I've often wondered why do various uniforms have those "poofs" on the outsides of the legs just above the knee? Was there a particular purpose to this, or a practical reason, or was it just the result of uniform designers saying "Hey, I kinda like poofs."

I think it has also been seen in other areas as well. For example, on the poster/cover for the 1970 movie Patton you can see a similar design, though much more pronounced it seems (though that could just be Hollywood exaggeration).

Image Source (broken)

movie poster for 'Patton'
Image Source

  • 25
    We need a "poofy pants" tag.
    – sealz
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 4:43
  • 10
    If WWII=="medium level violence" , what does the MPAA consider high levels of violence?
    – none
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 0:02
  • 10
    I shouldn't really need to note that Patton was NOT a Nazi.
    – MichaelF
    Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 12:12
  • 14
    "Hey, I kinda like poofs." - British viewers are going to get a good giggle out of that. Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 16:32
  • 9
    @Anixx - as a possible experiment - go into a bar in London, find someone with lively cheerful clothes like a football strip and tell them they look gay.
    – none
    Commented Sep 15, 2012 at 17:36

3 Answers 3


These are jodhpurs, a style of pants developed primarily for horseback riding. Their intent was to allow flexibility in the hip and thigh while the more narrow lower portion worked well with riding boots and didn't get caught up in stirrups.

  • 6
    Derived from traditional Indian riding trousers, hence the name. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodhpurs
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 9:51
  • And as armies mechanized and riding horses into battle disappeared many pre-war horse cavalry officers, Patton for example, still considered themselves cavalry. Others, like the Wehrmacht, thought it looked cool and co-opted the pomp of the "elite" cavalry. Rommel, for example, was an infantry commander before WW2 but definitely took on the cavalry mindset. Fashion was very important to militaries in WW2
    – Schwern
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 22:08

Believe or not but this sort of pants were designed for cavalry in Poland by company Colmex in 1920. Just before Polish - Russian war in 1921. This company still exist in Poland but now is making ge pyjamas . Accidently, few years ago when taking about this topic with grand son ( J. Bonczar)of the creator on this company , he mention that buffing was done for three reason: 1) Mainly because that normal narrow trousers if inserted to high boots were restricting somehow wearer's movement. 2) Also if wearer chose to not insert normal pants into boots then his contact with the horse sides were not as good . 3) Solders like deep and large pockets which buffing allowed.

  • 3
    Do you mean that this style of pants was invented by Colmex or that they simply produced a particular variety of them?
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 10:57
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    Welcome to History:SE. Sources to support your assertions would greatly improve this answer. Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 11:14

The style became associated with the cavalry and as cavalry meant elite, everyone wanted to wear the flares.

  • 3
    What does this add that is not already included in the answer by @jfrankcarr? Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 19:45

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