For wearing only trousers, defying traditional notions of female dress, many women were maligned, ridiculed, scorned, assaulted and even arrested. At present, such heinous acts will create a wave of protest. However, during the nineteenth century, and into the twentieth, the garment was an unmistakable symbol of oppressive male power in the West. In fact, anyone who dared to wear it was accused of transvestment because it violated the gender norms of the time.
Until recently, surprisingly, some laws continued to support this archaic argument. And without going further, it wasn’t until 2013 that a law was passed in France in 1800 prohibiting its use among women; Unless they were cycling or horseback riding. As overlooked for decades, the simple existence of the law demonstrates the difficult path it has had to travel to overcome taboos and sexist traditions.
Undoubtedly, throughout history, the pants have been an indicator of women’s struggle for equality. We owe it all to pioneers like French author George Sand, who wore them in the 19th century with a jacket and tie long before Diane Keaton played Annie Hall in Woody Allen’s 1977 film. or American suffragette Amelia Jenks Bloomer, editor of the first newspaper by and for women, Lilia, from whose pages the Turkish-style bloomers known as ‘bloomers’ were justified at the end of the same century. Without them, millions of women would have been held hostage in a confined cell.
This debate did not gain any new dimension until the 1930s. Coco Chanel praised the pants as a symbol of empowerment and elegance, beyond signing the death certificate of the corset. At the same time, some of its big stars in Hollywood also revolted against this untimely status quo.
Yes, Yves Saint Laurent officially presented his iconic in 1966 presented take smoke, the first tailored suit for women to include pants. But suffice it to remember that in 1930 Marlene Dietrich was already wearing a tuxedo Morocco, her debut on the American big screen. The bisexual scene, in which he kisses another woman, left the audience speechless. Now, if one anecdote completely defined Dietrich’s tenacity, it was the one who starred off-camera in 1933.
While traveling on a seaplane from New York, the actress received a telegram from the Paris Police Prefect. The message was clear: if she showed up in the French capital in men’s pants, she would be arrested immediately. Far from worrying, Dietrich displayed his indomitable character. After docking at Cherbourg, she took a train to Paris wearing a suit, a men’s coat, a beret and sunglasses. Despite the fact that officers were waiting for him on the stage, they did not comply with his threat. A few days later, as an apology, she was presented with a Paul Flato bracelet.
Marlene Dietrich was detained at a train station in Paris in 1933 for violating a ban on women wearing trousers. pic.twitter.com/OXHdduGa7G
— Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) 20 July 2021
Another figure of Seventh Art who turned the pants into her best weapon, also in her 30s, was Katharine Hepburn. Studios like RKO and Metro tried to adapt it to their liking, but they never shied away from it. As he himself said in the 1993 documentary all about me: “I realized long ago that skirts are useless. Every time I hear a man say he likes a woman in a skirt, I tell him: ‘Wear one, wear a skirt. anyway, ahead of time, on time primetime, had already made clear his animosity towards that particular garment. When asked by journalist Barbara Walters in 1981 if she had any in her wardrobe, answered without hesitation: “I have one. I’ll wear it to your funeral.”
Magazine the trend An article published in 1939 titled pant case, where you can read phrases like “And if people accuse you of copying men, ignore it.” Our new pants are irrevocably masculine in their construction, but women have completely made them their own because of the colors they order them in and the accessories they add”. The message, for very different reasons, is World War II. The outbreak did not subside until the same year: women in the United States and the United Kingdom adopted trousers in factories, while their lovers and husbands fought on the front lines.
Although there was a resurgence of tight waistbands in the 1950s, the rise of the feminist movement in the 1960s coincided with the liberation of so-called casual clothing, particularly in the United States. It changed everything. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent or André Cortez adopted it Ready to wear, And jeans for women (as well as miniskirts) occupied the streets of half the world. In keeping with the times, trousers were eventually seen in a showcase as conservative as the red carpet: Barbra Streisand received her first Oscar for her role in 1968 funny girl, in an Arnold Scasi suit filled with see-through black sequins.
Jackie Kennedy deserves special mention. In the early sixties, while serving as first lady, she was dressed in elegant Oleg Cassini or Chanel clothes (here’s the iconic pink two-piece suit) mason Which, unfortunately, is passed down to posterity as being worn on the day of the assassination of John F. Kennedy). But, to the surprise of many, her wardrobe changed radically when she became Mrs. Onassis in 1968. He not only reinvented himself looks like Same summer as puberty, but she was the biggest ambassador for white pants and palazzo pants for the next decade. Away from public scrutiny, she got the freedom to dress as she always wanted. The brotherhood of all the women who preceded him, undoubtedly, made this possible.