Sheer White Glam: Suits (Part II)

 The Twenties – Elle Germany, June 2011

During the 1920s, clothing styles officially entered the modern era of fashion design. During this decade, women began to liberate themselves from constricting clothes for the first time and openly embrace more comfortable styles like pants and short skirts. One of the fashion innovations of the 1930s was women’s use of the pants suit, also known as the slacks suit.

Like many of the popular fashions of the 1930s, the pants suit was associated with a Hollywood starlet. Actress Marlene Dietrich (c. 1901–1992) wore men’s clothes in many of her movies, but she was especially known for wearing masculine suits in her public appearances. Women’s pants suits generally had flared or bell-bottomed trousers, and the jackets were tailored in slightly softer versions of men’s styles. Pants suits were considered a little outrageous during the 1930s and 1940s, for people were still adjusting to the idea of women wearing pants. (Source)

Vogue, Germany

André Courrèges introduced long trousers for women as a fashion item in the late 1960s, and over the next 40 years pantsuits gradually became acceptable business wear for women. In 1966, designer Yves Saint-Laurent introduced his Le Smoking, an evening pantsuit for women that mimicked a man’s tuxedo.

Le Smoking tuxedo suit for women was the first of its kind to earn attention in the fashion world and in popular culture. It pioneered long, minimalist, androgynous styles for women, as well as the use of power suits and the pantsuit in modern-day society. Fashion photography echoes the influence of this suit in shoots that feature androgynous models with slicked-back hair in a mannish three-piece suit, a style that was first popularised in photographs by Helmut Newton. (see the picture here) Yves Saint-Laurent was seen by many as having empowered women by giving them the option to wear clothes that were normally worn by men with influence and power. (Source)

Pantsuits were often deprecated as inappropriately masculine clothing for women. For example, until the 1990s, women were not permitted to wear pantsuits in the United States Senate.

The 2012 Spring/Summer Ready To Wear Collections

These are just a couple of outfits the designers have worked on for the 2012 summer season. It is totally understandable why white dominates the summer months whereas black contribues mostly to the winter wordrobe.


White fabric is used in summer clothing because white reflects all wavelengths  of light rather than absorbing them. The sun’s hot, fast-moving ultraviolet  light is also transmitted in waves. White reflects the light’s heat and keeps a  substance cool. Ancient peoples living in dry, hot climates before the invention of air  conditioning would have worn white or light clothing to keep themselves cool.  Conversely, people living in cloudy, snowy regions learned to wear dark clothes  in order to harvest heat from little sunlight. (Source)

pictures via:


  1. I think this is a very well researched & written blog post & of course the images are amazing. Marlene Dietrich really was a pioneer of all things fashion forward & the androgynous style was certainly one of them 🙂

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