Women slacks on fashion

A new fashion in slacks has arrived. The figure-fitting style of the trousers included in the autumn collections of sportswear is an attempt to prove that a pair of slacks can be attractive as well as functional.

Ask a man whether women should wear slacks and the answer is almost certain to be a firm “No.” Why is this? It is over twenty years now since women “commandeered” male trousers for their own use, so that masculine hostility can hardly be based on the claim of prerogative. It is based rather on aesthetic reasons: women surely choose their clothes to enhance their appearance, men point out, and only a boyish figure looks well in slacks. In addition, the criticism continues, women do not buy carefully. Few have the trousers specially tailored: generally they are bought ready made and fit badly.

All this cannot be denied, but the original reason for adopting slacks still remains. They give far more freedom of movement than a skirt and they are comfortable to wear. But although women have now made the word “slacks” an almost exclusively feminine one, their construction and line have remained essentially masculine. A woman wearing slacks, even if she is skilfully “made up” and wearing a womanly sweater, is discarding a part of the femininity she expresses in her costume. She sacrifices charm for comfort.

Now, for the first time, women’s slacks are trying to become feminine by following the movement of fashion towards soft curves. They are also, incidentally, following the revival of the Edwardian styles in men’s clothes. The pair of stacks with full roomy legs is now being threatened by slacks tapered from hip to ankle. They are made in many materials – worsted tweed, corduroy, barathea, or velvet – and whatever the material they have a figure-clinging fit, with rows of tiny buttons to fasten at the ankles, pockets jutting beyond the hips, or tabs fitted on the waist to hold a coloured sash.

Naturally a hip-length tailored jacket is not appropriate with this silhouette. The outfit is more likely to be completed by an attractive bolero. Black velvet seems to be the favourite material, and the slacks are worn with a fancy jersey of black or a strong colour, and with a wide cummerbund. The Londonus model in the illustration is in black velveteen with a ruby belt of angelskirt. The rounded bolero is edged with braid.

The style may have stemmed partly from the Edwardian trend in men’s trousers, but no woman with an opulent Edwardian figure should adopt it.