With a surprisingly long past, women's pants have been part of fashion history for thousands of years. Fast forward to today, and we have a female presidential candidate with a much-noted penchant for pants and pantsuits. They have long been favorites of Hillary Clinton, and for good reason. After all, they're a comfortable choice given that she operates in a mostly male political arena. By the way, did you know that today is HRC's birthday? Given this world-changing date, it's the perfect time to delve into the wonderful empowering history of womens' pants.
• into the Algarve Sun • Mouche sporting the iconic Yves Saint Laurent suit in the blinding white maze-paths of Loule. Photographed by #normanparkinson and styled by #gracecoddington this photograph first appeared in Vogue, January 1973. #vintagevogue @norman_parkinson_archive @therealgracecoddington
Coco Chanel was a big champion of unrestrictive womenswear, and she debuted wide legged trousers in the 1920s. Pants continued into the 1930s, when they were popularized by actresses Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn. When women took on factory jobs during the WWII era, they became an indispensable parts of their work uniforms. It wasn't until the 1970s though, when the full potential of pants was realized. This was when pants became synonymous with women climbing corporate ranks into men's worlds and breaking through infamous glass ceilings. At the time, Yves St. Laurent was uniquely poised to lead the couture charge for bifurcated womenswear. It was he who introduced the first true women's pantsuit called Le Smoking in 1966. As more women began opting for pants in the 1970s, YSL began getting credit for inventing the look.
Individual, but clearly part of a group, #yvessaintlaurent and a flock of #rivegauche clad models stride confidently towards us. Photographed by #jeanlucehuré in 1972, their clothes express laid-back Parisian chic - wide legged pants, fluid skirts and slouchy jackets - that recall earlier (and future) incarnations of this sleek style. #1970sfashion #dresshistory #fashionhistory #fashionstudies #vintagefashion #yslrivegauche #ysl #parisfashion @wwd A photo posted by Documenting Fashion Blog (@documentingfashion_courtauld) on
When workplaces went business casual in the 1990s, pantsuits gave way to mix and match separates. Though matchy-matchy suits aren't typical workplace requirements anymore, pantsuits still deserve credit for their roles in female empowerment over the past few decades. So, in light of this presidential season and in honor of how far women have come, we declare: POWER TO THE PANTS!
Let us know! What is your fashion history moment for women's pants? Ours, by the way, is Annie Hall.
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