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Old Paris Law Still Stands: No Pants for Women

1800s rule prohibits ladies from 'dressing like men'
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2009 11:06 AM CST
Old Paris Law Still Stands: No Pants for Women
This woman, posing in front of the Eiffel Tower in 1968, is breaking the law.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Turns out fashion-forward Paris has some rather retro regulations. Namely, a ban on women wearing pants. It's the type of law associated with the Sudan, not the Champs-Elysées, but more than 200 years after it was enacted by the city's police chief, the law stands. But today's cops may have a tough time enforcing it: Trousers are mandatory for policewomen.

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The rule has survived repeated attempts at repeal. In 1892, the Daily Telegraph notes, it was "relaxed" such that trousers were permitted "as long as the woman is holding the reins of a horse." In 1909, female cyclists were declared exempt. In the 1960s and again in 2003, people tried, but failed, to overturn the ban. So, law-abiding ladies, when in Paris, stick to skirts.
(Read more Paris stories.)

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