Tag Archives: clothing

Horses And Bicycles Are Why We Wear Pants

An evolutionary biologist from the University of Connecticut has tied a very interesting thread through the history of pants: before horses and cavalry, pretty much every civilized culture wore robes. Cavalry, however, turned out to become an extremely important element of warfare and riding horseback while wearing robes was just not very practical. Because of this, military leaders wanted their troops to switch to wearing pants, and this idea was met with the same resistance that men switching to dresses now would draw, since men wore robes from the dawn of time:

Now Your Majesty is changing what has been the practice from the beginning and is not according with the established customs. You are adopting the dress of the Hu and have no regard for the age. That is not how to instruct the people and perfect the rules of propriety. Moreover he who puts strange attire has a dissolute will. He who goes perversely against the established customs disorders the people. That is why he who presides over the state does not clothe himself in strange and perverse attire. — from a 2nd century BC Chinese chronicle denouncing the pants wore by ancient Mongol barbarians

The practical benefits of wearing pants on horseback, however, could not be denied, and military cultures from Rome to China and Japan to American Indians eventually adopted the new dress style.


Japanese warriors wore robes called hakama


Since the warriors who owned horses tended to be rich and powerful — the knights of the Middle Ages, for example — pants eventually became a status symbol and the fashion trickled down to men who would never see battle. Women, of course, were never required to ride a horse, so they kept the traditional robes — which evolved into dresses — until the advent of the bicycle. Practicality again trumped tradition, as this new method of transportation was quite convenient and efficient, and women started wearing bloomers to ride bicycles. This change drew as much conservative ire as the men’s original departure from robes — but it also persevered. And so today, it’s socially acceptable for both men and women to wear pants whereas two thousand years ago it was ludicrous for either gender to do so.

From Social Evolution Forum, via The Atlantic and Neatorama

Sexist Trousers

Machine wash warm or give it to your woman. It's her job.


Emma Barnett found this label in her boyfriend’s chinos. Since she is a fun and laid-back kind of girlfriend that can take a joke, and also because she works in digital media, she took to the Internet and tried to start a backlash against the misogynist copywriters that came up with such an offensive label. No word on whether she actually finished washing the trousers after the incident.

In any case, for a digital media editor, she’s woefully behind the times: pictures of similar labels have been making netizens laugh for at least four years.

From Twitter, via The Telegraph and NPR

The Other Cleavage

A Greek woman on Etsy sold this “Super Sexy Dress.”


Now if she also sold bra-like panties to go with it…

From Etsy, via Laughing Squid