This terms, of French origin from the late 1820s or early 1830s, defines a culotte with a tight "little boy" leg descending below the crotch and down the thigh, and with a legline above the knee. In older parlance the term is synonymous with the terms pantalon, pantlet, and pantalettes; in the late 1980s parlance it is synonymous with "racer" styles and bicycle pants.
In evolutionary terms the pantaloons legline lies above the capri pants and below the shorts.
Pantaloons also play a major role in the invention of the maillot. The maillot pantaloon silhouettes emerges after 1900, and is among its very first maillot species, with a rich history, evolution, and subsistence that lasts through the 1920s. This story, which involves baring the knee, a relationship with stockings, is detailed in the maillot pantaloon. Closely related is the maillot skirted pantaloon, which emerges after 1910 is a friendly rival to the unskirted version.
n the late 1980s and early 1990s the pantaloons silhouette is reintroduced in the form of a tight-fitting Lycra shorts, also called bicycle pants (KP88GQ), sometime worn with a tanga overtop (CP9338, also KP88GM). The tight-fitting, longer leg culotte also acquires currency for not just exercise and bike riding, but also for streetwear (HU90031, LI90075, LV912, CP9201-11, CP9305, CP9333).
Pantaloons have a legline just above the knee.