Women have had it hard, history tells you that women have been looked upon as second class citizens. Their opinions were not of value and basic rights were for a long time revoked. It took some brave women to stand up to decades of institutionalised inequality and to start to break the cycle to move gender equality forward. During all of these steps forward women found a way to express themselves through the clothes that they wore. From the women of suffrage to today’s catwalks, the clothes that women chose to wear have become a symbol of their beliefs and their fight for equality.
The Suffragettes lived in a time where women were expected to be housebound and looking after the children. Yet somehow a brave band of women made it out of their confined existence to walk the streets in their now well recognised white Edwardian dresses, adorned with a sash stating, “Votes for Women”.
Raging against the machine became a focus for women going forward in fashion, from Coco Chanel and her trouser suits that inspired many women away from their conventional norms of gender stereotyped clothing. To the influential women of today standing at women’s marches in clothing adorned with feminist slogans.
This theme is ever more present now with the total revocation of gendered clothing, many women choosing their own path with their creative style. There has been a recent trend in politically motivated clothing. We have seen this go from the women’s marches to the catwalk. Models like Bella Hadid, who are known for their work with Victoria’s Secret and the ideals of exaggerated femininity, have been seen strutting their stuff in a oversize ‘male style’ white T shirt and loose pants on Prabal Gurung’s catwalk. A clear statement of the impact of feminism in fashion. This is reinforced by the use of ‘plus size models’ something that has been a bone of contention in fashion with many high-profile designers being openly against the use of ‘curvy’ women.
The good news is that this is changing, terms like plus size are beginning to make an exit from the vocabulary, we are heading to a situation where women are women and there is no discerning between different size. Soon we would hope women can feel confident about the clothes they buy without a derogatory size label being added to their body shape.
The moral of the story? Well, I think you can decide, that’s what it’s all about after all, a women’s right to choose. How she wants to dress is just a small part of that journey, but it can help to empower along the way. So, on this international women’s day, you choose what you want to do, you choose what you want to say, and you choose what you want to wear. Tell you what, do that every day after as well!