Breeches are a style of mens pants. The word breech can be traced back to approximately 1200 AD - although at that time breeches was a term used for undergarments. It was not until the 16th century that the word breeches became associated with a style of mens pants.
While there is some variety in the styling of breeches, they are most commonly knee length (though ankle length breeches do exist) and quite form fitting. They could be described as a mix between tigher fitted knickerbockers and capri pants. Breeches are held tightly closed at the knee or ankle by buttons, straps or laces. Some breeches even make use of these fasteners to tighten the pant legs up the entire length of the leg.
Between the 16th and 19th centuries, breeches played a role in the ceremonies surrounding the maturing of young boys. A ceremony known as breeching was conducted for a boy when it was time for him to replace the frock typically worn by young boys with his first pair of pants. This was a European tradition and typically to place between the ages of 2 and 8.