Woman Wearing Trousers

Who Wears the Pants?

We might be forgiven for thinking that wearing trousers or pants is a relatively new thing for women’s fashion, but it actually goes way back. Let me tell you more…

The wearing of pants in Western culture generally probably arose with the equestrian warrior cultures, where an oul tunic or robe just wasn’t cutting it for the folk up on the horses. The Greek historian Herodotus mentions the Amazons (yes, like Wonder Woman – but also probably actual female warriors of Greek mythology) were clad in trousers and we’ve an image of an Amazon depicted on a vessel in 470 BC who is obviously wearing pants.


Our own Celtic people wore them, while the Ancient Greeks and Romans equated the wearing of trousers with savagery and referred to trouser clad people as barbarians, with the Irish specifically being called the “wild people”. We can be a little wild, in fairness.

The crackdown happened in the 1800s – various American cities passed laws that barred women from wearing trousers. Check the 1863 law passed by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors that made it a criminal offence to appear in public in “dress not belonging to his or her sex”, with similar laws in Ohio (1848), Illinois (1851), Texas (1864); Florida (1907), and around two dozen other US cities. This continued up to 1974 in Cincinnati, Ohio. And of course it wasn’t just the States, UK laws and social ‘standards’ were in effect here which similarly restricted our own women folk from wearing what we wanted.

It wasn’t generally acceptable for women to wear for business or dress occasions until the 1960s and 70s, but designer Coco Chanel (who loved wearing pants herself, often dressing in her boyfriend’s suits) had gotten ahead of the game by designing pants for women to wear while doing sports and other activities. In 1969, Barbara Streisand became the first woman to attend the Oscars in pants, and in 1972, Pat Nixon was the first American First Lady to model pants in a national magazine.

In the 1970s, trousers became quite fashionable for women. Jane Fonda, Diana Ross, Katharine Hepburn, Tatum O’Neal, and Diane Keaton all helped to popularize the wearing of pants, appearing at high-profile awards ceremonies dressed in suits or pants ensembles.

It’s not so very long ago that we weren’t allowed to wear the pants… but do you want to? I mean, if it’s good enough for Wonder Woman and our wild Irish ancestors, we can rock out in trousers for the family occasions we have coming up. Doesn’t it sound good to be able to ditch the worrying about tights or leg tans?

At Redlane we have a whole range of trousers that will suit you down to the ground for your special event – all colours, all styles, all body shapes.

Why not have a look online, get on the phone for a quick consult, or call in to us sure in Tramore, for some top quality professional, personalised style advice?!


Take a Look at our Great Selection of Trousers in stock Now… 

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