1

Simply:

what do you call these pants? Maybe knickers?

7

This style ending around the calf is called capri pants. Another type that ends above the ankle is called flood pants. A similar style from the 1950's is called pedal pushers, and an even older style is called knickerbockers. Most generally, these are all types of three-quarter pants.

5

The standard British term is Pedal Pushers:

calf-length trousers or jeans worn by women

Fashion items have a whole variety of names to embrace the subtlety of variations in length and design, which probably extend beyond a plain language issue. Because of fashion we also find them called capri pant, leggings and a whole variety of other synonyms.

As a side note, in British English, both the words pants and knickers would refer to undergarments.

In historical times, a similar garment might be called knickerbockers but that word is almost exclusively used for historical costumes.

  • As a BrEng speaker in my 20s, I would use neither "pedal pushers" nor "knickerbockers". I've heard of both terms, but both seem so dated to me that I'm not even aware of their definitions. – James Webster Oct 20 '15 at 14:55

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