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Breaking Boundaries: When Girls First Wore Pants to School | CJ Coombs

Flared denim jeans, also called flared pants. Photo by Mike Powell, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

I remember when I moved to Kansas City and learned that girls might start wearing pants to school. I thought it was great. I thought it was about time.

Who wanted to wear a dress in winter? I never questioned wearing a dress every day as it was what was expected from the beginning of my school years. They weren’t jeans, though, they were pants. Eventually jeans were allowed.

The way people dress in public has also changed over the decades. When you board a flight now, everything goes really well, but when I was much younger, women and girls were dressed up. Even then, smoking was allowed on flights.

Bell bottom

Before we wore jeans, we had flared pants and to keep them from dragging on the floor, you wore platform shoes. After flare pants went down the drain, you didn’t see them again for a couple of decades and they were gone again when skinny jeans were on the market.

Platform shoes

These types of shoes were very popular in the 70s. Wedge shoes have been around for a long time, but were particularly popular from the 60s to the 80s.

Seven inch flip flops. Photo by Ceddie2000 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Warm pants

Depending on which school district you lived in, you may have had to wear hot pants (shorts) to school. I remember we had a hot pants day towards the end of a school year. One day.

By the mid-1970s, hotpants became associated with prostitution…which contributed to their fall from mainstream fashion. Hotpants remain popular costumes for cheerleaders and dancers. (Source.)

Wear pants to school

One of the problems girls had wearing skirts to school was walking up the stairs and well, you can imagine.

In 2019, The Washington Post published, Girls Were Forced to Wear Skirts to School to “Preserve Chivalry.” So they sued and won. The case was brought in North Carolina by plaintiffs who disagreed with school policy. This case also made it all the way to a federal appeals court.

It stands to reason that if you’re on a playground during recess, wearing a dress or skirt isn’t practical for climbing.

We live in a different culture and dress codes should be adjusted accordingly. There are different dress code policies depending on where you live and which school district you belong to.

Click here for the dress code and uniform policy in the Kansas City, Missouri school district.

It was a positive decision for the schools to change their policy which allows girls to wear slacks or jeans to school. It just made obvious practical sense.

There is nothing inappropriate about wearing warmer clothes in the winter months. There’s nothing inappropriate about wearing looser clothing on a playground or walking up a flight of stairs.

Thanks for reading.

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