Thursday, July 15, 2021

From Tunics to Trousers and Beyond


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 th
e 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 fiancĂ©e 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.


PURCHASE HERE


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

12 comments:

  1. I recall wearing pants under my dress to school. As a teen the pastor of our church didn't mind of girls wore pants to church. They were more modest than the mini-skirt.

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    1. OH my goodness, yes! The mini-skirts left little to the imagination sometimes!

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  2. Good morning, Debbie Lynne! I find it interesting that even though pants and leggings were used for women in the late 1800's it took so long for women to adopt them! Growing up in the 1960's I can remember girls still wearing dresses to school and in the 70's rules for how short a dress or skirt could be were implemented. I'm glad to see my granddaughters being comfortable with both dresses and pants.

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    1. Connie, as am I. My granddaughter has a choice of what she wants to wear. She loves to wear skirts with leggings. Something we were not afforded.

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  3. I lived through it all. My mother wore slacks on a camping vacation, but not as everyday clothing. She wore a housedress for everyday wear and had several of them. I remember when I was in high school, we could wear pants for summer school but not during the regular school year. Even when I was in college, we wore dresses.

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    1. I was able to wear pants in high-school and took full advantage of it! LOL. I too, remember my mother always in a dress when I was growing up.

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  4. I am old enough to remember wearing pants under my dresses during our cold Wisconsin winters. All through high school and into college female students always wore skirts to classes. It wasn't until the mid sixties pants began making their way into the workplace. By then I was living in So. California and they were always on the cutting edge of fashion. I worked at an advertising agency and we work pants to work, including for a brief time, (gasp!) short shorts we called "hot pants." If I recall correcting we wore pantyhose under those shorts. I'm not sure if offices in more conservative settings allowed that or not. The first time I notice that high school girls were wearing pants/jeans to school it was kind of shocking to me. Nowadays it's so commonplace I never notice, except I've seen pictures of some students wearing very short shorts to school sans the pantyhose I always wore with my "hot pants."

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    1. Seems like styles always come back around. The 'hot pants' are back and I just shake my head. But I'm not sure panty hose will ever make a comeback.

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  5. I remember wearing shorts under my dress's. Especially my sister, she was a huge tomboy. Dresses were what was to be worn, period. Dad got a farm when I was ten, and that is when I started to wear pants when working with the animals, and on the farm. But when going out we still had to wear dresses or skirts. this is an interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hey Lori. I can't imagine having to do farm work in dresses! Bless your dad for allowing you to work in pants. WE own a small hobby farm and the work can get down right dirty! Thank yoyu for sharing!

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  6. I remember getting in trouble by the principal because I wore a short dress with bloomers to school. Actually my mom had made the dress and the bloomers.

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    1. OH my goodness! What did the principal say when you told him your mom made it?

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