The present-day scene in women’s fashion exhibits a versatile and bolder selection in terms of the basic clothing pieces that ladies can choose from. Gone are the days of women limited to wearing puffy dresses, long skirts, and back-breaking corsets. Masculine clothing pieces such as high-waisted jeans and blazers have been smoothly introduced into women’s everyday wear.
One might take a look back at how women were dressed in the past and wonder, how did it come to be that pants and less conservative clothing are now deemed normal and acceptable? Women were indeed made to follow several standards and restrictions when it comes to their actions and even to their clothing choices.
In the US, it was only during the mid-20th century that it became acceptable and typical for women to wear jeans as part of their everyday outfit. This happened even though women were already wearing pants in other parts of the world as part of their work attire.
Before that, women had to make sure they were not exposed or seen by the public whenever they wore pants or clothing that resembled one. Practically speaking, it is understandable why women back then would want to switch to a type of clothing that allowed them to move more freely and conveniently. Dresses tend to add excessive weight, making it difficult to walk and move around. Long dresses also required much space and effort to don, that it caused too much discomfort and hassle for the ladies wearing it.
The dress-reform movement
It was not that women hated dresses. Yes, it was a type of clothing that was great for flaunting their charms and beauties, and it was also a way of self-expression. However, it was not something that could and should be worn anytime, anywhere. The revolution of normalizing women in jeans was part of the rally for acknowledging and upholding women’s rights.
As more and more style icons and actresses openly wore jeans as a fashion statement, it paved the way for the creation of designer jeans during the 1980s. With major clothing brand Calvin Klein and fashion model Brooke Shields teaming up to promote jeans in women’s fashion, it instantly made waves in the restrictive range of clothing choices that women were made to wear.
In no time, other designer brands such as Gloria Vanderbilt, and Jordache also launched their versions of women’s jeans.
As time went by, more versions of the usual structure of jeans were produced to fit a broader lifestyle and style preference. Skinny jeans, bootleg pants, high-waisted jeans, straight-leg jeans, ripped denim, and denim in black, white, red, violet, and other hues have emphasized the advantage that women had when it comes to versatility in fashion and dressing up. Dresses and skirts are not everyone’s cup of tea. Wearing pants accommodates other fashion choices while highlighting the need for wearing clothes that make women comfortable and at ease to complete their daily tasks.
They can pair jeans with boots, sneakers, or even heels—something that the outdated clothing and style standards of the past would not have accepted lightly. It might not appear to be such a significant detail at first, but the inclusion of jeans and pants in women’s fashion is one of the many instrumental steps that broke down primitive gender stereotypes.