If you thought French women always look so chic and dressed-up on purpose, think again — it's because even when they want to go out in a pair of sweatpants or ratty old jeans, it's against the law. We kid (we've seen plenty of Frenchies in pants, and looking darn good), but the law's no joke! Until last Friday, it was actually illegal for a woman to wear anything other than a skirt or dress, unless the woman in question "holds in her hand the handlebars of a bicycle or the reins of a horse."
An antiquated law dating back to 1800 required that "any woman wishing to dress as a man must present herself to the police prefecture to obtain authorization." It wasn't until 1909 that the generous allowances for situations calling for bike and horse were added, and lo and behold, over a hundred years later, they're just getting around to changing it! When the change was proposed in a senate meeting, Minister of Women's Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem noted that "this ordonance is incompatible with the principles of equality between men and women written in the Constitution," and the law was thusly removed from the books. We can only hope that as Mme. Vallaud-Belkacem said this, she was wearing a pantsuit. (Telegraph)
Photo: Courtesy of Les Films Concordia.