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When did women start wearing pants regularly?

I'm not talking about around the house or for yardwork, but full time - to church, to the market, to parties. I remember an episode of "I Love Lucy" where a pants-wearing Ethel says, "I can't go on the subway in jeans!" Was it more the late 60s or early 70s? My mother remembers a priest who wouldn't give communion to women in pants, leaving the women standing in line with their tongues out as he ignored them.

by Anonymousreply 13104/23/2014

Roman made us start worshiping in the nude when I came home in toreador pants.

by Anonymousreply 104/18/2010


by Anonymousreply 204/18/2010

Unless those jeans said "Juicy" on the ass, Ethel wouldn't be noticed in her jeans on the subway nowadays.

by Anonymousreply 304/18/2010

OP, the correct quote is, "I can't go on the subway in my BLUE JEANS!"

by Anonymousreply 404/18/2010

Probably the early 70's. When I was in high school (late 60's, early 70's), that's when the dress codes were relaxed to allow kids to wear jeans. When I started working in the mid-70's, it was no big deal for a woman to wear slacks to work.

by Anonymousreply 504/18/2010

Women wore pants as far back as the early 1930's. They were not favored until the war years as acceptable attire except in certain casual situations. It was not until sometime in the 1960's that they were completely accepted for daywear. Women were expected to wear dresses, hats and gloves for decades.

by Anonymousreply 604/18/2010

Women wore WHAT to work???

by Anonymousreply 704/18/2010

Girls weren't allowed to wear pants to my high school until maybe '72 or '73. It was a big, big deal--unbelievable now.

And no one could wear shorts--men or women. I had graduated by the time that taboo was broken.

by Anonymousreply 804/18/2010

The 70s. I was in grade school in the 60s, and girls were not allowed to wear pants to school. For real.

by Anonymousreply 1004/18/2010

It all began on the same day the cane was invented.

by Anonymousreply 1104/18/2010

I wear the pants around here!!

by Anonymousreply 1204/19/2010

Women shouldn't wear pants, I agree. I prefer to see men in pants only.

by Anonymousreply 1304/19/2010

Dumb post of the day from R13/15.

by Anonymousreply 1604/19/2010

Early seventies here in the midwest. Up until then, all our moms wore Carol Brady sack dresses and girls wore dresses or skirts to school. Around 1972 they allowed the girls at our high school to start wearing pants. The rules at that time were that they had to dressy pants or a pantsuit. By the time I started high school a year later, everyone -- girls and boys -- predominately wore jeans and most of the women teachers wore pants most of the time.

by Anonymousreply 1704/19/2010

Until about 1970 it was bad fashion to acknowledge that women's legs parted above the knees.

by Anonymousreply 2104/19/2010

Really, r15, you get confused when you see a woman wearing pants? The women you know must have remarkably boyish figures.

by Anonymousreply 2304/30/2010

I would say mid-70's when it became acceptable for women. Obviously for teenage girls it was a couple of earlier than that because all teenagers were wearing jeans.

I'm sure it was a correlation between middle class mothers entering the work force en masse. Having to deal with the whole nylons, dress up thing AND the household crap: the pantsuit became very appealing all of a sudden. And yes, the blouses with the bows was something they were telling women to wear well into the 80's (along with those ginormous shoulder pads in the blouses AND the jackets).

I remember my mother getting sent mail order pantsuit catalogues along with swatches of cheap polyester cloth. This would have been around '73 or so. My mother would toss these in the trash because the suits reminded her of cheap men's leisure suits. Sure enough, the following year we got a very dykey English teacher in our school Her entire wardrobe consisted of these mail order pant suits. (One in each swatch). Only female teacher who wore pants. Best English teacher I ever had. Unfortunately she was a complete if highly functioning alcoholic.

by Anonymousreply 2404/30/2010

My sister was sent home from public high school in 1970 for wearing jeans to school. This was in a NYC suburb, not some outpost.

In all of my class pictures, all of the girls wore dresses, at least up until 6th grade which is when we stopped having class pictures. By middle school and high school they all wore jeans to school.

by Anonymousreply 2504/30/2010

Unless they're extremely thin, women wearing pants look like shit, but a well cut dress or skirt makes any women look glorious. I didn't understand why women didn't wear dresses or skirts more often until a female friend told me that it was because shaving their legs was a hassle, hence the widespread use of pants.

by Anonymousreply 2604/30/2010

When Mary Tyler Moore started wearing pants to the station.

by Anonymousreply 2704/30/2010

IN the late '70s my mother still refused to let my sisters to wear pants to school. They used to put them in a paper bag the night before and hide them on the side of the road. On the way to the bus stop they'd ditch in the woods and change into pants.

Don't ask what happened when my sister hung a poster of Janis Joplin on her wall.

by Anonymousreply 2804/30/2010

My mother was a teacher in NYC public schools in the 60's and women were not allowed to wear pants to work.

by Anonymousreply 3004/30/2010

Women have more freedom than men when it comes to clothes.

by Anonymousreply 3304/30/2010

I did live in an "outpost" (northern Indiana) and I remember it being either in 4th or 5th grade, 1970 or 1971, when girls could wear pants to school. Whatever year it was, it was preceded by a year of being allowed to wear pants UNDER A DRESS in the winter time, but we still had to have a dress on. Hilarious. I also remember the commotion it caused in our house when my mother bought a pantsuit. My very old-fashioned dad had a lot of trouble with that idea, but that didn't stop Mom. She wore it too, despite his objections. That was also probably 1970 or so.

by Anonymousreply 3404/30/2010

Women are allowed to flirt with blurring gender lines. That's why they can wear pants and why it's acceptable for same-sex affection between women. Men are not allowed to blur those lines.

by Anonymousreply 3504/30/2010

In Scarsdale High School, land of the liberals, we could not wear pants to school until the spring of 1970.

by Anonymousreply 3604/30/2010

Mary Tyler Moore began the trend toward pants with her capri pants on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the '60s.

Then pant suits in the 1970s tried make women look neat, somewhat feminine but business-like for the office when women began entering the workforce en masse. The polyester was divine especially on men in their leisure suits.

by Anonymousreply 3704/30/2010

MTM's capri pants were casual at home stuff. Women wore "slacks" for casual wear long long ago. Men wore "trousers."

by Anonymousreply 3804/30/2010

I graduated law school in 1994. Even then, women were encouraged to wear skirts during interviews. When my (now-)partner and I both started as associates at the same firm, we both wore pantsuits regularly in the pre-business casual days, despite the fact that almost all of the women in the firm still wore skirt suits or dresses.

by Anonymousreply 3904/30/2010

Definitely the 70s. In 1968, a girl in my class was sent home for wearing one of the skirts that has the shorts underneath.

I remember my mom wearing a pantsuit-- a long tunic that could be worn as a dress and a matching pair of pants. It was weird. She'd wear the dress all the time, but would only put on the pants when she and my dad were going to friends' homes.

by Anonymousreply 4104/30/2010

My elementary school finally allowed girls to wear pants in 1969.

by Anonymousreply 4204/30/2010

Females should never be allowed to wear trousers, jeans or shorts. It's just so un-American and downright wrong.

by Anonymousreply 4306/07/2012

It's just not a flattering look if you're not in great shape.

by Anonymousreply 4506/07/2012

R44 - Because when a woman wears pants, one can see her shape. In a dress, all is hidden.

by Anonymousreply 4706/07/2012

I think in America it took women going into the factories during WWII to really popularize pants as an acceptable, universal style. Marlene Deitrich and Hedy Lamarr and others wore them and they were regarded as edgy, high fashion sophisticated styles, but the average woman didn't start wearing them a lot until the WW II years.

by Anonymousreply 4806/07/2012

[quote]My mother remembers a priest who wouldn't give communion to women in pants, leaving the women standing in line with their tongues out as he ignored them.

There's a joke here somewhere

by Anonymousreply 4906/07/2012

More than anybody else, Marlene Dietrich was the stimulus. Her director Josef von Sternberg couldn't get aroused unless she dressed up like a man, so he always included a scene of her dressed as a man in all of her pictures he directed. Also Kate Hepburn and of course Rosie the Riviter.

by Anonymousreply 5006/07/2012

Women wore them to work in factories during the war, yet they were not in fashion as street wear for shopping, going to church, visiting friends, etc. for many years after.

They became popular with elder ladies as part of pastel polyester pant suits worn out and about in retirement communities in the late 60s and 70s.

by Anonymousreply 5206/07/2012

[quote]Katherine Hepburn officially bucked the system and paved the way for women in pants.

Correct, but that didn't put them in every womans wear department like they are today. It took several decades for pants for women to be readily available.

by Anonymousreply 5606/07/2012

Joan wearing the very flattering style of pants popular at the time. Wide legs, high waist.

by Anonymousreply 5706/07/2012

My BF's mother still refuses to wear pants. But she's a refined Southern lady.

by Anonymousreply 5806/07/2012

My mother was the front desk manager of a big hotel in Milwaukee back in the mid-sixties. It was cold and women clerks would come in wearing pants suits. My mother was obligated though to tell them that they weren't allowed to wear pants at work so they would do the only thing possible, they simply took off their pants. Their jackets were all about the length of the normal skirts back then anyway.

by Anonymousreply 5906/07/2012

I think skirts are much more flattering to more women's bodies. Ask anyone who sews or designs: there's nothing more difficult to fit properly than a pair of women's pants.

by Anonymousreply 6006/07/2012

[r60] is right. Few women look good in pants but they all look great in skirts or dresses

by Anonymousreply 6206/07/2012

R59, that's what Nan Kempner did when she wore a newly fashionable pantsuit (probably by YSL) to La Cote Basque in the late '60s -- they said the dress code forbade women in pants, so she removed the pants & they accepted the tunic top as a mini-dress.

When I graduated from public high school in 1965, girls had to wear skirts & dresses -- same thing for women in offices until pantsuits gradually became acceptable in about 1970. This was in the avant garde San Francisco Bay Area, not some hidebound backwater.

by Anonymousreply 6306/07/2012

A family friend said that 1974 was her favorite year because her company revised its dress policy to allow pant suits.

Up until that point, women had to wear pantyhose - cold in Winter and hot in Summer.

In accounting, I'd say the end of Arthur Anderson signaled the death of dress codes dictating skirts for women in customer environments.

by Anonymousreply 6406/07/2012

Sometime in the 1970s

by Anonymousreply 6506/07/2012

The year was 1980 and I was working in a government office in Toronto. My female boss showed up one day wearing a pink track suit. Women had been wearing slacks to work for quite awhile by then, but the sight of the track suit shocked me. No one complained about it and she wore track suits most of the time from then on.

by Anonymousreply 6606/07/2012

"Pants are probably here to stay--but they shouldn't stay for long on any but the most lithe and slim-hipped!"

by Anonymousreply 6706/07/2012

Betty and Veronica looked smashing when they started to wear pants!

by Anonymousreply 6806/07/2012

It was a Tuesday, OP...

by Anonymousreply 6906/07/2012

In suburban Atlanta it was 1970. The school finally relented and let girls wear pant suits. Within 2 weeks, many of the girls had switched to the hip hugger jeans. Some quit wearing bras too!

Now the kids can wear shorts to school, which was unheard of in 1970.

by Anonymousreply 7006/07/2012

When the dress code at work changed so women could wear slacks, a black woman told the boss that it was against the Bible for a woman to wear mens clothing.

by Anonymousreply 7106/07/2012

This is the chick who made it acceptable. Mary Cunningham, America's first big time female executive, who was involved in an inappropriate relationship with her boss.

by Anonymousreply 7206/07/2012

The Mary Cunningham story

by Anonymousreply 7306/07/2012

I think during WWII it became quite common for women to wear pants. Many were working in factories and wore them there and then it just became a accepted thing to do away from work.

by Anonymousreply 7406/07/2012

The Bendix Affair

by Anonymousreply 7506/07/2012

(66) Was her name Elka?

by Anonymousreply 7606/07/2012

In the Chicago area of Illinois, I know I started wearing slacks to school sometime in the late 60's. I am certain that I wore slacks on my first day of High school in 1970 - and possibly did the year before.

by Anonymousreply 7707/26/2012

The late 60s. I'm old enough to know.

by Anonymousreply 7807/26/2012

All of the uncles and the sisters and the aunts, called me the Pirate of Men's Pants.

by Anonymousreply 7907/26/2012

My grandmother was born in 1898 and swore to my mother (b. 1939) she would never wear pants.

Until her circulation problems started and pants helped her stay warmer. By the time she died in 1974, she was a dedicated pants wearer.

by Anonymousreply 8007/26/2012

1969 was the cross-dressing revolution for teenage girls who swarmed into male stories in hordes to purchase male Lee & Levi jeans, slim cut of course.They shopped in numbers for confidence in male stores and using male dressing rooms to put on their gender conquest male jeans with girl friends / sisters guarding the doors for privacy from male patrons.In 1970 ; every college aged coed was wearing both male Lee or Levi jeans 24/7; grossly, sometimes the exact same pair for weeks !

by Anonymousreply 8102/01/2013

My mother's friend owned a very popular restaurant in the 60s through the early 90s. This was before chain restaurants, when all restaurants were individually owned and owners made their own rules. My mother's friend was from Germany and could be as sweet as pie, but if you didn't obey her rules, you were out. And in those days, you didn't want to be out because each town only had a few restaurants and you didn't want to be blacklisted from the popular ones.

She routinely rounded up children who ran in the restaurant, firmly placed her hands on their back, returned them to their tables and said, "Perhaps you did not notice your own child had disappeared. We found him! This is a very busy place of business, not a playground, and there is no running around allowed indoors. You may take him outside (gestures to icy, snow-covered property) and allow him to run around, yes? Ok. No more running." The whole time she was all smiley and sweet, never angry but conveying that she would not be disobeyed.

In 1969 a woman showed up in a pants suit. The owner greeted her and told her she could not be seated because she was not properly dressed. "Vimmen vare dresses, men vare suit und tie." The woman said she had a reservation and she didn't know pants suits weren't allowed. They were the "new style." The owner was adamant, The woman went home, changed into a dress and returned. The owner smilingly led them to a table.

Life was different back then.

She finally relented about a year later when so many women had acquired pant suits that she couldn't possibly send them all home to change.

by Anonymousreply 8202/01/2013

Pat Loud wore awesome pant suits

by Anonymousreply 8302/01/2013

As a follow up, when did women stop wearing pants? 95% of women I see on a daily basis wear tights as their bottom garment.

by Anonymousreply 8402/01/2013

I've seen the I Love Lucy episode that OP references, she has a giant loving cup stuck on her head. But what I want to know about, regarding I Love Lucy and women wearing pants, is the outfit that Lucy wears sometimes where she is wearing slacks with a big pleated skirt over them, and in the front the skirt is open and pinned back on the hips to look like an open curtain. This is the strangest garment that I have ever seen. Did anyone ever know someone who wore such a thing in real life?

by Anonymousreply 8502/01/2013

OP, early 70's.

Two piece polyester suits with pants for women were the rage around 1974 to 1980.

With a blouse with a large bow at the neck to enhance the two piece polyester suit.

by Anonymousreply 8602/01/2013

Hillary Clinton never ever wears a skirt with a suit jacket.

I have never seen her wear a suit that has a skirt - and I've watched closely.

She always wears a jacket with pants.

Never a dress with a knee length bottom and never a skirt at knee length.

She wore ball gown long dresses to the floor for galas, and at her daughter's wedding also wore floor length dresses.

by Anonymousreply 8702/01/2013

Oh those palazzo pants were so glamorous amd edgy

by Anonymousreply 8802/01/2013

When cankles went out of fashion.

by Anonymousreply 8902/01/2013

Women should never be allowed to wear pants. It just looks wrong. They should also not be allowed to do men's jobs. The role of women is to raise children and prepare food. It's just the natural law.

by Anonymousreply 9002/01/2013

Hilary has cankles, therefore she covers them.

by Anonymousreply 9102/01/2013

R92 NOW... a WARNING???

by Anonymousreply 9302/01/2013

When the Seventh Seal was opened.

by Anonymousreply 9402/01/2013

8:07AM July 7, 1970

by Anonymousreply 9502/01/2013


You can blame it all on a 19-year-old Cher.

She also started the long straight hair trend.

Girls all worse dresses and bouffants before her.

by Anonymousreply 9602/01/2013

Ursula Ladan started this in a PTA meeting in California. I met her on a flight returning to Minnesota. She was on her way to attend a wedding.

She said that her PTA group took on this issue and it became a national movement.

She is in her 80's now. She is a former space engineer and a retired school teacher.

by Anonymousreply 9701/28/2014

This pants thing may be a passing phase. Fifty years from now it could be 15 feet wide hoop skirts, corsets, and crinolines again. Personally, I think the 1950s were a great decade for style.

Skirt wearing possibly came from the bulk and inconvenience of supplies for menstrual cycles. Back in the day women stuffed their panties with towels. Harder to do that wearing pants.

by Anonymousreply 9801/28/2014

There is so much misinformation in this thread.

Women were regularly wearing pants by the early 1960s. Of course there were situations where they were not considered proper, but for casual daywear, they were all the rage. Watch any old Dick Van Dyke show and take a look at Laura Petrie.

And check out old Sears catalogues to see mass market tastes of the era.

This was the look in 1963:

by Anonymousreply 9901/28/2014

I remember being allowed to wear pants in the 1970s and it was a big deal.

by Anonymousreply 10001/28/2014

It depends on where you lived and what the occasion was.

I can remember being with my mother in downtown Omaha, Nebraska in the spring of 1963. She was wearing pedal pushers and she noticed that she was the only woman on the streets not in a skirt.

But we were from suburban New Jersey where pants on women, at least in informal situations at home, was not unusual.

But my mom would never have been seen in pants back then going out at night, or to the movies, or to a PTA meeting, for example.

by Anonymousreply 10301/28/2014

I don't think men should have to wear neckties on the hottest day in July, but they can be beautiful and stylish. Beautiful colors and patterns. It can really make a guy look good.

by Anonymousreply 10601/28/2014

I think Randy on Say Yes to the Dress looks fabulous in his suits and ties. He's such a diplomat with those heifers.

Tattoos and wedding dresses don't go together.

Not only do women wear pants all the time, they are also tattooed like stevedores.

by Anonymousreply 10701/28/2014

Eva Peron was the first woman in Argentina to wear pants in public. It was further shocking because she was the first lady.

Then again, she defied tradition and encouraged the masses to call her "Evita" (Spanish for "Little Eva") in a time and place where diminutives were only for family and close friends; the first lady was always referred to as "Señora."

Eva and Juan with the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina and his wife:

by Anonymousreply 10801/28/2014

Back in the '50s Carol Burnett went to Rumplemeyers on Central Park and was rudely told that she could not be seated because the restaurant did not allow women in pants.

"I'm terribly sorry," Burnett said, in a very loud "stage whisper" so other diners could hear. "But you see, I've got a wooden leg and a skirt is too revealing."

The maitre d' let her in. She limped over to her table and sat down.

by Anonymousreply 10901/28/2014

My moms friend owned a restaurant and would not allow women in who were wearing pantsuits until 1971. And it had to be a pantsuit, not simply pants and a random blouse. The pants and the top had to be of the same material. Or the pants and jacket had to be of the same material.

by Anonymousreply 11001/28/2014

I see kids at charter schools wearing the same unisex uniform of khaki pants and golf shirts. I would have died if I had to look like a Best Buy storeclerk during adolescence.

by Anonymousreply 11101/28/2014

I would have worn earrings and caftans

by Anonymousreply 11201/28/2014

It wasn't until 1973 we could wear nice slacks to High School. However, that let us wear skirts that showed our bottoms. I find that ironic. Jeans were a no-no to wear to class even when I got into college in 1973. I remember wear wide leg bell bottoms to frat parties. I think finally we could wear jeans in college to class around 1976.

by Anonymousreply 11304/21/2014

Women wear pants because they are comfortable, practical, and facilitate freedom of movement. Unlike skirts, which require the wearer to "sit in a ladylike fashion" and are somewhat restrictive. Dresses and skirts also provide gender typing, which many men and even women seem to require for their psychological comfort.

True that in many business and professional spheres dresses and skirts are de riguer. Men do like to hobble their women. Women who want to advance in those arenas comply.

by Anonymousreply 11404/21/2014

Girls (and boys, obviously) were allowed to were jeans to high school in 1969. Also right around that time, boys were allowed to have long hair. This was in Chicago. The columnist Mike Royko had a column about a boy who was suspended because he refused to cut his hair. I don't know if that turned the tide, but it made a big impression on me at the time.

As far as work is concerned, I don't recall ever being required to wear dresses/skirts at work from the beginning of my work history in the early 70's. If it was a corporate-type job, you were expected to wear nice pantsuits and of course we wore dresses and skirts as well.

by Anonymousreply 11504/21/2014

As a 'regular' trend, I would say not until the 80s (especially outside large cities).

by Anonymousreply 11604/21/2014

Just to add, my friend was told she could only wear a skirt while working for a major accounting firm in the 1980s in Toronto, and the same applied to most major offices in London, England.

by Anonymousreply 11704/21/2014

I saw a women's pants suit the first time backstage at the Circle Star Theatre in San Carlos, California 1968 when Georgia Brown came roaring thru the stage door.

She was appearing in the Oliver tour and looking very fashionable in her gray tweed Mod suit and fabulous black boots.

She was wonderful in the role of Nancy btw.

by Anonymousreply 11804/21/2014

In my culture the men traditionally wear wraps. Even with most wearing pants now, the most powerful men still wear the wraps. It's funny to see people make such a huge deal about a general TYPE of clothing being so masculine or feminine when it's really so subjective.

by Anonymousreply 11904/21/2014

Only in my senior year of high school were we allowed to wear pants instead of culottes.

Guys, you haven't lived unless you've walked to school bare-legged in 30 degree weather. (We also weren't allowed to wear tights, but sometimes we'd squeak by in sheer stockings.)

by Anonymousreply 12004/21/2014

R121, where did you go to school? I'm class of '98 in Massachusetts public school and the girls wore jeans and oftentimes men's boxer shorts or men's pajama bottoms. That was a thing circa 1995. The boxer shorts or pajama bottoms were paired with belly shirts.

by Anonymousreply 12104/21/2014


Private catholic school in South Florida. And--yes!--before the weather became strange, it did break into the 30s down here in the winter.

You're right about the men's boxers--in college, we all wore them to go grocery shopping. But in high school, with the cold weather, culottes, and possible razor burn from shaving our legs that morning, we would scream when the wind picked up while walking to the bus stop.

by Anonymousreply 12204/21/2014

Try walking around in zero degree weather in a skirt or dress. Thirty degrees in the winter is balmy where I come from.

by Anonymousreply 12304/21/2014


Actually, I was just thinking to myself, "How in the heck did guys who wore kilts do this?"

I suppose very high boots, but what about their knees?

by Anonymousreply 12404/21/2014

Marlene Dietrich is credited with much of trousers for women. Her director Von Sternberg couldn't get turned on unless she dressed like a man, so he always included a scene of her dressed as a man in her movies he directed. Also K Hepburn wore slacks. And there's always Rosie the Riveter...

by Anonymousreply 12504/21/2014

World War ll, when they had to step up and take over for the men who went off to war

by Anonymousreply 12604/23/2014

R99 Yes, pants were popular for casual wear but they weren't yet allowed for school, work and anywhere people "dressed up." They used to do that in the 60s (see Mad Men)

by Anonymousreply 12704/23/2014

What exactly was controversial about women wearing pants ?

by Anonymousreply 12804/23/2014

Just another senseless issue for miserable people to bitch about. Some people aren't happy unless they're complaining about something that has little or no relevance.

by Anonymousreply 12904/23/2014
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