The Woman Who Loved Pants

Found photos

While it’s not hard to find photos of younger women in pants from the 1940s, older women are a different matter.  This woman (I’m almost positive it’s the same one—or else a very close relative) might not yet be 50, but I’m guessing she is in her forties.  She wears pants with style.

These two photos are a good object lesson in how clothes can make the body’s shape appear quite different.  In the photo on the left, our mystery woman looks slim and comfortable, but somewhat shapeless.  In the outfit on the right, with its wide shoulders and nipped in waist, she still looks slim but also imposing.  You can see why some women were/are reluctant to give up on power shoulders.

I puzzled a long time over the dates of these photos.  The hair style is very 1940s, and it doesn’t change much between the two.  The Hepburn style pants on the left, however, were popular already in the 1930s.  The pants on the right are much slimmer fitted, heading towards to cigarette style of the early fifties.  So I’m guessing that these two photos come from different ends of the decade. 

What’s your guess? And do you wonder if she kept her broad shoulders well into the 1950s?

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2 Responses to The Woman Who Loved Pants

  1. Katrina B says:

    What great style! I immediately thought of Hepburn. I didn’t notice the difference between the two pants until you pointed out the dark ones were narrower. Aside from the photo quality I think they could be from around the same time, just wearing a more casual look (for daytripping around a castle? temple? whatever that is in the background) vs. a more businesslike look. It’s nice that these trouser styles are returning to popularity – at least in the sewing world. I don’t think I’ve seen them yet in RTW.

  2. Bob Moeller says:

    Don’t you think she’s a southern California, judging from the backgrounds. And the caree given to the backgrounds suggests a photographer who pays more attention to such things than many of the other family snapshots you’ve used.

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