A Brief History Of Politically Controversial Fashion

Published December 20, 2016
Updated December 19, 2016

Carl Court/Getty ImagesThe talk that has always circulated about British Prime Minister Theresa May’s trendy clothes points to something larger: An outfit always means more when it’s being worn by a politician.

Last week, the population of Britain was freaking out over a pair of pants — a pair of $1,250, wide-legged, brown leather pants. And Prime Minister Theresa May had the misfortune of wearing them.

The outcry came so quickly and spread so widely that it even received a name: “Trousergate.”

“I don’t have leather trousers,” former British Education Secretary Nicky Morgan chided. “I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on anything, apart from my wedding dress.”

On the other side of the debate, feminists bemoaned the attention that is routinely paid to female politicians’ clothing choices and not to those of their male counterparts.

When men buy expensive suits — like the $17,000 garments worn by Donald Trump — “they’re praised for supporting a national craft,” the Daily Telegraph’s fashion director wrote.

But as much as some might insist that talk of style doesn’t have a place in the hallowed halls of governing, the two have always been inherently intertwined.

Here are some of the most famous instances of history’s fashion police calling out the people in charge:

Imelda Marcos
Women In Pants
Charles Of France
Obama Pin
A Brief History Of Politically Controversial Fashion
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Next, check out the weirdest fashion trends in history. Or, find out which fashion trend caused Victorian women to have to be carried to the beach.