100 years of women in suits!
Happy International Women’s Day
"Fashion, feminism, and politics have always been heated territory, and the suffragettes knew this."
The Guardian, 2015
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we couldn’t resist paying homage to the history of the female suit. A look which has become the very expression of power, used by women during the suffragette movement, as well as fashion icons such as Diane Keaton.
The latter of which, casually brought a look typically reserved for men to our screens as ‘Annie Hall’ in the iconic 70s classic, instantly becoming a tomboy idol for generations of women. Oozing with confidence and authority Diane Keaton insists that “people should really dress for themselves and not be afraid of it” an ethos that epitomises our culture here at The Pasta Haters!
Bye Bye Corset, Hello Suits!
On February 6th, 1918, more than eight million women won the right to vote, a huge step forward for the Suffragettes who had fought for more than a decade. What we wear says a lot about us: our personalities, our beliefs and sometimes even our politics. No one understood this more than the Suffragettes, who campaigned for looser and more comfortable clothing. They refused the restrictive corsets that women were expected to wear at that time.
Consequently, the “Suffragette suit” was born, the suit provided women with more freedom to move, and was worn as a symbol of defiance against legislation of the era. The looser, longer skirt suits, allowed for freedom of movement.
The Suffragettes appreciated that clothing was a significant tool in their fight for equality, utilising their own colours for added impact. Purple was worn for loyalty and dignity, white for purity, and green for hope. It became ideologically and practically fashionable to identify with the women’s struggle for the right to vote, even if this solidarity was only shown by wearing a small piece of jewelry. Such jewelry was modeled in semi-precious coloured stones, usually taking the form of earrings or brooches.
A century later, this call for unity via clothing has been echoed by the Women’s March movement, supporters wore Pink knitted ‘Pussy Hats’ in a harmonious representation of women’s rights.
Women and Power
Throughout history, the typical pants suit has been associated with authority and power, consequently suits were considered garments solely to be worn by men. It was not overnight that this powerhouse garment became hip and fashionable for women to wear, such as it is today. It wasn’t until 1914, when iconic fashion legend Coco Chanel designed the very first suit for women, incorporating a fur jacket with an ankle-length skirt. Ms. Chanel’s creation was considered a fashion marvel at the time, creating a catalyst for the movement of structured suits being accepted as womenswear.
Happy International Women’s day!
With love from The Pasta Haters
By Coral Williams