‘Illegal’ Pants

Once upon a time a woman wearing trousers was considered outrageous and shocking. It was even considered a crime! In 1919, a woman named Luisa Capetillo became the first woman in Puerto Rico to wear trousers in public. For this Capetillo got sent to jail  but the judge later dropped the charges against her.
Some crazy facts;  – In 2013, Turkey’s parliament ended a ban on women lawmakers wearing trousers in its assembly. – Women were not allowed to wear trousers on the U.S. Senate floor until 1993. – Hillary Clinton was the first woman to wear trousers in an official U.S. First Lady portrait.

The Palazzo pant is very similar to the pant from the 1930s avant-garde fashion era, worn by women such as Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. Women who refused to follow the norm. But the idea that pants equal male-only outfit was a tenacious one. The Palazzo pant became popular in the late 1960s, with a similar story as the one of the culotte. It came to life as camouflage for women who wanted to wear pants but still look as if they were wearing a skirt, hence the wide leg that flares out from the waist. In the 60s women wearing pants were still considered inappropriate and several restaurants refused to admit women in trousers. Some females opted for the Palazzo pant or the culotte to get by silly rules like that.

Where I grew up, in northern Norway, there were a conservative Lutheran revival movement called Laestadianism. It’s the biggest revivalist movement in the Nordic countries. They attend the same church as ‘regular’ Christians but have strict rules about a lot of things. I don’t know if this has changed with time, and I now live in the middle of Norway where this movement is not common. But back then back north, females from this movement had to wear skirts and  braid their hair, no matter what. I recall every winter our school went on mandatory ski trips, and no matter the weather and no matter the activity these girls came wearing skirts. I hope this attitude against women in pants has now vanished from this world, but I kinda doubt that it has….yet. It’s a scary and strange thought that none of this is really that long ago. Something to ponder upon!Palazzo pants

 

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