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Bondage pants or bondage trousers are trousers with superfluous zippers, straps, chains, rings and buckles, giving an appearance of a BDSM style. Their name comes not from the fact they are tight, but because they come with long straps on them, which can be hooked onto the many rings on the pants (or onto someone else's bondage trousers). They come in a variety of colors and patterns; one of the most common patterns being tartan. They also come in a variety of styles, including tight or baggy, long, short or Capri.
They have mainly been worn by members of youth subcultures, including punks, ravers, goths,scene kids and indies. Although many people consider these pants an element of fetish wear, many early punks have said the origins of the pants were from homeless people who put straps on their pants so they could hold on to a train. They were popularized by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren in the 1970s punk subculture. The pants are sold by several retailers, including Hot Topic. The clothing company Tripp NYC produces a baggy version of bondage trousers for both men and women. The men's variety tend to feature baggier legs, larger pockets and more metal details such as chains, skulls, mock handcuffs and D-rings while the women's styles are usually more tailored and have less metal hardware decoration than the men's styles but occasionally have details of lace, ribbon or tartan making them seem more feminine. The more popular of the pants seems to be the 'original' black style, with white stitching, although different colored versions including white, hot pink, blue and green have been made with equally varied colors of stitching.
There has been some controversy at certain schools in the United States about the bondage pants being a danger to school property and also for supposed sexual inappropriateness, even to the extent of banning the pants. The pants first appeared in British slums, worn by the homeless. Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood mass made them for their boutique SEX, which sold punk and fetish clothing. These original bondage pants were usually plaid or tartan, and were looser-fit. They had zippers on the thighs and calves of the back of each pant leg, and a strap that you could adjust with buckles a little bit below the knee. they also came with bumflaps. They became popular when worn by bands such as Sex Pistols and The Clash. The popularity grew in the 1980s, by then, they were usually worn without bumflaps and had more straps and superfluous zippers and D-Rings. They also became much more common in black and red, or split leg colors. In the 1990s, the pants were made on a much larger scale by Tripp NYC, but the variation had very wide legs (although slim leg pants are also made by Tripp). Now, bondage pants are identified not only with the Punk subculture, but also with Goths, Nu-Metal, and Mods.