Think about the cute wide-legged pants and blazer you’re wearing today and how good they make you feel every time you put them on. You can thank second-wave feminism
for that. Not only did the feminists of the ‘60s and ‘70s continue the hard work started by suffragettes at the turn of the century, fighting for social, economic, and political equality for women, the '60s agitators also happened to reinvent women’s fashion. For example, Betty Friedan (author of The Feminine Mystique
) rejected traditional women’s fashion as both a source of restriction and limitation placed on women by patriarchal forces. She saw it as a trivial distraction from more important women’s issues. On the other hand, Gloria Steinam, an activist who was constantly on TV and in the media, was aware of how fashion's role in self-expression.
Regardless of their stances, both of these pioneers changed women’s clothing through their politics. It was not, of course, their intention or their focus, but in their battle for gender equality, they — and others like them — managed to subvert the dominant paradigms that dictated how a woman should look. The interesting thing is that many of the “styles” (not that they were considered styles in the first place) continue to influence how we dress today. From the slouchy, oversized jeans you love so much to the boxy blazer you wear with your dresses, these items are symbolic of the women who fought against the limitations of their gender.