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The Revolution of Women’s Clothing

The history of fashion is full of transformations that reflect the social, cultural and political changes of each era. Among these transformations, one of the most significant is the adoption of pants by women. Nowadays, it’s common to see women wearing pants on a wide variety of occasions, but it wasn’t always like this. Let’s explore how and when this change occurred and the impact it had on society.

The Prehistory of Pants

Pants have a long history, being worn by different cultures all over the world, mainly by men. However, there is evidence that women from the nomadic tribes of Central Asia wore pants thousands of years ago. These pieces provided freedom of movement, essential for horseback riding and other daily activities.

The 19th Century: First Attempts

It was in the 19th century that the first notable attempts by Western women to wear pants appeared. The pioneering figure of this era was Amelia Bloomer, a women’s rights activist. In the mid-1850s, she popularized a piece of cloth called “bloomers”, which consisted of a short skirt over baggy pants. Although the idea was not widely accepted, it marked the beginning of an important movement.

World War I: Necessity and Practicality

During World War I, many women had to take on traditionally male roles while men were on the front line. This included working in factories, driving vehicles, and performing physical tasks that required practical clothing. Thus, pants began to be seen as a practical necessity and not just a fashion statement.

The 1920s and 1930s: Influence of Cinema and Fashion

The 1920s and 1930s brought significant changes. Cinema icons like Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn started wearing pants in their movies, challenging gender norms and inspiring women worldwide. Designers such as Coco Chanel also contributed to popularizing pants among women, incorporating them into their fashion collections.

World War II: Consolidation of Pants in Women’s Wardrobes

World War II further consolidated the use of pants by women. With material shortages and the need for functional clothing, many women adopted pants as part of their daily attire. After the war, although many women went back to wearing dresses and skirts, pants never ceased to be part of women’s closets.

The Present: Diversity and Inclusion

Today, pants are a common and essential item of clothing for women of all ages and cultures. There is a huge diversity of styles, from jeans and leggings to suits and tailored pants. The acceptance of pants as a piece of women’s clothing reflects a more inclusive society, where clothing choices are not determined by gender.

The history of women and pants is a fascinating journey that reflects social and cultural changes over the centuries. From a practical piece of clothing worn by nomads to a symbol of equality and freedom, pants represent the continuous evolution of fashion and society. Today, celebrating the diversity of styles and the freedom of choice is a testament to how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

For the riddle in the next article:

Times change and so do styles,

Once different, now more alike.

Among cuts and fabrics, fashion finds its way,

Can you guess the next theme?

See you next Friday!

With affection, Lisd Manufactory.

Written by: Maria Dias and Inês Mendes 

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