Who wore trousers and skirts in ancient times?

The wearing of trousers and skirts was not because of fashion impositions. It was more for convenience. Certain clothes went better with particular activities. Freedom of movement in action determined the use of one garment or the other. However, in ancient times socially, trousers and skirts were for men and women respectively. Although there are doubts as to why men stopped wearing skirts and heels, and why was it frowned upon for women to wear trousers?

trousers and skirts

Who wore trousers and skirts in ancient times?

In reply it may be said that heels were of male rather than female employment. The same can be said of skirts and make-up. According to historian Maude Bass-Krueger, the first men to wear heels were Persian horsemen in the 10th century. This allowed them to keep their boots in the horses’ stirrups more easily.

Although it was in the 17th century that the fashion for heels reached the European aristocracy. The use of heels became at that time a symbol of virility and power. The example that the historian proposes is in the time of Louis XIV. The redder and higher the heels worn by men, the more power the wearer had. King Louis XIV only allowed red heels to be worn by those closest to him.

Both sexes wore skirts

It was not until the 18th century that high heels came into women’s fashion. And they also surpassed in height those used by men. However, it was only during the French Revolution the moment that ended with the use of high heels in men. Being a fashion imposed by the aristocracy, it was left in the past.

Skirts were also shared by men and women on a regular basis. However, on today’s fashion runways it is common to see men wearing skirts. Although it is a feminine garment par excellence. The Aztecs, Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used skirts, tunics and togas regularly.


Initially, the trousers were worn only by men

Trousers were only used for riding, out of a sense of comfort. Skirts were easier to make and wear. Although the differences between men’s and women’s clothing began in the 14th century. According to the book History of Fashion by Giorgio Riello, fashion became a symbol of social rivalry. The hierarchy of society at that time demanded it.

Trousers were not yet a quintessentially masculine garment. Tsar Peter I imposed by law the obligation for Russian men to wear trousers in 1701. Clergymen and farmers were the only ones exempted by the law.

The trouser has been imposed as a very important sexist symbol. For much of the 20th century women were frowned upon when wearing trousers. According to historian Christine Bard, the conquest of trousers by women had to do with the right to suffrage. According to Bard, trousers became politicized and associated with power.

Shortly before the French Revolution, trousers were a garment of the poor and barbarians. Although from 1789 onwards, the use of sans culottes became official. These “long trousers without feet” were a symbol of modernity and revolution.

However, in the 19th century a woman who wore trousers was considered a transvestite. In the 1800s French women were forbidden by law to wear men’s clothing, and that included trousers. It was only after the 1960s that women began to break free and wear trousers on a par with men.

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