It all started in 1903 when Emmeline Pankhurst started the Women’s Social and Political Union. Protests and marches quickly became apart of the suffragettes campaign for votes for women and women’s rights. Feminists like Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Lucy Stone all joined the Women’s Social and Political Union by wearing white in protest. This was the first major political fashion statement.
Throughout history leading women have been making history “Her Story” with daring fashion choices to make a political statement. The next huge political fashion statement was when women started wearing trousers in the 1920s and 30s. Luisa Capetillo was the first women to wear pants in Puerto Rico in 1919. Capetillo was then arrested for committing the crime of wearing pants as a woman. After Capetillo’s breakthrough women started wearing pants in leisure. Trends setters like Katharine Hepburn and Amelia Earhart inspired more and more women to wear trousers. During World War ll it was common for women to wear their husband’s trousers and work suits to industrial war effort jobs.
In 1960 blue jeans were introduced for women, and it became very common for women and girls to wear jeans during leisure activities and around the house. Although women were still expected to wear dresses and skirts in restaurants, the workplace and out in public. This was a gender stereotype at the time and an unfair gender role. Women were expected to step up during World War ll to help the war and economy when their husbands’ were away, but they were diminished when their husband’s returned from war.
In 1961 Jackie O was the first First Lady to wear pants in social settings and in casual settings. In 1969 Charlotte Reid was the first woman to wear trousers in the U.S. Congress, otherwise known as the paint suit today, later made famous by Hillary Clinton. Fist women wearing pants and pant suits was a rare occasion but became more frequent throughout Nixon and Reagan’s presidency. But really started to boom in 1993 with First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Hillary set the tone for fashion as a power for women. It’s hard to feel your most confident in a work or political setting in a tight dress and tall heels. Hillary set the trend of women wearing pant suits, otherwise known as a power suit. Hillary Clinton showed her fashion statements in the 90s as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the U.S. , then again as senator for New York, next as Secretary of State and hit the epitome of her political fashion as the first female democratic nominee to run for President. Hillary made pant suits for women a political statement and a fashion statement.