For example, these dapper outfits:

enter image description here (Credit History Bunker)

What purpose does the extra volume down to the knee serve? Why don't modern pilots wear similar jodhpurs?

  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Are you sure they're not just the style of the day? More specifically, the military style, and that many pilots may have been serving or ex-military? $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    May 17, 2019 at 9:55
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Because you can't touch this. $\endgroup$
    – Strawberry
    May 17, 2019 at 16:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Jamiec Clearly OP is not sure .... I assume that's why they're asking ;) $\endgroup$
    – user91988
    May 17, 2019 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ Classy looking pants. $\endgroup$
    – PJNoes
    May 17, 2019 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ "It's called fashion, look it up" - fashion blogger Nicky Ottav, $\endgroup$
    – Criggie
    May 18, 2019 at 1:18

1 Answer 1


It's not too hard to figure out. Wikipedia says Jodhpurs originated from India where they were part fashion and part practicality (the loose fit in the upper half for horse riding comfort) and evolved into the uniform of most western cavalry officers by the turn of the century.

And, in WWI, where did most, or at least a lot, of the pilots come from in the early days? Cavalry.

  • $\begingroup$ Jodpurs are tight-fitting. Those in the question are "plus-fours", I think. $\endgroup$
    – pjc50
    May 17, 2019 at 15:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @pjc50 Modern jodhpurs are tight fitting, but unlike the original design they are made of stretch fabric. $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    May 17, 2019 at 16:28
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The fact that you spend a lot of time sitting with knees bent both on a horse and in a plane may be relevant $\endgroup$ May 17, 2019 at 19:09
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @pjc50: Those are not plus-fours. Plus-fours are breeches or trousers that extend 4 inches below the knee. $\endgroup$
    – TonyK
    May 17, 2019 at 19:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Convincing but condescending. Accepted. Never change, StackExchange. $\endgroup$ May 18, 2019 at 18:48

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