For centuries, women have been expected to dress in a coherent fashion. As they render a feministic undercurrent, skirts and dresses are amongst those garments which fall under ‘girlish’ costume and ultimately, what women were likely to wear. The release of the ‘pant-suit’ however was set to challenge such archaic ways and allow women to redefine their personal style.
Prior to the 1920s, it was once illegal for women to wear pants.
The reason for this particular act to be considered ‘criminal’, was the fact that pants were not considered the traditional form of dress for women. Trousers would align with male choice in garb, while dresses were identifiable to females. In society, it was unnatural for women to dress like men – and vice versa.
The emergence of women sporting the ‘pant’ began with military activities. In order to join the army, women would often disguise themselves as men with the adoption of a masculine wardrobe. Years later, these women would reveal their true identities.
The ‘Pant-Suit’ began to take off during the period of World War II, 1939-1945.
With a global war requiring the aid of several nations, men were drafted into the military, leaving a vacancy for numerous jobs. As women were not expected to take part in the war, they acquired the positions previously filled by men in the workforce.
As a way to fit in or assume a professional stance, women often wore trousers and a blazer to their respective place of work, which soon became the iconic ‘pant-suit.’
By the 1960s and onwards, it no longer struck anyone as unusual for a woman to be seen wearing pants. In fact, it became a prominent subject in television shows, politics, and general reality.
As politics tends to take center stage in both the media as well as day-to-day life, politicians have the power to influence the public with their choice in fashion. A woman known to do such is the former 2016 presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton.
During the period in which she assumed the position of senator, she had said in various interviews that she opted for the pant-suit as it allowed her to feel “professional” and “ready to go.” Her staff also sported the number, thus leading her administration to be known as ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ – a comical take on the film likewise known as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Clinton’s reputable look also gained popularity at the time of the 2016 presidential election.
Under the influence of the candidate, a Facebook group was contrived of 2.9 million people who classified themselves as patrons of the ‘Pant-Suit Nation’.
In an effort to express their support to Clinton and the ever-growing feminism crusade, citizens wore the pant-suit to the candidate’s rallies. The ensemble eventually served as a symbol of Clinton’s campaign – an emblem so evident that while casting their votes for the politician, both men and women were seen once again donning the much-celebrated piece.