Archive | July, 2010

Side fastening trousers for women – why not?

4 Jul

All I want is some trousers with a FLAT front, not marred by any bulk from a centre zip and fastening of any kind.  Side pockets are also essential

So why, oh why, is it so difficult to find these desirable garments?

Short answer:
Because WOMEN’s trousers are modifications of MEN’s trousers

The front fastening is obviously very useful for men, but makes for unsightly bulk for women – yes, even size zero women.

Note that market forces have made several women friendly modification to trousers in terms of shape. The women’s version has wider hip to waist ration and shorter legs, consistent with the reality of female and male physique. See poll to give your views

Long Answer – see History of Clothing, Status and Sex

Clothing seems to have been part of human culture at least since the origin of modern humans about 50- 100,000 years ago. It probably always had two functions, with good design satisfying both functions. A hallmark of  good design is satisfying multiple functions.

  1. Protection from the elements, while enabling all normal activities. Free movement, ease of bodily functions. These include eating, urinating and defecating for both sexes. For women normal functions includes comfort in pregnancy and breast-feeding  when appropriate
  2. Signaling social status. Gender is part of social status in all societies I know about. Indeed, differences in male and female clothing are ubiquitous and some religions even prohibit cross-dressing.

Back to the history of trousers. Have spent an interesting hour googling this.

Apparently both men & women horse riding people  like the Scythians wore trousers. So did both amle and female ancient Persians. European history shows trousers evolving bottom up from hose for men. Hose is individual protection for the legs, initially  covering the calves, then the thighs  and then held up a the waist – but still not fully joined up round the buttocks and stomach. Men wore cod-pieces separate from the hose. Once it all got joined up hose becomes breeches. I may be that in some cultures trousers evolved top down, by dividing skirts  and sewing seems separately round each leg – but didn’t find anything about that.

Trousers were introduced into Western European culture at several points in history, but gained their current predominance only in the 16th century.

Nomadic Eurasian horsemen/women such as the Scythians, along with Seleucid Persians were the first to wear trousers, later introduced to modern Europe via either the Hungarians or Ottoman Turks. However, the Celts also seem to have worn them in Ancient Europe.

Back to modern female trousers and status.

In the West from medieval times, men wore the trousers. Men also generally had  higher status. So as women attained ‘equality’, they came to dress like men. 1960’s feminists dressed their daughters ‘like boys’. They did not dress their sons ‘like girls’.

There is also a quite sensible view that women wore trousers because they are ‘more practical’. No doubt partly true. BUT there is a strong conflict between clothes functionality and status. Veblen points out that aristocratic clothing was deliberately uncomfortable for both men and women. 18thCentruy aristocratic garb was designed to show that the aristocrat wearer could not be involved in manual work. High status men wear ties to work to this day. Indeed a tie is fairly essential if a man want to criticize a Muslim presenter for wearing a headscarf [while still showing her attractive face with dramatic eye makeup].

So go to the poll and vote for sexy comfortable side fastened trousers – or not

Where woud you like your trouser fastening?


Advertisements