Pants and women's struggle for recognition

Pants and women’s struggle for recognition

Share Button

Nothing more commonplace today than a lot of people wearing pants. In an impressive variety of designs, colors and materials, the comfortable pants were a highly coveted piece of clothing for women who have fought hard for the right to wear. Political connotation of the pants seems that can not be separated from the rise of feminism, at which contributed significantly the american film divas.

The earliest evidence of pants are from the paleolithic. Figurines found in archaeological sites testify that both women and men used to put on them outfits that seem to resemble pants, if we follow the cave paintings discovered until today.

In Rome, however, fashionable was toga, and pants were considered the hallmark of barbarians. With the expansion of the empire to the colder regions, pants are accepted as alternative clothing. Two types of pants come to be worn in Rome: some for women, whose cut is compact and reaching to mid calf, and some for men, of a length that reaches the ankles. It seems that both models were imported from the Celts, who have assimilated them from the Persians. The materials which were made of ranged from cotton and silk to wool.

Pants, Russian imperial modernization tool

It is unclear when the product specialization clothing accured, pants entering the exclusive property of men. Some historians link this moment to the appearance and imposing different religions, which would been indicated appropriate dress codes, depending on gender. What is known with certainty, however, is that in medieval Byzantium people wore pants under long coats, as well as members of the tartar tribes who crossed Europe at the time.

In the eighth century was wore even two layers of pants, especially among the propertied classes. The first layer consisted of what today we would call indispensable, and the second, another pair of pants made of wool or linen.

In medieval Korea, the first records of pants dates from the fifteenth century, but the pants were wored by both sexes long before. If for a man was not unusual to appear in public only in pants, women always add a dress over them.

Peter the Great used the pants to modernize Russia. He passed a law in 1701, which obliged every Russian who was not a clergyman or farm worker to wear pants.

From the close-fitting pants to pantaloons

During the French Revolution, the protesters have adopted a suit of the “working class”, which included long pants (or pantaloons, inspired by commedia dell’arte and the character named Pantalone), in contrast to the knee ones, worn by nobles. New revolutionaries clothing differ significantly from that of the noble class of the Old Regime, but two were the most important features: long pants were wide, while pants wored before were tight-fitting. Also, new pants came down to the ankles, while tight-fitting pants reached only to the knees.

According to researchers, this fashion was introduced in England in the early nineteenth century and, by mid-century, replaced the breeches paants as street fashion. Breeches survived until the twentieth century as yard clothing or three quarters version, known as overalls, pants worn by athlets and students. Certain forms of breeches or shorts are the typical baseball costume or american football today.

Those who may have been an esential role in spreading the fashion worldwide are sailors. By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, sailors wore baggy pants called galligaskins.

Women’s attack at men pants

In 1800, the prefecture of Paris issued a decree under which it was forbidden for women to wear pants. They could do it if they had special permission, otherwise the risk were theirs, write frenchwoman Christine Bard, author of the book political history of the pants, cited by AFP.

It seems that the rule has stood for a long time, at least theoretically. The author describes in her book the women fight for the right to wear pants, shows that they “were not only a sign of male power, but also the separation of the genders. A woman who were wearing pants was accused of violating the dress code “.

The ban did nothing but to strengthen some representatives of the fair sex, as the writer George Sand,  which is Aurore Dupin Dudevant (1804-1876), a rebellious romantic, determined to trample all taboos of a society frozen in hypocrisy. She dressed men’s clothes, including vest and tie, rode a horse, or smoked hookah or  cigars and warred with the prejudices of men. In turn, the actress Sarah Bernhardt was, in 1890, the first woman who marched in pants through Paris, defying the authorities.

1920: Coco Chanel impose flare pants

After World War I, slowly, women enter the labor market. Therefore, they needed proper clothing for new occupations. With an uncommon common sense and a business instinct same, Coco Chanel splay out on the market the flare pants . It happened in 1920, and the model was that of the Venetian gondoliers, that the famous milliner had seen after a trip to the historic city of canals and bridges.

Ten years later, american film divas appeared on the screen dressed in pajama pants, giving a new impetus to the fight for the appropriation pants. Actresses like Marlene Dietrich took also part of the endeavor to break the monopoly of men over pants. In 1933, in Hollywood the famous german actress contributed greatly to “erotization” of pants and their transformation into a woman’s fatal weapon.

Neither Katherine Hepburn was simply outdone, giving to wide pants, worn in movies like “Bringing Up Baby” (1938) and “Philadelphia Story” (1940), its pugnacious style brand, ”boyish” and at the same time, pampered – a style very suitable for her unconventional way to behave not only on the big screen, but also in everyday life, when she struggled with the representatives of movie studios, with film directors and even with movies partners, took the form of sensationalist titles of first page.

Pants, finally accepted as part of the women working uniform

The years of World War II bring women in factories, instead their husbands went on the front. Some were wearing the men overalls, but as the years passed and conflagration continued, the acceptance of pants as uniform part of working women has become a common sense idea.

1950 feminizes somehow the pants for women and leaves the ankle in sight. The trend that is graceful imposing, is Audrey Hepburn, who is often seen wearing those pants along with a long cigarette and sunglasses.

Another step forward was made in 1966 when designer Yves Saint Laurent has made a special evening suit for women. But bot the women’s right to wear pants was important, but their right to choose, says Bard, adding that the next frontier is the man’s right to wear a skirt.

But only in 1970 the society was prepared entirely to leave for women the right to dress as they wish. It’s time for the hippie movement, the nonconformist look and rebellious attitude. Pants hit the ground with their length and become an indicator of progress in women’s struggle for equality. Since then, western women have entered entirely in the world of male fashion, a sign of the rise on the social ladder and victories in the race for control and influence. Domination and power dreesed women in men’s suits, to make less stinging the defeat of a system of social control fully controlled until recently, by men. Maybe that’s why seems more understandable (and acceptable) a woman in a suit with vest and tie, instead of a man with crinoline dress and veil. After all, men wouldn’t have another reason to violate the dress code than that of transsexuality, while the woman who dresses as a man wants, first, to show that has the control and warns that she’s willing to apply the rules of war learned from men.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.