Wearing the Pants

A Facebook photo has two man wearing tailored jackets and skirts.  Ignorant of correct wardrobe vernacular, I label their ensembles “suits.”  As usual, I can’t find the Facebook post.  As I recall, of the over two hundred comments, the majority subsume under sentiments like “ugly,” “ridiculous,” “can’t believe it.”

In Grandpa’s era exposed female anatomy was limited to face, hands, and feet.  A photo of a woman in black, ankle and wrist length swimwear was labeled “indecent.”

When I was a lad, decades before “Father Knows Best,” literally and figuratively, in families at least, “men wore the pants.”  Women wore a dresses or skirt and blouse.  In the backwater where I grew up, ladies wore “slacks“ only to picnics or camping.

Post-WWII, Esther Williams’s swimsuits evolved from one-piece with shoulder straps to two-piece.  Then a strapless one-piece and “Just wear a smile and a Jantzen.”  Despite being labeled “risqué” and “scandalous,” banned from the Miss World Pageant in 1951, the Bikini proved irrepressible.  Then the Thong!

Today my observation is that casual, business, even formal and in church, the majority of women wear, in a word, “pants.”  Styles range from baggy, holey, and designer jeans, to casual and fashionable trousers.  Younger—sadly some not-so-young—females wear “tights” leaving nothing to imagine but the crack.  At the Mall, I observed a sweet thing in red, thigh-length, shorts which, with a swatch of cloth at the crotch, might have been painted on.  

If a yesteryear Life magazine had published photos of today’s Spring Break at Fort Lauderdale or Palm Beach with near-naked females cavorting in the sand, or Olympic Games Beach Volleyball with near-naked females diving for a ball, 1950’s era readers would have gawked in shock and disbelief.  Learning how, seeing men wearing skirts, we now gawk in shock and disbelief, will future generations smile at our quaint notion of who wears the pants?   

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