Breeches ( BRITCH-iz, BREE-chiz) are an article of clothing covering the body from the waist down, with separate coverings for each leg, usually stopping just below the knee, though in some cases reaching to the ankles. The breeches were normally closed and fastened about the leg, along its open seams at varied lengths, and to the knee, by either buttons or by a drawstring, or by one or more straps and buckle or brooches. Formerly a standard item of Western men's clothing, they had fallen out of use by the mid-19th century in favour of trousers.
Modern athletic garments used for English riding and fencing, although called breeches or britches, differ from breeches in ways discussed below. See § Riding breeches and § Fencing breeches.