Women wore various versions of skirts or robes for most of history. A few brave women in pants traumatized their neighbors in the 19th century, but it wasn’t really acceptable in the western world until the 20th century, when women in sports, women in film, and women in fashion design took the bifurcated risk and gave us all the right to wear pants (almost) everywhere we want to go.
Women mentioned include Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I of Russia, Amelia Jenks Bloomer, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Hawes, Rosie the Riveter, Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Moseley-Braun, Barbara Mikulski, and Hilary Clinton.
This episode belongs in Series 1: What’s in the Closet and How Did It Get There?
One of many sources for this episode was Gayle V. Fischer’s Pantaloons and Power: A Nineteenth-Century Dress Reform in the United States.
Have other great sources on women wearing pants? Feel free to list them in the comments below.