Although it has not been enforced in recent years, and many people around the world were not even aware of it, there was a ban in Paris for over 200 years, that made it illegal for women to wear pants in the city. The ban has now been lifted, allowing women to wear pants in the world’s most fashionable city without fear of getting into trouble with the law.
According to Fox News, the law, which said that women could be arrested for dressing like men, was enacted during the French Revolution, when rebels “said they wore trousers, and women in the movement wanted to wear them as well.”
It is so ironic that a law like this should exist in Paris, of all places. When one thinks of modern, cutting edge fashion, the city of light is usually the first place that comes to mind.
Though the law was amended by the French government twice, once in 1892 and again in 1909, to accommodate women who were riding horses or bicycles, it remained in place for so long because officials did not think that repealing it was a priority, according to The Telegraph.
“This ordinance is incompatible with the principles of equality between women and men, which are listed in the constitution, and in France’s European commitments,” remarked France’s Minister of Women’s Rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, in a statement.
Fortunately the law was ignored for decades before finally being taken off the books. If it had been observed, some of the greatest Parisian designers, in particular, Coco Chanel, who pioneered women’s sportswear, would have been severely limited.