February 1 2013 saw liberation for Parisian women when a law in force since 1800 banning women in the French capital from wearing trousers (pants) was finally revoked.
The law has been in force since November 7, 1800. It was made in the Official Journal of the French Senate.
The repeal of the law dating back to the years following the French Revolution of 1789, was made by France’s Minister for Women’s Rights, Ms Vallaud-Belkacem. In theory at least, until the end of last month, women who modestly covered their legs in Paris were breaking the law, although in practice the law against women’s trousers had not been enforced for some time.
Originally the law had been brought in by French revolutionaries as a security measure to stop women impersonating men. Revolutionaries were easily identified by their predilection for wearing trousers as opposed to the culottes — silk knee breeches — the bourgeoisie’s favoured attire.
The revolutionary movement came to be known as the “sans-culottes” — without breeches.
One of the most famous breeches of the law (no pun intended) was Coco Chanel who loved mens clothing and often wore trousers.
The law may seem archaic, especially in a city such as Paris. But french laws are strange things.
It is still illegal to call your pig Napolean, kiss on Railways. However you can legally marry a dead person as long as preliminary civic formalities have been completed which show that you and your fiancee had planned to marry before your fiancee died. Up until last month you just couldn't wear trousers ( if you were the bride).