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Posted by Bobbi Whitmore on
Just a few days ago, as I was doing research for this fashion blog, I came across a tidbit that I did not know about Mary Tyler Moore. On the Dick Van Dyke show, she was the first woman to pioneer wearing pants (the iconic cigarette pant) on television. Boy, have we come a long way.
She, like so many other celebrity icons paved the way for not only acceptance in the TV world, but in real life as well. Her later portrayal of a woman in a man’s world of television news on the MTM show was another example of women pushing forward as single, successful, career women. Women the country over were inspired and longed for her cozy apartment and female friendships. I was inspired by the show and it’s very cutting edge topics as well as watching each week with great anticipation to see what her character would be wearing as she was as stylish as well as inspiring. The show ran from the early 70’s until 1977 (a year before I graduated from high school) and was the first show to use the word “gay” and “the pill”. Boy, have we come a long way. She was a great actress, comedian, a lifelong champion for diabetes, and I was a fan and an admirer. As a woman I owe her a debt of gratitude. You will be missed MTM!
The look that so encompassed the cigarette pant evolved from the counter culture beatnik movement in the 1950’s. In stark contrast to the mainstream fashions the likes of Christioan Dior’s New Look with the hour glass skirts, the slim fit cigarette pant allowed for much freedom of movement and expression of sexual freedom. I can hear the finger snapping and jazz riffs right now. The cigarette pant with a turtle neck and a beret was the uniform of the day for the beatnik generation.
While the beatnik generation gave way to the tumultuous 60’s and all that came with it-including bell bottoms, the cigarette pant took backstage but never completely left the lime light. No one else (no one) personifies style and fashion like Jackie Kennedy Onasis. She favored the cigarette pant with a low heel when other women wore heels. She eventually gave way to the wide leg pant but not before she made the cigarette pant a classic.
If you look really hard (really, really, really, hard) you may find some kind of variation of a cigarette pant in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. but nothing like the early days. Can you imagine anything worse than the spandex disco look of the 70’s? Sorry, I lived it and I can’t.
The cigarette pant has evolved into many different variations in todays fashion world. But there is no denying that original slim fit, higher rise emphasizing the waist line and short hem showing the ankle. They are back with a vengeance and no woman should be without a pair.