Paris pants ban lifts, skirts officially legal

Posted By Kristen Butler,  |  Updated Feb. 4, 2013 at 11:07 AM
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As of November 1799 any Parisian woman wishing to wear "men’s clothing" in the French capital had to seek official permission from city authorities.

A century later, an amendment allowed women to wear “pantalons” [trousers] if they were “holding the handlebars of a bicycle or the reins of a horse.”

In July 2012, a public request to repeal the law was directed to minister for women’s rights and a member of the conservative UMP party Alain Houpert. The request said the "symbolic importance" of the law "could injure our modern sensibilities."

"This ordinance is incompatible with the principles of equality between women and men, which are listed in the Constitution, and in France's European commitments. From that incompatibility follows the implicit abrogation of the ordinance," French Minister for Women’s Rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said in a statement.

French Revolutionary rebels in the capital wore trousers, as opposed to the "culottes" of the bourgeoisie, a practice which became known as the "sans-culottes" movement.

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