Chaps ( or ) are sturdy coverings for the legs consisting of leggings and a belt. They are buckled on over trousers with the chaps’ integrated belt, but unlike trousers they have no seat and are not joined at the crotch. They are designed to provide protection for the legs and are usually made of leather or a leather-like material. They are most commonly associated with the cowboy culture of the American west as a protective garment to be used when riding a horse through brushy terrain. In the modern world, they are worn for both practical work purposes and for exhibition or show use.
Well, it may have begun with the cowboys, but increasingly, it is becoming a part of gay clothing, especially as it has a lot of leather (yum!) and allows a gay man to “display his wares”.
A 2004, somewhat innocent definition from Urban Dictionary
A popular pair of leather pants that motorcyclists wear. As the name says, they are assless, making it easier to advertise at biker bars.
How did Assless Chaps Originate?
The earliest form of protective leather garment used by mounted riders who herded cattle in Spain and Mexico were called armas,
which meant “shields.” The time of actual appearance of the garment on American cowboys is uncertain. By the late 1870s, however, most Texas cowboys wore them. The word chaps
is a clip
, which are Mexican Spanish words for this garment, ultimately derived from Spanish chaparro.
Motorcycle chaps are usually made of leather with the smooth side out, and generally provide all-around protection for the leg and have side zippers to allow them to be put on easily. They are popular in the biker subculture, providing protection from the wind and cold as well as partial protection from cuts and scrapes in the event of a fall to the roadway.
Chaps are also popular in fetish fashion and the leather subculture, where they often are tightly fitted and worn without jeans or other garments layered beneath them other than a codpiece. They can be made of leather, patent leather, or vinyl and are worn for decoration serving no protective purpose. Worn in this manner, they are colloquially referred to as “assless” chaps, despite the redundancy of the term.
So, who can wear them?
Well, maybe not this guy.