Knickerbockers – From Archives To Wardrobes


As The Open Championship approaches, I thought we should get back to the swing of things by opening the vault of style.

Major tournaments like US Open and the Open Championship have been in existence for over a century and in those years we have witnessed a transformation in the way golfers dress. This of course was and still is, influenced by fashion trends from generations to generations.


Back in my childhood days I had specific clothes for specific days or special occasions such as going to church. Since church was once a week, those special clothes would be the ones that last longer. More to that, I was the last in the family so I always got handovers from my older brother. Even his school uniform was passed down to yours truly, regardless the fact that I’ve grown in height. As long as I was able to fasten the trouser button I would have to wear them until they are severely torn apart. I had no choice especially since I had no younger brother then to pass on the inheritance.


So I would be the victim of mockery as I was teased by my fellow friends for wearing what was back then called “¾pants”, those pants were well above the ankles. It was better during the summer period as I would avoid those pants and just go the whole season wearing shorts. As winter approached I had to appeal this hush sentence of wearing these “comic pants” and it was not successful. I tried again and the second time was different as I asked to be bought long socks in assorted colours so they can match the “cropped-by-default” pants. At least from a distance one could be distracted in seeing my shrunk pants.



Later in the years I was granted parole and all thanks to birth of my little brother who had to inherit the historic pants. They had history since they went through generations, it is a pity that we never had the privilege of taking pictures tell the tale.

My little brother only had a little taste of the inheritance, as it was that period when I started getting into the swing of things. Since I was always a fanatic of the classic old-school look of a golfer, I had to go back into the archives to find all those pants. I would then pair them with my long socks, crop and tuck the pants inside the socks just below the knees. In those days I still looked odd in the eyes on my fellow golfing friends, but I was complimented by a lot of senior citizens with my look.


After reading the debut article on the Lifestyle page we should be well aware of the transformations in golf fashion trends. One of the main influence to these innovations was comfort which has led the golf attire looking rather more casual than we’ve ever seen it in the history of the game. Let’s go back into the archives and learn something new about the history of fashion trends. This one particular study was inspired by the story I just shared.


These pants that I wore in my early days on the golf course have a history which is befitting this story. They are called “Knickerbockers or simply Knickers”. These baggy-kneed trousers worn by both men and boys, where popular in the early 20th century in the United States. As much as they were popularly known to be worn by golfers, they were also worn by the skiers before World War II. However for skiers they were longer, going down until just above the ankles similar to those worn by baseball players.


These breeches were originally from the waist to just below the knee in length or rather 2 inches below. They were later lengthen to what was called “plus fours” which was a trend that was introduced by Edward, Prince of Wales. The extended four inches which is about 10 centimetres would give golfers an extra room for flexibility. They became a fashion statement when riding a bicycle in the 1950-60s in Great Britain. This look was synonymous with American professional golfer Payne Stewart who epitomised this classic look with colour and style.


Did you know that the American Football players still wear knickers? …although theirs are slim and tight. It is amazing how we often overlook history and right before our very eyes it greets us back in the present times. Remember Ricky Fowler’s controversial “cropped pants”, that’s another modernization of history.

I hope you enjoyed and learnt something new.

Until next time…

Suitably Yours

Brian Lehang



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5 thoughts on “Knickerbockers – From Archives To Wardrobes

  1. Dope classic right there , I use to think knickerbockers r for ladies only back in the days, now I know the old classic look of the golfers they r the once who rocked it before..

    Thanks for the information


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