The top related result for the currently active sexual attractiveness of uniforms question is our old friend the "poofy pants" question. Seeing poofy pants coming back to a sort of prominence ... makes me want to ask if someone can fix the title.

It's not a bad question but Americans may not realise how dumb the title sounds to British ears. "Poofy" and "pants" are each problematic but could probably stand alone (and be correctly mentally translated by a British reader). But combine them in a title and it's ... er ... just terrible. I'm guessing it'd be the equivalent in American English of talking about "faggoty underpants" or "gay boxers".

Could we replace it in the title with "puffy trousers" or "jodhpur style uniform" or something?

But feeling like that, as a Brit, probably makes me the worst person to fix it, so I haven't touched it. And folks are entitled I think to have their "flavour" of English respected and not edited into a different version. In some ways it would be better done by an American. Since I don't want to start a UK English v. American English edit war. Which is why I suggest it here.

Is it also hypercritical of me if I say "What was with..." is hardly a rigorous way to kick off a question, if this is a serious history site?

  • 3
    I haven't been able to find any phrase that is so illustrative. I suspect the author intended some of the cognitive torture you're experiencing. Unfortunately "Jodhpur style" defeats the purpose - only those who don't know what a jodhpur is would ask the question, and "puffy" connotes "quilted". We could replace it with the more judgemental "strange". I think that OP found jodhpurs to be as bizarre as "gay boxers". I don't disagree with you, I just don't know how to effect the improvement.
    – MCW Mod
    Jul 29, 2013 at 14:42
  • mmm ... me neither! partly why i dumped the problem here in meta Jul 29, 2013 at 15:12
  • Maybe we could just IP ban all British viewers from that question and no one would be offended! Problem solved :P
    – Luke_0
    Jul 31, 2013 at 15:58
  • @AmericanLuke hehe! it's not offensive, or at least i don't think so (i can't speak for others). it just looks really silly to a Brit, as if a snickering 12 year-old wrote it. end result is history.se looks a bit shit. Jul 31, 2013 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


I suspect we are going to have issues like this whenever a question tagged comes up. American and British terms for articles of clothing are just completely, irreconcilably (and very often hilariously) different. The "poofy" issue is simply the icing on the metaphorical cake of linguistic misunderstanding. On this side of the pond, that is the word used to describe bits of clothing that billow out unnessecarily.

My suspicion is that the best we can do in such cases is to keep the entire question in one or the other dialect (preferably that of the person asking the question), with perhaps a note in the comments that the question is in American English or British English.

I've added the following comment to the question:

Note to readers: This question was asked in American English, and thus uses its terms for articles of clothing.

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    Note that this issue goes both ways. We Americans will have similar issues the first time someone posts about a man sticking a fag in his braces.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Jul 31, 2013 at 15:03
  • You might want to put that comment in the question itself so it is more visible. No one's going to see the note without expanding all of the comments.
    – Luke_0
    Jul 31, 2013 at 15:54
  • @T.E.D. agree to not butchering someone else's dialect which is why i've kept poofy in my attempted rewrite but reworded it to avoid "poofy pants" together in the title. i've left the main text alone Jul 31, 2013 at 16:39

OK I've had a go at it. Americans ... roll me back into oblivion if it now looks terrible to you chaps.

  • Looks good to me
    – Luke_0
    Jul 31, 2013 at 16:29

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