Did you march on Saturday? Because, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Rihanna and Zendaya sure did, along with over 500,000 women who each took to the streets for varied reasons that were united by one common thread—a women’s right to choose, no matter what the choice.
No fancy threads, no made up faces, even the A-listers bared their souls with signs that inspired as they peacefully protested in the streets of Washington DC. One silent crusader who unintentionally inspired them all? Spotted: Hillary Clinton stealing the show at Donald Trump’s inauguration in a powerful white pantsuit and a gracious smile, reminding us why she won the popular vote by 3 million in the elections.
An Ode To Hillary, The Women’s March & Feminism
Don your suit of armor that’s deemed too masculine for the leading lady. With its tailored fit and powerful clean lines, the pantsuit invokes a sense of confidence, authority, and power, and we surely need a dose of each to stand strong and united, not against the government, but for our rights.
Did you know that at a point in time, it was illegal for women to even wear pants?
The term ‘pantsuit’ has been around since the mid-1800s when the word was exclusively used for young men’s clothing. It was common practice then, for boys to have worn tailored shorts and only once they became a man to switch to wearing long pants. Achieving long pant status was a rather big deal in those days but by today’s standards, a pantsuit almost exclusively means long pants.
By the time the 1930s rolled around, women were starting to tire of their limited choice in clothing and icons such as Marlene Dietrich began making a case for pantsuit options for women. At this point, wearing pants was seen as chic but also a very daring and brazen thing to do. Women were not supposed to be brazen and so it was that any woman caught with her pants on, ran the risk of being arrested on the spot. No, really!
We might look at a Pierre Cardin pantsuit these days and think nothing of it, but in fact, it would have been a fearless woman who would have purchased a pantsuit in those days. By the 1960s, designers were flooding the market with pantsuits as the attitude post war had certainly changed. Paving the way for women all over, the public copied the looks of their favorite icons much in the same way we do today, and the pantsuit officially entered the office.
In a place where even today women struggle to be seen as equal to men, the fact that women could now dress ‘like a man’ turned the corporate world for women on its head. Not everyone was on board, however. Many women, particularly the older generations, looked down upon the pantsuit-wearing rebels and refused to join them. These women preferred to wear skirt suits to assert their femininity, invariably and unconsciously apologizing for wearing the pants in the relationship (or any equation, in general). This implied a forced gender divide created by society, not the fashion industry.
Accessory Game Strong
Proving that women were not second class citizens to men, and thanks in part to the revolution of Le Smoking tuxedo by Yves Saint Laurent, women started to feminize the pantsuit, pairing it with skyscraping heels and bright lipsticks. In some sense, we haven’t really moved on from this look; the lipstick shades might change and the blouses underneath might adapt for the season but even today, our role models slapping on the pantsuit still have this ‘my suit is sexy’ attitude that harks back to Le Smoking.
But, the pantsuit means so much more than sass. Take Hillary Clinton for example. She has been seen throughout her career wearing pants, even dating back to her attorney years at the tender age of 26. This purposeful act has been no accident and mirroring her courage right from the 70s and until now, women were flocking to the polling stations to place their votes in, yes, you’ve guessed it, pantsuits during the elections! A symbol of solidarity and still eager to break boundaries, the motion of pantsuits aimed to crown Hillary the first female President.
The Leading Ladies Love This Outfit
Of course, it’s not just in politics that the pantsuit dominates. Hot actresses of the moment from many generations are rocking the pantsuit, and most recently it was spotted on Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and Cate Blanchett. As said before, not a lot has changed about how these leading ladies wear the pantsuit—the idea being to make the look sexy, feminine and sophisticated whilst retaining the power and assertiveness that comes with the originally masculine silhouette.
In fact, JLaw has this look down to a T, and was seen recently pairing her sweet suit with embellished basques and corset tops instead of the traditional blouse or camisole. Amy Adams followed suit, pun intended, wearing a deep blue pantsuit over a lace body for a red carpet event. We can’t imagine a world where every woman wore a pantsuit on the red carpet, nor would it be particularly original if they all did, but there is definitely something to be said for being able to carry it off with as much elegance and aplomb as the feminists and influencers of our generation.
In today’s society, there is still the issue of gender equality. Certain job titles conjure up subconscious ideas of whether that person is female or male and how we dress says a lot about who we are. It’s important to remember and respect the history of the pantsuit, the uniform of choice for the Suffragette movement, women’s right to vote, and how it broke down barriers. A stunning evening dress still has its place but consider the pantsuit for your next event, even if it means just breaking the mold and allowing yourself to be a part of the pantsuit revolution.
Here’s how to build 3 flattering looks to suit varied occasions: