The History Of The Pantsuit

As a woman, it’s pretty demoralising to hear that people think it is a legitimate point to say that Hillary doesn’t have ‘the look’ of a President. Here's how the pantsuit got political.

The History Of The Pantsuit

by India Opie Meres |
Published on

Google 'pantsuit' and the first image that appears is Hillary Clinton. She’s dressed in a light blue matching trouser and jacket while being sworn in as Senator, her husband Bill dutifully holding the bible for the ceremony. I feel like this is pretty fitting.

The trouser suit is a fashion piece that has long been contentious and striking, way before Hillary appeared at that debate with Donald Trump wearing one that her fans noted was the colour of ‘the blood of the men who stood in her way’. It’s mad to think that for centuries women wearing trousers, let alone a trouser suit, was unfathomable to the common man. All that changed when, in the 1960s, with the rise of feminism, designers such as Foale & Tuffin in London and Luba Marks in the US decided to call out the patriarchy on the idea that only men could wear clothing that let you move a little, and started making trousers suits for the modern woman of the 60s.

Needless to say, it wasn’t long after this that YSL came along and changed the game for good by bringing his 'Le Smoking' to the world which took gender bending to a whole new level, with the cut of the pantsuit mimicking a man’s tuxedo. In true Yves Saint Laurent style, Le Smoking was an incredibly ballsy fashion statement, so much so that many restaurants banned them. In fact, socialite Nan Kempner was famously turned away from Le Côte Basque in New York for wearing her YSL tuxedo. It’s now easily become one of the most recognisable fashion pieces in the world, and is regularly rocked by the likes of Angelina Jolie & Cara Delevingne.

Yves Saint Laurent's 'Le Smoking'
Yves Saint Laurent's 'Le Smoking'

Hillary Clinton’s campaign for Presidency is unlike any other. No candidate in the history of the US has been scrutinised quite like she has. From her weight to her husband, the media and Trump have, in turn, picked at everything about Hilary, and one aspect they haven’t been able to tear themselves away from are her fashion choices. As a woman, it’s pretty demoralising to hear that people think it is a legitimate point to say that Hillary doesn’t have ‘the look’ of a President, especially when her opponent looks like a cheese puff with a dodgy wig.

Hillary’s outfit choices have undoubtedly been a huge political statement from the beginning of her campaign, whether you are Republican or Democrat. Previously women in power have accepted the notion that to look powerful, they must dress as men but a little bit brighter. Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel are all examples of women who seem to want to sit easily by the side of men, rather than doing something their own way. For a long time it’s seemed contradictory for a woman to be intelligent and powerful, but also have an interest in fashion; and then came along Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

When Michelle stepped out at her last State of the Union dinner as First Lady last week in a custom Versace gown, she was owning who she was both as a politician and a woman. When Hillary Clinton appeared at her first debate with Donald Trump in a bright red pant suit, she was drawing attention to the fact that she was female, not hiding from it. Hillary’s use of the power suit has become a trade mark for her. She is unapologetic in who she is, what shape her body is and quite frankly, all the shit she wants to get done.

Rocking a power suit is a bold move, but if you fancy supporting Hillary in all her pant suit glory like the ladies above, here’s a few ideas:

Ultimate metallic trouser suit, £100, ASOS

Tailored crepe suit in ice blue, £70, ASOS

Warehouse premium wrapover blazer, £31.50, ASOS

**Liked this? You might also be interested in: **

Politics And Fashion Go Together Better Thank You Think

Here's To Elizabeth Warren And 'Nasty Women' Everywhere

Vogue Magazine Is Endorsing Hillary Clinton In Unprecedented Move

**Follow India on Twitter @indiebean **

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us