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You won’t get arrested for wearing pants today

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You won’t get arrested for wearing pants today. If you slip on a pair of jeans to drive the children to school, the police will not stop you. If you leave for work in chinos and a polo, you’ll be in compliance with many store and restaurant dress codes and will not be ticketed by a deputy. If you choose a conservative pantsuit for a career or corporate position, you won’t be arrested by a highway patrol officer.

It may be hard to believe, but this hasn’t always been true. Women of our grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s generation probably did not own or wear pants. Prior to 1923, women wore only skirts and dresses, usually ankle length or slightly longer. Many have seen old photographs and lithographs of women in skirts and blouses riding bicycles, playing tennis and horseback riding.

Don Voorhees tells us that the U.S. Attorney General officially made the wearing of trousers by women legal in 1923. After a rather slow start (women were reluctant to be seen in them), they increased in popularity and by 1040, most women wore tailored slacks. They were worn cautiously, often confining them to backyard gardening.

As time progressed, more and more women found that pants were not only acceptable but comfortable and smart looking. It was finally alright to bend over rather than stoop to pick something off the floor and they found a very real presence with nurses, aides and health care workers.

Voorhees goes on to tell us that by 1950, pants were widely accepted by women. They were worn for chores, work, fishing and riding. They zipped on the side rather than the front, since a front zipper was considered to be vulgar. Button-fly pants were still the province of men.

Capris became the craze in the sixties, when they were worn on television by Mary Tyler Moore. Chic, tight fitting and shorter than trousers, women began adding capris to their wardrobes. These stretchy, easy to wear pants are ideal for campus and casual wear and are as popular today as they were when they made their debut.

Now, many career women, administrators and executives wear pantsuits, as do celebrities and politicians. Hilary Clinton’s pantsuits are designed by Susanna Chung Forest and retail for $6,350 each. Most of us cannot afford that, and we look for bargains on pantsuits that will keep us in the public eye and help us climb the glass ceiling.

Choose one of these favorites on sale at Belk Stores:

  • Perceptions long-sleeved pant suits (Orig. $102) $25.49
  • Tahari ASL metallic jacket and pant suits (Orig. $320) $79.99
  • Tahari ASL red and black three piece pant suits (Orig. $320) $199.99
  • Perceptions long-sleeved pant suits (Orig. $102) $25.49
  • Tahari ASL melange two button pant suits (Orig. $280) $140

As the Virginia Slims spokesperson used to say, ‘You've come a long way baby.’ Put on your pants and enjoy them, regardless of what your day has to offer.

If you really enjoy vintage clothing, watch the video for some ideas on how women can wear it to its best advantage.

As always, maximize your style and minimize your spending~

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