Women’s Fashion Staples That Were Originally Just for Men

Fashion Staples

Both fashion and gender norms are in constant flux, so it makes sense that some of the standards we have today haven’t always been the case. Something as commonplace as pants would have turned heads if a woman wore them even just a century ago. We’re going to dive into this topic by exploring women’s fashion staples that were originally just for men, from high heels to the colour pink.

High Heels

Though now one of the capsule-wardrobe staples for women everywhere and associated with powerful femininity, high heels originated as footwear for male aristocrats in the 10th century. Originally designed to help riders secure their feet in stirrups, they evolved into markers of nobility and high social standing. Over the centuries, as women began adopting this style, heels became synonymous with female fashion.


Pants serve as a staple in the modern woman’s wardrobe, offering a blend of comfort, practicality, and style. However, for centuries, pants were exclusively for men, largely due to societal norms and practical reasons. The same is true for the jumpsuit, a relative of pants with a long, fascinating history. It wasn’t until the 20th century that women began wearing pants and jumpsuits for work during the war efforts. Over time, they became a symbol of liberation and equality.


Handbags, an essential accessory for many women, began their journey as functional items that men of various cultures carried. Initially for carrying coins, documents, and other necessities, handbags were practical items devoid of gender-specific designs. Over time, as fashion evolved and women’s roles in society expanded, handbags became a fashion statement for women, embodying both functionality and style.


Leggings, now a ubiquitous part of women’s casual and athletic wear, have a history that dates back centuries, primarily as a garment for men. Originally designed for protection and warmth, leggings were made from leather or heavy cloth and worn by soldiers and laborers. Over time, they evolved into functional athletic wear for men, particularly in the 19th century. It wasn’t until the fitness boom of the 1980s, along with the popularization of aerobics and dance, that leggings made a significant transition into women’s wardrobes.

Anything Pink

The colour pink, often associated with femininity and softness, was not always a colourdesignated for women. In the early 20th century, pink was considered a strong and masculine colour. Meanwhile, people thought blue was more delicate and therefore more appropriate for women. The shift towards pink as a colour for girls and women is a relatively recent development, reflecting the fluid nature of fashion and colour symbolism.

Many items we now regard as women’s fashion staples were originally just for men. Fashion and gender norms are constantly evolving, and these fashion staples just go to prove it. Next time you wear any of these items, remember their history and how fascinating and empowering it is that women can now wear them without anyone batting an eye.


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