“Ever since I was a little girl, my fairytale involved a pantsuit, not a wedding dress,” said bestselling novelist Jessica Knoll in her provocative piece for The New York Times, “I want to be rich and I’m not sorry.” Her ambition for workplace success manifested itself in a sort of sartorial armour and in our brave, new, post-#MeToo world, designers are placing more weight than ever on pantsuits, as a symbol of unequivocal power and support for women – at least where their wardrobe is concerned.
The pantsuit has long been in the fashion lexicon – in the early 1900s many US states made it illegal for women to wear trousers. Fashion mirrors social change and the move away from skirts took hold with the first wave of feminism. In the wake of World War I, when all able-bodied men were called to service, women entered the workforce in droves. This same era saw women’s suffrage take hold around the world, and these collective moments of revolutionary social change entered the runway.
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