers – and their fascinating journey from the deserts of Africa to the fashion-forward cities of the 21st century.
A Truly Persian Pant?
The exact origins of the baggy harem trouser that we all know and love are unknown. It’s been urged that harem pants have been first worn by Persian males, as long as 2,000 years ago. However, others disagree with this, and suggest that the first true harem trousers have been developed later than this; in the Center East, North Africa or Turkey.
This would go some method to explaining the name. A term ‘harem’ is defined as a ‘sacred place for female members of the family’ in Arabic culture. Harems were usually made up of wives and concubines, and men have been forbidden to enter. nineteenth century illustrations showed Northern African women from harems wearing large, tulip-formed trousers to preserve their modesty – and this is where it’s typically agreed that the name originated.
Harem Trousers’ Asian History
It wasn’t just Africans, Turkish or Center-Eastern individuals donning harem pants. There’s strong proof to recommend that a similar style of trouser was also being worn in south-east Asia; significantly among the Hmong individuals of China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
Nevertheless, there were marked variations in style. Whereas Arabic harem pants had a distinctive tulip bottom to each leg, Hmong harem trousers have been often wider and decrease on the crotch.
Harem Pants – French Military Fashion
Within the 19th century, French army recruits serving in Northern Africa observed the locals wearing consolationable harem trousers. The soldiers noticed the advantages of wearing loose, ethereal material within the hot desert – and swiftly incorporated the model into their uniform. It’s suspected that this is how harem pants have been first introduced to Europe.
The suffragettes have been famous for spurning constrictive corsets and skirts, and have been the primary European ladies to embrace the harem pant fashion; which resulted in predictable protest from their conservative counterparts. In America, Amelia Bloomer made it her personal mission to convince fellow females that harem pants have been more consolationable than restrictive dresses – and her legacy was to provide the trousers one other standard name… the bloomer!
It wasn’t till Twenties France, when the designer Paul Poiret incorporated harem pant-inspired fashion into his designs, that the iconic trousers began getting critical attention. His combination of exotic harem trouser, combined with Arabic-inspired head-dresses and kaftans, went against the popular perception that women should keep on with skirts; and he was criticised for his ‘sexualised’ and ‘inappropriate’ designs.
Moving Harem Trousers into the Modern Era
The flowing hippy types of the 1960s and Nineteen Seventies had been undoubtedly inspired by Poiret’s iconic designs. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until the 1980s that harem trousers have been lastly given the recognition they deserved. The standard harem trousers’ most celebrated outing was on the rapper MC Hammer, whose deep red, shiny pants, combined with a bold yellow tailored jacket, went down in history as one among music’s most memorable outfits.
Today, harem trousers have grow to be a firm favourite in fashion circles; with celebrities such as Rhianna, Heidi Klum and Jennifer Lopez being papped wearing them. Fashionable harem pants often characteristic bold, Asian or African-inspired prints as an homage to their origins. Asymmetric tasselled designs hark back to north African styles and exceptionally low crotches are very harking back to the Hmong take on the harem trouser. Best of all, harem pants may be worn in quite a lot of conditions – from festivals and days out on the beach, to a night out with friends… and each event in between.
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