My Dad used to call all pants “Knickers.” Pants he wore, pants I wore, pants anyone wore. An example would be “what do you have on your knickers?” or “those are nice knickers.” I always knew he was referring to pants.

My Dad was raised during the depression and knickers were in style for boys then. And he hated them.

My Dad in knickers with his Mom. Photo is poor quality because it is taken from a home video.

I’ve been reading Victoria Thompson’s gaslight mysteries (can’t put them down, love the mysteries and the history) and come to find out in these books and with some research of my own, the term “knickers” comes from the Knickerbocker family name. There was a Knickerbocker family that settled in New York (then New Amsterdam) in the 1600’s and Washington Irving used the family name in his History of New York. Knickerbockers ended up referring to Dutch families that settled in New York who wore knee-length Dutch breeches.

I wish I could tell my Dad the history of those knickers he so hated! Hmmm, now that I think of it, knickers kind of remind me of capris which *I* refuse to wear. Not knocking them for everyone else, but to me, if I wore capris, I would feel like I’m missing the rest of my pants.  Maybe that’s the way my Dad felt, too.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynne at Hasty Brook
    May 18, 2008 @ 11:29:38

    This reminds me of my Dad saying “Don’t get your knickers in a twist!”

    Thanks for the smile Pam. 🙂


  2. jayne
    May 18, 2008 @ 11:52:49

    I used to say I’d never wear capris, but now you can’t find any summer pants that aren’t! I’m so short, I have to be careful that they don’t seriously look like I forgot a few inches of my pants!! Interesting factoid about “knickers!”


  3. Pam
    May 18, 2008 @ 12:31:45

    Lynne – You’re welcome. I say “don’t get your nighty in a knot” but I might switch it to knickers in honor of our two Dads.

    Jayne – it actually makes me mad that I can’t find regular summer pants that are cute, they’re all capris. I inherited my short legs from my Dad and capris and short legs just don’t mix!


  4. Linda in Erie
    May 18, 2008 @ 13:49:50

    I have pictures of me in peddle pushers. They came right below the knee back in the late 50s. I think they were like knickers or capris. Mine had a Mexican hat, sunglasses embroidered on the legs. I laugh at them, now.


  5. Susan Gets Native
    May 20, 2008 @ 22:49:44

    Ditto what Lynne said.
    My knickers are always in a knot.


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