Who Dares to Wear Trousers?

Adoption of a New Fashion by Finnish Women 1920–1980

in Ethnologia Europaea
Arja Turunen University of Jyväskylä arja.h.turunen@jyu.fi

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Trousers have traditionally been men’s clothing that women have not been allowed to wear. In this article, I study the history of women’s wearing of trousers in the twentieth-century Finnish context by analysing women’s own memories and experiences of the trouser trend. My research material consists of written reminiscences, which I use, first, to reconstruct the social and cultural factors that framed women’s choices. Second, I approach their personal preferences and choices by analysing their narrative identities in the context of dress. My analysis shows that the cultural norms, conventions and expectations about a proper dress were crucial for adopting a new fashion trend. The most important factor in the choice of apparel was, however, the sensual, embodied experiences of wearing clothes. 

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