By Rick Weaver
That most American women work and wear pants to various functions is nothing new. That more women are donning “The Pants” as they earn more and contribute a rising portion of overall family income for households with a partner – in some cases, as the primary bread winners – is a newer phenomenon. As a woman earns more, she holds greater leverage to influence decisions that impact economic security for herself and her family. Indeed, recent data reveal that more women are wearing The Pants, or wearing them right alongside their partners, when you reconsider the wardrobe staple in this context.
Figures show that although women on average still earn a percentage (90%) of men’s salaries nationally, women are catching up. In America’s largest cities, a class of women already out earns men. Dr. Andrew Beveridge of Queens College observed in a 2007 report that in cities like New York, Chicago, Boston and Dallas: young, college educated women working full time earn up to 17-to-20 percent more than men with similar backgrounds. Meanwhile, on a national average, woman who held jobs through the latest recession saw their wages rise faster than men, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the past two years, women’s salaries rose 3.2% adjusted for inflation, compared to just 2% for men, as recently reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Women are contributing more to household income. According to a 2008 report by the Families and Work Institute, women with a partner/spouse who worked contributed on average 44% to family income in 2008, up from 39% in 1997. This trend is unlikely to reverse soon — and may accelerate further — as more women are returning to work to replace income from jobs lost in male-dominated industries (construction and manufacturing) that evaporated during the recession. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that scores of women are returning to work after many years of caring for young children for this reason. A growing question, particularly for women returning to the office after a long hiatus, is: “What should I wear?”
Naturally, pants are a staple product in a career woman’s wardrobe. Styles by Brooks Brothers, J.Crew and Banana Republic prove your look can be work chic.
Brooks Brothers recently introduced a new line of ladies’ trousers (“Lucia”) that provide working women with a modern, tailored fit. While the Lucia line is geared towards the petite for a sleeker look, Brooks Brothers and others carry other editions for tall women searching for a wide or straight leg.
My informal survey revealed taller women really like J.Crew pants, especially the “City-fit” because they feel comfortable and have a great length.
As a versatile option, Banana Republic identified its Martin line as a customer favorite. In a review on the company’s website, customer Chloe described a pair as, “an excellent, timeless, and classic staple for your wardrobe!” I agree they make a great, affordable investment.
And finally, for a look that is ultra-feminine, but means business, Victoria’s Secret offers several style inspirations — Marisa, Christie, and Kate dress pants – which stretch for a perfect fit.
Brooks Brothers, J.Crew, Banana Republic and Victoria’s Secret make ladies’ pants that are designed to make women look fabulous while earning dollars and cents. And with the changing economic landscape, appealing to the working woman’s fashion needs also makes sense!