A Port Huron Woman Once Caused Quite the Stir by Wearing…Pants?
Looking back on history it's amusing to think of things that were a "big deal" in their time. Sliced bread, for example, blew the minds of those who had painstakingly been slicing their own bread for years.
When it comes to fashion in particular, one of the things that always seemed to cause a ruckus was a woman being "daring" with her clothing choices in public. Today, someone more conservative may point to a woman wearing a crop top and find it scandalous.
However, going back 100 years, a woman simply wearing pants was considered outrageous.
A recent post from Port Huron Museums highlighted the very first Michigan woman to wear pants in public:
The shown article describes Zena Runyon as the first "knicker girl" seen in Port Huron, Michigan.
While pants are a part of everyday wear today, back in 1921 this was a sort of defiance that Zena hoped would,
cause other women and girls to follow her example.
Wearing clothes that she, herself, made, Zena strutted her pants-wearing-self down the streets of Port Huron. It's unfortunate that the original article seen above doesn't contain the reactions from the people of Port Huron. It's easy to imagine they would have been a mix of admiration and shock.
Aside from this fashion-forward act, little else is known of Zena Runyon. She was married to Joseph Runyon and eventually made her way to Florida where she passed away at the age of 100.
Although wearing pants in public may seem like a small event or gesture, the fact of the matter is...those small acts of defiance paved the way for women to find more independence and equality. One can only hope that Zena was able to look back and realize the gravity of her impact. After all, here we are talking about it 100 years later.
While women everywhere are probably delighted in the progression of clothing, I think we all wish that prices were the same as they were "back then." Check out this vintage newspaper showing just how cheap things used to be: