Pants vs. Trousers


Season 1: Episode 3 — British English vs. American English (BEVAE)

Let me start this episode by sharing a little personal tidbit:

In one of my 178 digital nomadic jobs, I photograph fashion models in a professional studio for designers, e-retailers, publications, and what have you.

The work is certainly exciting. And one crucial aspect of it is — I would have to say — crystal clear communication. That often involves the ability to coach models in their posing during photoshoots in order to explore the best production-specific aesthetic results.

Recently I was on a menswear lookbook production in preparation of a new launch — seasonal changes may be a nightmare for those of us with allergies, but they are definitely one of the best times for the fashion industry. Anyhow, everything on set was going as well as one could hope. It was a relatively fast-paced setting for the most part, and the awesome model managed to adapt to my various instructions in an exceptionally prompt manner. That is until…

Having taken a series of half-bodied shots to highlight different tops, I figured we would move onto some full-bodied shots.

Without much thinking at all — especially since the shoot had been going so smoothly so far — I said to the male model, “Should we also show off your pants in the next one?”

For a split second, there was almost a horror look on the model’s face. “My pants?” He asked.

Of course I just meant taking the next shot in a full-height perspective. But the problem was that this one photoshoot was taking place in London, UK — where pants mean underwear to most people.

Hence the brief moment of “shock.”

Luckily, a second later, we both realized it was just a slight misunderstanding. Plus the model was already very familiar with where I was coming from.

“I mean your trousers. We’ll do some full-bodied shots,” Still, I felt the need to clarify.

The both of us proceeded to laugh about the whole thing a little bit. The rest of the session went by just as smoothly as before.

So, to reiterate the lesson learned:

American English — pants
British English — trousers

To me, this is one of those word variations that I’ve known for a long time, but just haven’t quite become second nature yet. “Pants vs trousers” happens to be one of the more “disaster-prone” differences. I promise I will be more careful in the future.


Now, where’s the comic for today’s episode, you ask? Fret not, here it is:


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See you again next time!