Today is International Women’s Day. In celebration of this day, I want to thank a couple of historic women – the women who were courageous enough to buck the dress and wear some pants. Yes, I mean trousers. Like these women:
- In the 1960s, André Courrèges introduced jeans for women, leading to the era of designer jeans.
- In 1969 Rep. Charlotte Reid (R-Ill.) became the first woman to wear trousers in the U.S. Congress.
- Pat Nixon was the first American First Lady to wear trousers in public.
- In 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 declared that dresses could not be required of girls. Dress codes thus changed in public schools across the United States.
- In 1989 California state senator Rebecca Morgan became the first woman to wear trousers in a U.S. state senate.
- Hillary Clinton was the first woman to wear trousers in an official U.S. First Lady portrait.
- Women were not allowed to wear trousers on the U.S. Senate floor until 1993. In 1993, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Carol Moseley Braun wore trousers onto the floor in defiance of the rule, and female support staff followed soon after, with the rule being amended later that year by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Martha Pope to allow women to wear trousers on the floor so long as they also wore a jacket.
- In 2016 British Airways finally agreed to let flight attendants wear pants to work.
- And, even in 2017, a newscaster was criticized publicly for wearing a pant suit on camera.
As a young lawyer 25 years ago, practicing in a small Texas county, it was extremely frowned upon for women lawyers to wear pants to court. I remember the first woman lawyer in my small county to wear pants. She was from Dallas and came to town for a big case. Everyone was talking about it. It was a light blue pant suit with a nice tailored jacket. She opened the door and gave the rest of us permission to wear them when we wanted.
Here’s an article about First Ladies Wearing Pants.
Here’s an article from Time Magazine about Hillary Clinton’s pants in her Presidential campaign.
Link to First Lady portraits. Hillary Clinton’s official portrait in pants is at picture #42.
And, hat tip to Ann Taylor and her brilliant line of pants to fit all women’s body styles – there’s a summary of the history of women and pants over there and that is what inspired this post.