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I doubt they originated in the 1820s -- this illustration doesn't really seem to be from the 1820's: commons:Image:Confectioners-pantalettes-1810s-woodcut.png Churchh 19:10, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

You're right, definitely pre-1820s! And while we're talking, do you have a source that can confirm that ladies wore trousers or sturdy pantalettes under the petticoats of riding habits? I can't find a reliable source. - PKM 02:40, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I really don't know, but theoretically, I imagine it might sometimes save embarassment, since women kind of had to lift and carry part of the outer skirts of the habit to be able to walk any distance. Churchh 07:56, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

P.S. Here's an illustration of a woman holding up her riding habit (a rather weird fashion plate of 1842); I don't know what the side view would have been... Churchh 14:43, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Riding habit contrast, La Mode, 1842