Statement Trousers: On Politics, Feminism and Being a Boss Lady
Without getting political – today is an important day for the both parties in the primaries, with winner takes all states Ohio and Florida voters heading to the polls.
But what would politics be without loud statement-making (not talking in reference to Trump, for once). Hillary – a long time trouser wearing figure on the political scene – solidified her reputation as First Lady and made quite a statement in dress pants. She is often credited (incorrectly, I might mention), as being the first to don the trouser, or suit pant, while on the political stage and embodies the antiquated bias against “unfeminine” women in business and politics. True, she was the first to wear trousers in an official White House portrait, but generations of First Ladies before her wore, and were photographed, in pants.
Pants became increasingly popular for women as leisurewear in the 1920s and 30s. Influential women, Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn among them, were photographed in pants. But the trouser for women took longer to infiltrate the political scene. It wasn’t until 1969 that a woman in politics wore trousers during her public work. Republican Representative from Illinois, Charlotte Thompson Reid, was the first woman to wear trousers in the U.S. Congress. Pat Nixon was the first First Lady to wear pants in public.
But with the surge of feminism in the 1970s, pants became more and more popular for women, and increasingly made their way into business and politics.
But, if anyone watches the OJ Simpson TV series, it’s easy to see how powerful women are criticized for their appearance. And, despite progress against sexism in the work place many still see dress pants are seen as “harsh” and unladylike.
Pants are something that I take for granted today. I could not imagine wearing a skirt or a dress every day. I live for good jeans, great jeggings, pseudo-spandex-pants. I have three pairs of the same Zara legging-pants and two pairs of similar J. Crew ones with an ankle zip (which are currently on sale and can be found here). I practically collect rag and bone jeans, which are the most comfortable (read: stretchy) jeans I have found.
But I have never embraced the dress pant – until now. After stumbling on two amazing pairs of silk statement “trousers” last week – I have decided dress pants are not only practical (most have pockets) but they are super stylish, can be feminine with something as simple as a white tee, but most importantly they make a statement. They are far from boring. From business meetings to getting coffee to eating street meat, these trousers are uber-chic. My favorite silk trousers of the season (by Suno and Tanya Taylor) make me feel like I have Hillary’s balls of steel, Jackie Onassis’ style and that I am the ultimate boss lady. Any part or full time boss lady, political enthusiast or style junkie should invest in a pair of great statement trousers to pair with heels and a simple top.
While my new found adoration for dress pants does not make me a decide my political leanings, I ask, why shy away from dress pants when you can make a statement in them instead?