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Are Women in Trousers a Political Act?

From a realistic point of view we all agree that red carpet fashion does not mirror clothing in the real world. Hardly does an attire become a seasonal trend or make any revolutionary fashion change. Ever since the 1930s, modern entertainment has been the major trend setter. At first it might have been a tulle puffed skirt which lays emphasis on the waist or a long, draped slinky attire. Women’s fashion remains very dynamic and predictable. Recently a new trend has taken root among the modern day woman clothing – suits!

During the Screen Actors Guild Awards last Sunday, Evan Rachel Wood dazzled everyone with her velvet blue Altuzarra. This is part of her promotional run where she will stick to wearing suits. When she attended the Golden Globes, she was in a black tuxedo which covered her frothy white purple blouse. She was also quoted saying that she loves dresses but she does not believe young women should be held at a lower standard if they do not opt to wear them. Alia Shawcart, a lead black comedy TV actress wore a crisp tailored suit and echoed Woods sentiments too. She thinks that women wearing pants has become a subject for politicking.

At most award shows the norm has been skirts for women and trousers for men. To go against this long time trend seem you are making a political statement. The first time women stunned the red carpet with suits was during the 60s and 70s – a period of change and protest. This was the period when the Hollywood studios were coming down. Actresses were now at liberty to attend this award ceremonies on their own terms as they were finally free of patriarchal studio owners. Previously, they wore dresses paid for and mandated by the studio bosses. Their new freedom in dressing gave a more realistic impression of clothing in the real world.

In 1966, Yves Saint Laurent’s trouser suits was the groundbreaker. In 1972 when Jane Fonda wore Yves Saint Laurent’s trousers with a Mao collar, it sent strong pro-feminism signals. Her suit was an indirect protest to her displeasure of the Nixon administration. Other notable figures are such as Diana Ross who back in 1973 wore a satin Bob Mackie suit, Dunaway in 1977 who wore loose trousers and Jodie Foster who collected her Oscar award in 1992 with Putty-colored Armani.