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WestCarolina_History Trousers Women Empowerment

People Who Broke Boundaries With Their Trousers


1. George Sand 

westcarolina_trousers fashion history empowerment George Sand

In 1800, a law was passed in Paris banning women from wearing trousers without a permit. A 6-month permit could be given to women by their doctor. 

Female author, George Sand, wore trousers illegally without a doctor’s permit.

"George Sand cannot determine whether she is male or female. I entertain a high regard for all my colleagues, but it is not my place to decide whether she is my sister or my brother." -Victor Hugo


2. Amelia Bloomer 

westcarolina_trousers fashion history empowerment Amelia Bloomer

In her magazine, Bloomer suggested a change to a more comfortable way of dress for women. The Bloomer Suit.

The contoversial suggestion was ridiculed by the conservative public. Bloomer herself stopped wearing the outfit after being ridiculed for it.

Bloomer carried on fighting for women’s rights becoming the president of the Suffragette party for Iowa, USA


3. Coco Chanel

westcarolina_trousers fashion history empowerment Coco Gabrielle Chanel

Post Second World War, Coco Chanel was a pioneer for women’s trousers.

Chanel created clothing that was practical for her lifestyle. Chanel’s yachting trousers were stylish and practical. The trousers got their name because Chanel wore them to the beach or on boats as a practical, lightweight cover-up.


4. Yves Saint Laurent

westcarolina_trousers fashion history empowerment Yves Saint Laurent Bianca jagger

Yves Saint Laurent designed the first suit for women in the 60’s. The smoking suit was a black tailored tuxedo worn with a white shirt. 

Initially the response to the suit was mixed, Nan Kemper was turned away from Le Cote Basque in New York. Kemper simply took off the trousers and wore her blazer as a dress.

The smoking suit shot to popularity in the 70’s when Bianca Jagger adopted the style. At her wedding to Mick Jagger in 1971 she wore a white suit.


5. Ana Irma Rivera Lassén 

westcarolina_trousers fashion history empowerment Ana Irma Rivera Lassen

In the 80’s, Attorney Ana Irma Rivera Lassén was refused entry to court because she was wearing trousers rather than a skirt or dress.

The attorney went on to sue the Judge who denied her entry to court, and won. 

Rivera Lassén was the first black woman to have led the Bar Association of Puerto Rico.

"I always said: ‘I am what I am and I will never cease to be what I am." -Ana Irma Rivera Lassén


6. Nicola Adams

westcarolina_trousers fashion history empowerment Nicola Adams Strictly

Adams agreed to do Strictly Come Dancing 2020 on the condition that she would not wear a dress on the BBC show. Adams felt it would be unatural for her.

The other condition of the Olympic gold medalist was that she danced with another woman. Making them the first same sex couple on strictly.


Words and Graphics by Daisy Hannam

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