Paris Women Now Legally Allowed to Wear Pants

Minister of women's rights revokes archaic law

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 3, 2013 2:14 PM CST

(Newser) – No more skirting the issue: A French official announced Friday that women are legally allowed to wear pants in Paris, Global Post reports. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the minister of women's rights, revoked a little-noticed 200-year-old law banning the practice: "This law is incompatible with the principles of equality between men and women which is laid out in the Constitution and in France's European commitments," she said. The Telegraph reports that a conservative senator revived interest in repealing the law last summer, saying it was "symbolic" and "could injure our modern sensibilities."

The French passed the no-pants law in 1799 on the heels of the French Revolution. Partisans of the lower classes had dubbed themselves "sans culottes" because they refused to wear knee-breeches fashionable among the bourgeoisie, and instead wore full-length pants. Women wanted to wear pants too, but were forbidden. The French did amend the law in 1892 and 1909, however, to let a woman wear pants "if the woman is holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse." (In sartorial news a little closer to home, a Florida county clerk's epic six-page dress code is bewildering employees.)

A woman hailing a cab in Paris.
A woman hailing a cab in Paris.   (Shutterstock)
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