Breaking The Law In France

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It looks like your average vacation shot, but apparently, this was illegal activity.  Just like the Judas Priest song, I was “Breakin the Law.”  I’ve done it too (but the photos are just too bad to post). It wasn’t intentional.  I didn’t have drugs, wasn’t intoxicated or carrying stolen goods.

The problem is what the girl on the left is wearing.  In 1799, post-Revolution France enacted a law banning women from wearing pants in Paris, the French capital.  Female renegades wore (gasp) long trousers to show their to the wealthy who wore fashionable knee-length culottes.  This began a political movement named ‘sans-culottes’ (which translates literally to no underwear).

For women, wearing any form of menswear in public required government permission in order to be legal.  Often, obtaining permission required a medical reason.  I’m guessing that “I didn’t feel like shaving my legs this morning” just wouldn’t have passed muster.  Ironically, the law didn’t seem to stop Parisian fashion houses from starting the military look, suits or menswear fashion trends every decade or so.

 

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