Lookback | The Rise of Women's Pants

At the onset of World War II, there was an influx of women in the workforce, and they were required to wear pants due to the necessity for safety in factories and other manufacturing jobs. As a result, more trousers found their way into ladies' closets than ever before.

Initially they were only worn to work, but as time passed and Hollywood starlets such as Katherine Hepburn began sporting them in daily life, slacks became a rapidly growing trend amongst women.

Of course, not everyone was keen on this. For example, a 1939 issue of Vogue magazine denounced the trend completely. "We deplore the crop of young women who take war as an excuse for letting their hair down and parading around in slacks. Slack, we think, is the word."

Women wearing pants, 1940s
Vintage women's jeans

While men's pants featured a button-up front fly, women’s pants fastened at the sides either with buttons or a side zipper, as the bulge of the former was considered too vulgar a style for women. As much as I adore vintage fashion, it's this sort of mindset that reminds me how grateful I am to the women before me and how lucky I am to enjoy the fashions of yesteryear minus the woman hating.

Vintage Women's Jeans

As luck would have it, on my latest vintage expedition I came across a stack of barely worn (if worn at all) 1940s jeans - or jean pants as they were once called. Although I couldn't resist snagging a few pairs for myself, I've already listed several in the shop. Which pair suits you best?

1940s Burma Suiting Work Pants
Vintage 1940s Jeans
1940s Jean Pants
Vintage Blue Jeans