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Fashion Forward: Not All Pants are Created Equal

Given the circumstances, 2020 will never be remembered as a banner year for fashion as a whole but it did usher in a unique fascination with pants reminding many of the decades old hair coloring slogan…”Does she or doesn’t she?”  As we sat in Zoom meetings, admiring a well-dressed, well-groomed woman in a vibrant and flattering blouse, we had to wonder if her bottom half was equally attired, or if there might have been a pair of flannel jammies or well-worn sweats hidden from the camera lens.  To the embarrassment of many, there were numerous well documented videos to confirm that half dressing was now a “thing”.  Zoom forward to 2021 and know that more of us are heading back to the office or an occasional dinner out and need to update our wardrobe from the waist down.


In the 1850’s, American women were introduced to “bloomers”, Turkish style pants that gathered at the ankle worn under a knee length skirt.  Our community has a special connection to this 19thcentury style as one of our residents is descended from the early feminist, Amelia Bloomer whose name lent itself to the groundbreaking fashion.  Read more about her legacy.  It wasn’t until World War I and World War II that women in this country would really wear pants, men’s pants, as they began to work in jobs traditionally held by males.  While in the years after the wars, females would occasionally don pants for yard work or exercise, it would be the women’s movement of the 1960’s and 70’s that would firmly establish pants as socially acceptable women’s apparel and even then, not in all workplaces.


Trousers, slacks and pants are very much the same and yet, distinctively different.  Trousers are fitted at the widest part of your body, typically the abdomen or hips.  The legs of the garment remain straight for the length of the trouser.  Pants, on the other hand, are more fitted and maybe slightly tapered.  Slacks  are what we would think of as relaxed fitting khakis or chinos and are most suited to casual settings.  Even though denim is rarely appropriate for your office wardrobe there can’t be a discussion of bottoms without mentioning jeans and the fact that everyone needs a well-fitting pair, or two, in their closet.


Regardless of what fit and style you prefer when selecting a “waist down” style, your choices of lengths, colors and fabrics are nearly endless.  Be certain to choose a garment that can be easily integrated with pieces that you already own to expand your wardrobe.  As we approach spring, you might want to consider making a statement with wide leg trousers in a bolder color and lightweight fabric.  Then again, a pair of solid ankle lengths pants will work nicely with a short, print jacket or a perhaps a tee for a more casual feel. The list could go on and on and I will be addressing “What To Wear With What” in a futurepost.


Thank you to each and every one of you for reading my fashion musings and I wanted to leave you with a quick reminder that the most important part of looking your best is feeling your best, so please stay safe, continue to wear a mask, a chic one, of course and take some time for yourself doing something that you love.

Please follow the link to read my FashionForward column online or subscribe to Baltimore Business Journal to receive your copy in the mail or in your inbox.