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#1
Old 05-24-2013, 01:22 PM
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What is the difference between slacks and pants? (Women's clothing in particular)

I was talking to a clothing/costume designer who told me that slacks and pants mean different things, especially when talking about women's clothes.

I had to dash, and couldn't finish talking with him.

Any thoughts?
#2
Old 05-24-2013, 01:50 PM
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I don't know what the clothing designer had in mind, but to me, pants are a general term for the garment. Slacks are only the more formal type, that you would wear to an office job or a nicer party. Jeans are pants, but not slacks; same with sweatpants, yoga pants, and so on.
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#3
Old 05-24-2013, 02:41 PM
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Perusing various online resources, I find no common agreement of what slacks are compared to pants and trousers. The sources contradict each other when they get specific, or, they just equate slacks with pants and trousers.

The way I understand 'slacks' coming from the greater NYC area is that they are pants (which I use as the most generic term) which are loose fitting but straight and they go down to the ankles. They are generally a light-weight fabric that flows when you walk. They generally have a permanent front seam. IOW, the kind of pants you wear with a suit, although, incredibly, one online definition called 'slacks' a casual pant. Perhaps casual in the sense that you can wear them without a suit jacket in non-traditional colors. Women's slacks generally have no pockets, though the current trend is to give women pockets more so than in the past.

This definition leaves out shorts, capris, jeans, flared pants, work/construction/painter pants, or anything tight or skinny.
#4
Old 05-24-2013, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
What is the difference between slacks and pants?
$100.
#5
Old 05-24-2013, 04:09 PM
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Generally, the snootiness level of the one so wearing.
#6
Old 05-24-2013, 06:00 PM
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My grandma calls all pants "slacks". I use that word a lot less, only for your most formal pants, like something you would wear as part of a pantsuit.
#7
Old 05-25-2013, 12:09 AM
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Pants are underwear.
#8
Old 05-25-2013, 12:12 AM
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In my mind, slacks are not casual wear. You wear jogging pants, jeans, and khakis when you're hanging out and chilling. But you lay out the slacks for work and church.

Unless you're of a certain age. Then you wear slacks all the time.
#9
Old 05-25-2013, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Pants are underwear.
Let me guess... are you in the UK?
#10
Old 05-25-2013, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by moriah View Post
Let me guess... are you in the UK?
No.
#11
Old 05-25-2013, 01:37 PM
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Pants are underwear in the UK, in some Commonwealth countries, and some former colonies. Think of it as being short for underpants. In fact the word pants is a mild negative in UK usage: "This is a bit pants, isn't it?"

Cue Americans being amazed that the rest of the English speaking world doesn't just slavishly adopt American usage.

ETA: I'm not in (or from) the UK either.

Last edited by Shakester; 05-25-2013 at 01:39 PM.
#12
Old 05-25-2013, 01:41 PM
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Can you give a quick context or dialogue using "that's a bit pants?" Also, is it a newish expression?

Signed,
A Yank
#13
Old 05-25-2013, 01:55 PM
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That's a bit pants.
#14
Old 05-25-2013, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
In fact the word pants is a mild negative in UK usage: "This is a bit pants, isn't it?"
Poor, poor parts of the English-speaking world that hasn't yet completely sexualized underwear as a fetishistic device and still thinks of it in its utilitarian role as covering up the dirty bits.

In the US, underpants are hot. Its only until they're soiled that they become 'dirty underwear' and even then, for a few, that's hotter.
#15
Old 05-25-2013, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Unless you're of a certain age. Then you wear slacks all the time.
This. In my family, slacks are to pants what dungarees are to jeans or what a victrola is to an ipod.
#16
Old 05-26-2013, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
Pants are underwear in the UK, in some Commonwealth countries, and some former colonies. Think of it as being short for underpants.
So you wear pants under your pants?

Yo dawg...
#17
Old 05-26-2013, 07:06 AM
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To go back to the OP, one thing to consider is whether or not they are lined. Lined pants are always slacks. I've had non-lined pants I would also call slacks, but if someone told me "Go get me the slacks out of that pile of pants", the first thing I would look for is one lined pair.
#18
Old 05-26-2013, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aNewLeaf View Post
So you wear pants under your pants?

Yo dawg...
I wear pants under my trousers, which is where they're supposed to be, unless you're a superhero.
#19
Old 05-26-2013, 10:59 AM
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Here's the difference:

I wear pants. My dad wore slacks.

In addition:

My grandfather wore trousers. My great-grandfather wore britches.
#20
Old 05-26-2013, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Pants are underwear.
In Bananas, the Generalissimo declared everyone shall change their underwear daily, and will wear them outside their pants (American style) so the authorities will know.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 05-26-2013 at 11:08 AM.
#21
Old 05-26-2013, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
To go back to the OP, one thing to consider is whether or not they are lined. Lined pants are always slacks. I've had non-lined pants I would also call slacks, but if someone told me "Go get me the slacks out of that pile of pants", the first thing I would look for is one lined pair.
Agree with this. A couple of other things, construction-wise:

If the waistband is made out of two pieces of fabric instead of one, probably slacks.

If the stitching at the hemline is visible, probably not slacks.
#22
Old 05-26-2013, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shakester View Post
I wear pants under my trousers, which is where they're supposed to be, unless you're a superhero.
Actually, a superhero would wear underpants under his pants (no good superhero's goin commando), then underpants over his pants, then trousers over those outer underpants for sake of his secret identity.

Man, they must get swamp crotch somthin fierce. No wonder Superman lives at the north pole. (south pole post crisis)
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