The popularity and acceptance of women wearing pants have a long history. Women were first noticed wearing pants as a function of fashion (and not a necessity) as far back as 1851 when Elizabeth Miller stepped out in bloomer-like pants. These bloomers were worn with skirts and became the first step in advocating for Victorian dress reform. Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn famously wore them at a time when women did not wear trousers.
Their pant style was wide-legged and long and the women who had the moxie to wear these trousers boasted a confidence when they stepped out on the town. Audrey Hepburn wore Hubert de Givenchy’s slim black pant in the 1957 film Funny Face.
However, it wasn’t until the 60s when fashion designer Andre Courreges introduced trousers as a fashion item that pants became ubiquitous in women’s wardrobes. Possibly the most notable change in women’s shift to trousers as a wardrobe staple was in the late 60s when designer Yves Saint Laurent unveiled the Le Smoking jacket, a fitted tuxedo jacket worn with closely tailored pants.
Soon afterwards, in the 70s and 80s, the phrase “power-dressing” became synonymous with getting ahead in a man’s world. That is not the end to the story of pants for women—the end of this story is replete with irony.
Up until January 1995, companies in California could legally prohibit women employees from wearing trousers to work. Think of it, 70 years after women were granted the right to vote, women were allowed the right to wear pants to work—that’s irony for you.
There is something so timeless about the trousers that were worn by Audrey and Katherine. Audrey’s black pencil line pants fit in seamlessly in today’s fashion trend of skinny pants. Katherine’s wide legged trouser has an elegant quality and is just as timeless.
If you are looking for Audrey’s slim pants, look for a pair that does not grab too tightly as to look like a legging (those super skinny pants are doomed to be out of style sooner than later). These pants look best without a break, meaning the inseam should end at the ankle with no fabric bending onto the foot. This length also allows you to wear them with flats or heels.
Katherine’s trouser pant was fitted at the waist and high hip, while the wider silhouette in the thighs hide a multitude of sins. These are best when worn with a close fitting top.
Unfortunately, since this pant does not have the versatility for heel height, you will have to choose between wearing flats or heels when you hem these pants.
It is your right to wear pants, wear them with style!