Marcy Tilton Designer Fashion Fabrics
Hello Sewing Friends!

As we head into an extra long July 4th holiday weekend here in the US, I thought it would be interesting to take a little look back at earlier times that frequently found freedom and fashion in conflict on the front line of cultural clashes and political power plays.

From pants to plaids to purples, the history of fashion is a heroine's journey filled with outlawed outfits, bespoke bans, and all manner of other ridiculous restrictions regulating who was allowed to wear what.

Pant bans began as far back as the Greeks and Romans and have persisted to present times. The aristocrats of antiquity viewed pants as barbaric garb, and in 397 ACE Rome officially outlawed them from being worn in the eternal city with the severe penalty of “perpetual exile” for breaking the ban.

It wasn’t until 2013 that the French government officially overturned a 200-year-old ban on women wearing trousers. Across the proverbial pond, universities were allowed to ban women from wearing pants until 1972, and there were U.S. Senate rules prohibiting pant-wearing women on the floor until 1993.

Historically Brits have particularly fancied fashion bans. In 1463 Parliament passed a law prohibiting men from wearing short coats that didn’t offer "sufficient coverage" of “privy” parts.

The politically-charged Dress Act of 1746 banned traditional Scottish tartan kilts until royals later made an abrupt about-face after Prince Albert designed the now-famous red and black Balmoral tartan. King George VI later banned commoners from wearing the new royal family plaid in a decree still in place today.

Fashion bans were not limited to plaids and pants. In the 4th century, the English passed a sumptuary statute that revived a Roman law reserving the color purple for royals. Those who had the hubris to don the hue and defy the decree were subject to death.

So as we celebrate our many hard-fought freedoms, it’s interesting to remember how often the 'right to wear’ put fashion on the frontline. Finally, stay tuned to your inbox tomorrow (Saturday) morning for a big announcement to help everyone celebrate fashion freedom!

On We Sew!