Understanding the difference between Thai pants, harem pants and sarouel pants.

by Hippie Pants on May 11, 2015

It is easy to get confused about what we mean when we refer to Thai pants. Many people have not visited Thailand before and are not sure whether this term applies to all pants coming from Thailand, a specific style or region or something else entirely!

In this post we will look at the terms which often cause confusion and try to explain what each means in a clear way. After reading this you will be able to recognise different styles and never get confused again!


What are Thai pants?

These trousers are a full style pant from Asia that are gathered at both the waist and the ankle with characteristic ballooning legs. Harem pants are usually made of lightweight fabrics. In English they can sometimes be called genie pants, Aladdin pants or parachute pants. Sometimes they may even be called balloon pants

Original Harem Pants

The original trousers were introduced to Western fashion by Paul Poiret around 1910. Poiret wanted to reinvent and 'liberate' Western female fashion. They made a comeback in recent times and have recently been worn by such world icons as Justin Blieber and South Korean rapper Psy.

Also Known As: shalwar (South Asia), sharovary (Ukraine), ṣalvar (from Turkey)

Ottoman-style Shalvar in Syria

Are Sarouel Pants the same?

The main difference is that Sarouel trousers have a specific origin in North Africa. They seem to have been introduced to Europe by 19th-century male French-military recruits, who opted for the loose and airy trousers in the deserts of Africa and then brought them back home.

French military recruit wearing sarouel pants

It is understandable to confuse the two as the style is very similar to harem pants with some minor differences in detail and history. Sarouel pants traditionally have a drawstring at the top and, though Western versions exist for women, they are normally worn by men in North Africa and the Middle East.


What about Thai pants then?

When we talk about Thai pants we refer to typical and traditional Thai dress. The harem pants on this site are Thai harem pants and will often include designs which are inspired by traditional thai symbology as well as contemporary symbols. Likewise the colours that are predominant in Thai trousers are unique to the region and have a deep cultural significance. They are directly inspired by the tribal clothing of the Northern mountain regions of the country.

Other trousers you will find on our site are not harem in style but these may still be considered Thai pants too. The keen student of Thai culture will recognise traditional elements present in shape, color and style.

To explore all of our styles please visit www.hippie-pants.com



Hippie Pants

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