Older Women in Pants, Mid-Century Edition

1946. Click to enlarge

It isn’t easy to find photos of older women in pants before World War Two, although I am doing my best to uncover them.  After the Second World War, the numbers climb.  We can credit the same explanation often given for younger women adopting this style. Older women also wore pants for their war jobs—see here and here.  At least some must have decided to continue this practical mode of dressing in work and leisure situations.  It’s hard to imagine the woman above, who looks like she had lots to do on the dock, showing up in a skirt.

Anne Spencer, 1947. Click to enlarge.

This photo of Anne Spencer, renowned writer, gardener and Civil Rights activist, show practical pants in the garden.

1948. Click to enlarge

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The three above are just a sampling of my photos showing women camping, hiking, and relaxing in pants.

What about more public situations?

Boston, 1952. Click to enlarge

1959. Click to enlarge

The Boston area shopper headed to the market in pants in 1952, and the free spirit Vida looks as if she is off to meet friends at a coffee shop in 1959.

Obviously this is just a random collection. It’s only in the seventies that older women take to pants in large numbers and photos become much easier to find.  But a very slow trend is already emerging in the post war era. It will finally end in someone like me, who owns not a single skirt or dress.

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One Response to Older Women in Pants, Mid-Century Edition

  1. Carol in Denver says:

    I wonder how women felt the first time they wore pants: playfully daring? relieved to be finally wearing comfortable, practical pants?

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