If you’re familiar with Ginger Gold Mysteries you know that Ginger Gold is a fashionista. The series explores different fads throughout the Jazz Age. My latest spinoff series Higgins & Hawke Mysteries features the more practical Haley Higgins. Ginger and Haley are polar opposites in terms of personality and wardrobe choices, yet in their own way, each woman uses her sense of fashion to assert her independence.
Flappers from the 1920s pushed boundaries of proprietary for women's attire. In the 20s many flappers wore pajama pants during visits to the beach or for bicycle outings although it was not yet acceptable to wear trousers outside of these activities. In the early 1930s, it was still a brazen act for women to wear pants publicly.
Kate Hepburn shocked the world by wearing trousers between her sets on Hollywood. Marlene Dietrich also made headlines when she made an appearance at the 1932 premiere of The Sign of the Cross in a black tuxedo and fedora. In 1933, even First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wore riding pants to the 1933 Easter Egg Roll.
Celebrity statements such as these began to normalize the new pant-wearing trend for all women.
By the mid-1930s a growing number of women were sporting trousers regularly. Even so, this new trend did not come without any hitches. There were still laws in existence that banned women from dressing in a way that some considered to be misleading regarding their gender.
In 1938, kindergarten teacher Helen Hulick (pictured above) was briefly jailed for wearing slacks to court while she was testifying against two burglary suspects in a downtown L.A. courtroom. Her attire was deemed offensive and distracting by the judge who ordered her to come back to court dressed more appropriately. Helen refused to give in to the court's pressure and stood her ground even in the face of legal action. You can read more about her case here.
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Ps. You may also be interested in Beachwear in the roaring 20s!