Hipsters of the world, take note: Drop-crotch pants were in way before MC Hammer and Justin Bieber wore them.
A German archaeological team recently discovered a pair of pants that were between 3,000 and 3,300 years old on the remains of a man buried in a cemetery in Xinjiang, China. They were made of wool and intricately patterned, according to a report in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Mayke Wagner, who worked on the project, assumes the pants were created in response to a surge in horseback riding.
Wagner fashioned a replica of the trousers. A teammate who tried them said the pants were not suitable for long-distance walking, spurring the investigation into whether they were designed for riding.
Prior to wearing riding pants, people wore skirts or robes, but riders found those pieces of clothing painfully rubbed their lower halves against the horse’s body.
“During normal movements the inner parts of the legs, the crotch and the lower abdomen are not exposed to friction over an extended period of time,” Wagner told NewScientist. “This only becomes an issue when straddling a horse daily.”
The need for skin protection led to the development of pants — specifically, ones with a wide crotch area that hangs lower than typical trousers. The pants have straight legs and look similar to those frequently worn by Justin Bieber.