The Difference Between Jeans and Basic Pants

difference between pants vs jeans

You probably refer to several things in your closet as either jeans or pants, but what’s the actual difference? Are jeans pants? What makes jeans... jeans? What other garments fit into these categories or labels? Does it matter? It does! Especially when shopping online. The more you know about the clothes you buy, the better chance you’ll have of finding what you actually want when searching through the thousands and thousands of options thrown at you on the internet.

We will discuss the definition of pants and jeans and how they differ. Spoiler alert: there are many different types of pants!

If you’re ready to shop for jeans, check out  our denim collection here.

Other pants? You can find pants for women here, or  click here for men’s pants.

What are jeans?

 Let’s start with a fun history lesson with which can impress your friends! The phrase “blue jeans” is older than denim. That’s because it referred to a type of material called “jeans” worn by people for hundreds of years before for pants, skirts, dresses, and more.

When French fabric weavers wanted to make a similar textile to the Italian jean, they ended up with something more durable and rugged. They had created denim fabric, the material that the jeans you know are made from today. Then in the late 19th century, along came Davis and Strauss, who patented the term “blue jeans.” Blue jeans eventually became what we wear today, mostly, with reinforced pockets, rugged design, and rivets.

 Blue jeans were not originally a fashion statement or casual daily garment. They were created for miners, and some collectors will pay a good amount for the pairs of jeans still found occasionally near old mining areas. Denim is a very long-lasting material. 

 In the 1950s, with the emergence of teen culture (think James Dean in a white t-shirt and blue jeans and “greasers.”), and more relaxed fashions for post-war adults, jeans became a part of everyday life.

From this trip down memory lane, we can see that jeans are a specific item. They are made of denim. They usually have reinforced pockets and traditionally have copper rivets.

Of course, after those characteristics, the similarities become less important as there have been and still are so many types and styles of jeans. Men’s jeans or women’s jeans? Slim fit jeans, skinny, cropped, relaxed, black, blue, red, baggy, low-rise, high-rise, etc. They are still jeans with the essential things in common.

 So, are jeans pants?

What are pants?

The word “pants” or “pant” comes from a popular character, Pantalone, in old European comedy tropes who was known for his long trousers. To be considered pants to most, a garment must cover the legs (separately) from at least the waist to below the knees. Depending on age and region, you may hear them referred to as other things. For instance, Americans call legged garments pants, while many British people call them trousers or slacks, leaving “pants” for underwear. Other than that, these terms are used relatively interchangeably in the western world.

 But what about jeans, then? Jeans are a type of pants.

 Yes, denim jeans in all their variations are types of pants.

 They fit the bill by covering each leg separately from the waist to usually below the knee or ankle. So, jeans fit under the umbrella category of pants, but not all people would include jeans when they mean pants. For instance, someone born before jeans became mainstream who tells you to put on a nice shirt and a pair of pants for the family get-together might be surprised if you choose jeans. To some, jeans are to be specified and aren’t appropriate for all occasions, like work, funerals, church, etc. To many others, denim jeans can be worn in any setting with the right accessories. This varies across demographics, of course. But, in the end, and regardless of fashion or cultural preferences, jeans are, by definition, pants.

Pants go way beyond jeans, though. At Back2Basics, we have a wide variety just in our shop alone. Today, pants are created for many different body types, styles, and expressions of self. We’re a more casual society than we once were, and expressing yourself through fashion is widely more accepted in many areas, so there are many, many more styles of pants than existed even a few decades ago.

For instance, if you search for “pants” online, you will get an overwhelming number of options. Do you want khakis or corduroys? Twill? Boot cut, skinny jeans, or some other type of leg opening? Chinos? What about just casual wear? Sweatpants, joggers, yoga pants, etc., are just a few options in that category. You’ll have to narrow it down to your style and comfort options, even just in dress pants. 

This is all a good thing! We’re not complaining. We love that there are so many options for so many bodies these days! But it’s just a few examples of how “pants” covers so many garments, and jeans are just one of them.

Of course, this doesn’t even touch on the other garments out there that fit under the “bottoms” label. That’s a lesson for another day!

What types of pants are you looking for?

So now that we’ve touched on the main difference between jeans and basic pants, we’d love to help you find your next pair. Back2Basics only carries high-quality casual basics from high-end brands like Leallo, Aviator, and more. We’re constantly adding more items and sharing new brands, but here are a few pants options to get you started. These are some of our most popular items.

For the extremely on-trend but super casual jogger, try the Rhone Commuter Jogger. Many consider this jogger the jogger pant for dressing up and down and wearing day to night.

You’ll find even more casual men’s pants here.

If you’re looking for the basic must-have women’s black workout pants, look no further than these Jonah Brown The Sport Leggings.

For cute women’s sweats, you’ll want to live in, click here for our collections of high-end sweatpants.

Browse our store for high-end everyday wear for men, women, and children who want quality casual wear clothes that look as good as they feel.