Before Hillary Clinton, there was Rep. Charlotte T. Reid (R-Ill.), who made history for being the first woman to wear pants in congress exactly 42 years ago, to the day.
The Washington Post dug up this gem of an article from their archives, in which Reid’s bold decision to don a “black wool, bell-bottomed pantsuit” on December 23, 1969 made her the talk of the floor.
Our favorite paragraph:
How did her male colleagues react? One incredulous congerssman told her, “I was told there was a lady here in trousers, so I had to come over and see for myself.” Of the dozen or more men who spoke to Mrs. Reid about her outfit, none had other than compliments, she said. (There were no other congersswomen on the floor to comment.)
The look was such a hit that then minority leader Gerald Ford even told her “it was great and [she] should do it more often”, though Reid wasn’t sold. She told the Post:
“I am really quite serious about my service in the Congress and I wouldn’t want to do anything that seemed facetious. Neither would I want to do anything to take away from the feminity of the women in the House, even though I think pants are feminine-looking.”
If only she could see what Congress looked like now.