Knicker-like pants ending just below the knee. From the late 16th century until the early 19th century, most men and boys wore breeches as their lower body garment. Through the centuries breeches were seen in many forms and lengths. In the early 18th century breeches were barely seen beneath long waistcoats and coats. By the mid-18th century they were more noticeable beneath shorter waistcoats and open coats, and so the cut of breeches became tighter and revealed the shape of the leg. Worn by all levels of society, breeches were made in a great variety of silks, cottons, linens, wools, knits, and leathers. It was the lower classes, peasants, workmen, and sailors that first wore long trousers, and were first derisevely call sans cullotes", without short trousers. Boys from affluent families began the transition to long trousers when in the late 18th century they began wearing long trouser skeleton suits. The term breeches coined the term breeching.
A style of equestrian trousers; flared at hip and fastened below knee. Breeches were originally worn by officers on horseback, but the tradition continued as the uniform worn on formal occasions by most officers (District Inspector and above ) in the R.U.C. as late as the 1950's.