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Where did harem pants originate from?

  Harem pants (also called harem trousers) are an amazing fashion staple that adds elegance and femininity to our outfit. They are not only fashionable but they also provide us with the comfort we need. Depending on the particular design...


Harem pants (also called harem trousers) are an amazing fashion staple that adds elegance and femininity to our outfit. They are not only fashionable but they also provide us with the comfort we need. Depending on the particular design harem pants can offer functionality, convenience and great fit. They can lend an elegant touch to any outfit and there are so many ways in which we can wear harem pants.

harem pants

Although they are often seen as practical clothing,  at the same time they can offer extravagant style and help us achieve a fashionable and feminine look. Harem pants can be worn in combination with different clothing pieces. We don’t always need to wear a dress to look elegant. Harem pants do this job successfully.

 harem pants

Wearing the right pair of harem pants always makes our outfit unique and stylish. Harem pants are suitable for different kinds of activities as their fabrics are breathable,  light-weight and allow free movement.

Either for sports (yoga, dancing or gym classes), home or office work, shopping in the city, meet up with friends or just chilling at home-it seems that there are harem pants for every type of activity.

 harem pants

They can be worn both at casual and formal events as there is a boho vibe to them. But there are such types of harem pants that have an exquisite style and are suitable for sophisticated events.

One of the biggest advantages of harem pants is that they allow more freedom of movement That is why they are preferred over well-known evreryday clothing like jeans and skirts. Fashion designers are always trying tho surprise us with more unique harem pants styles by evolving them each fashion season.

 harem pants

These pants even fall into the category of hippie pants. In the past they were plain work garment but know they come in all shapes and designs, colors and intricate patterns. Harem pants can be printed or of a solid color, striped, with side pockets or pocketless, formal and casual, we have an endless list of pants to choose from.

 harem pants


These wide-leg pants can be made of different fabrics such as linen, silk. Since they have to be loose in structure, light-weight fabrics are mostly used for their production.

Harem pants are long pants with a baggy design that are caught at the ankle and high hemlines. Besides being very stylish and fashionable, no one can deny that they are super comfortable.

 harem pants


We can choose from a variety of harem pants with different designs for different occasions. There are convenient everyday harem pants models and there such harem pants with an extravagant design.

 harem pants

Harem pants have a remarkable history. They have gone through different evolution stages to become that modern version we know  today. Not only their shape, but also they fabrics changed too.

In this article we will go through their history of creation and present you with curious facts about one of the best women’s fashion pieces-harem pants.

 harem pants

Let’s learn some curious facts about these trendy pants for women.

The history of harem pants?

 harem pants

The origin of Harem Pants/trousers can be traced back almost 2,000 years in Persia. Harem pants are believed to originate from the dress-like tunic called Dhoti, worn as a traditional men’s garment in the eastern world.

 harem pants

This pants model was called a harem skirt and it was inspired by the Middle-East style. It’s similar to the Turkish pants called  şalvar. Experts believe that harem pants originated from the traditional Dhoti. 

The first clothing that resembled harem pants was called dhoti. It was a traditional men’s clothing worn in India. Dhoti is a dress-like tunic ( rectangular in shape). It’s also known as pancha, veshti or mardani but harem pants can be found under the name of Salvars and Shalwar which was used during this time in Persia. The word “Salvar”in person means literally pants. Harem pants were something more than a clothing piece.

This was a traditional clothing in the eastern world worn only by men. It was most often 45 meters long and it was wrapped around the legs, the waist and then knotted at the waist line.  In fact harem pants became the first version of the tulip shaped trousers which we all know.

Women who were part of middle-eastern Persian tribes were the first who started wearing harem pants. In the past wearing harem pants was considered a symbol of modesty and innocence.

The reason for this was because they were loose-fitting at the hips and the legs and covered the feminine natural body curves of the women who wore them. Harem pants were a preferred men’s wear since they  offered people comfort when they did everyday household chores.

 harem pants

 harem pants

The term 'harem pants' became popular afterwards in the West as a generic term for baggy trousers caught in at the ankle that copied Turkish style clothing.

Harem pants appeared for the first time in Western culture in mid-1800s. They gained popularity in the Western world thanks to the women’s rights activist  Amelia Bloomer who was fighting for women’s equal rights.

As some of  you may  know the term “Bloomers” originated from her name. She used harem pants with the purpose of a uniform for feminists who were fighting for women’s rights at the time.

At this time harem pants symbolized liberation and freedom for women and  women wore them in public which was not done before. They noticed that harem pants are much more comfortable than the petticoats and corsets which were a hit at this time. After women finally received the right to vote in the post-suffragist period harem pants were slowly forgotten and their popularity diminished until 1909.

harem pants

Later the so-called harem pants or skirts became part of the Western fashion in 1910. Paul Poiret was among the first designers who introduced this type of pants during this historical period.

The French designer Paul Poiret was the creator of a clothing collection that was influenced by Persian and American fashion culture. His collection included fashion items such as head dresses, kaftans and our favourite harem pants. 

The Paris couturier offered harem pants of a new design as they were more feminine in style and their fabrics were silk and satin. Since his goal was to achieve an oriental mood and soft Eastern-style feminine elegance  in his collection complex beading and embroideries were seen on the harem pants. Some harem pants pairs were combined with waist wraps and tunics.

harem pants

As s part of his ambitions  to reinvent the Western female fashion and bring new fashion ideas Paul Poiret introduced harem pants in 1911. The harem pants model he offered was called "Style Sultane". It was  called with the alternative name jupe-culotte or harem pant, made with full legs that were tied in at the ankle.


Another name for this type of oriental harem pants was jupe-pantalon (trouser-skirt). Because Western women didn’t usually wear trousers this type of harem pants were thought to be controversial.

 Being a designer Poiret used explicit exoticism and references to Middle Eastern styles in his collection, which made a connotation to harems and sultans. This idea of his was met with disagreement by some people because they thought it was rather immoral and overly sexualised.

 harem pants

Poiret defended his position by saying that the reason why he designed these Oriental style harem pants for women was to help every woman demonstrate a harmony of feminine body proportions and also allow her the freedom to express natural suppleness. This was a moment when Western fashion started to truly challenge the traditional cultural claims in the fashion world.

 Although Poiret was criticised for his fashion invention, some designers after him incorporated this harem pants style in their own collections. Poiret undeniably influenced the fashion world by popularizing harem pants.

The famous designer Jeanne Paquin for instance expressed his  criticism of how harem pants slumped rather than tapered at the ankle unlike the hobble skirt. But later  there was a proof that Paquin's own collections  have been influenced by the new harem pants fashion.


 harem pants


Poiret is  credited with the creation of harem trousers for Western women. But it was the designer Jeanne Margaine-Lacroix who first presented wide-legged trousers in 1910. His colleague the couturier Bourniche also worked on such harem pants styles at the same period.


 harem pants

Harem pants made their gradual reappearance in the 60 and 70s but it was during the 80s when they became the spotlight again. In the late 20th century harem pants started to gain popularity again. Harem pants make their comeback into fashion in the 1980s, when they were described to be a  'costumey' type of clothing. One popular  version of harem pants made popular in the late 1980s is Hammer pants introduced by M. C. Hammer.

Harem pants experienced another rebirth on 2009. Today many celebrities make something of a harem pants promotion by showing us the different ways in which we can wear this amazingly trendy and comfy clothing. Despite its ancient roots harem pants will continue to be part of the world of modern fashion.


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