It wasn't so long ago that a woman wearing pants was taboo. But have you ever wondered where we started and how we got to where we are today?
It was curious to me because as most of us are aware, in bible times both men and women wore long tunics called a halug. Both men and women wore loincloths, which is the equivalence of today's underwear. It was a long strip of fabric that is wrapped around the waist, down between the legs, and then tucked back up in the waist to hold in place. Not a lot of difference between the two.
The outer garment for both men and women changed little during biblical times. The halug was often made from two rectangles sewn together but leaving a hole for the head. The sides were sewn as well, leaving unsewn areas for the arms. They were often gathered over the shoulder and held with a clip of sorts. A belt would be fashioned to wear around the waist drawing the halug to the body. A cloak would sometimes be worn over the halug.
It was around the 8th century in China that pants/trousers/breeches crept into the men's attire. What brought it about was war. The troops on horseback that wore the trousers were usually the victors against troops holding to the use of the cumbersome robes.
Up until the 1200s, European men and women wore long robes, tunics, and kirtles. Jumping forward to the end of the 1300s and into the 1400s the styles began to change. Men began to shorten their tunics and wear them more fitted with leggings or hose while women continued to wear the longer version. *A French Chronicle recorded: "Around that year (1350), men, in particular, noblemen and their squires, took to wearing tunics so short and tight that they revealed what modesty bid us hide. This was a most astonishing thing for the people."
In the 14th century, joined hose with cod a plate came into existence. The cod plates were sometimes decorative. The joined hose were basically fitted pants. By the 15th century, the long robes for men were only used for ceremonial purposes.
Women on the other hand were a different story. They continued to wear dresses and layers upon layers of petticoats and undergarments beneath their full skirts. The complete ensemble could include chemise, corset, pockets, stocking and garters, gown, and petticoats. The lady's clothes could weigh up to fifteen pounds.
There were a few women who worked on farms or rode horseback while working, who donned pants in the 19th century. But they were looked down upon and sometimes shunned from society.
In the mid-1800s, bloomers or Turkish trousers were worn in Europe. A few women, inspired by the new European style, championed the idea for women's clothing. The trousers gave women a little more freedom in outdoor activities.
The 1900s brought WWI and WWII and also the emergent of women in the men's workplace. With so many of America's men at war, women had to step up and step into the vacant jobs needed to run the country and supply the war demands.
Even early Hollywood influenced women and what they wore. Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn both enjoyed the freedom that wearing the new style gave them and with that, the two ladies influenced the American woman. More and more women found wearing pants acceptable.
But though some freedom was found, as late as the 1960s, pants for children in most schools were not allowed even though more and more women were wearing trousers. In cold areas, girls were allowed to wear pants under their dress for the long trek back and forth to school, but once in their classroom, the pants had to come off, leaving bare legs beneath a dress.
The 70s was the hippie generation. A time of rebellion against the rules of society. It was the freedom era. Down with rules. By this time women wearing pants was readily accepted at almost any place.
From the 70s on women in the USA didn't think twice about sliding their legs into a comfortable pair of pants. Do you remember the gradual change from women wearing dresses to pants?
Have you thought much about how men ended up with pants and women with dresses? I would love to have you share your thoughts.
Deirdre Mackenzie has spent her life hiding from her father and hating the English. However, when she is caught stealing from an English laird, his unexpected kindness begins to melt away her hatred and strums lonely heartstrings longing for love. Bryce Warwick discovers the “boy” caught with his livestock is actually a young woman. After several attempts to lure the truth from her, he determines she is as deceitful as his late fiancée who nearly cost him his life. But the woman is the least of his worries with the turbulence brought on by threats of another border war and by King Richard's distrust of the nobles.
With old wounds in need of healing and adversaries who would ruin their chances at true love, both must learn to trust in a way they never knew possible.
The stakes are high, secrets prevail, and treason is just a kiss away.
Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1
seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 4 horses, 3 dogs, a miniature donkey, and 7 pekin ducks.
*Quote as well as pictures from WIKI. Redhead in bluejeans photographed By Mike Powell - originally posted to Flickr as Erika, Beach 10, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5934692