Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel didn’t invent women’s pants — they had already entered wardrobes during World War I, when women started taking jobs traditionally carried out by men who were off at war.
However, Chanel undeniably popularized women’s trousers as a fashion garment. The designer liked wearing pants herself (she often borrowed them from her male lovers), and, as early as 1918, began sporting flowy “beach pajamas” while vacationing on the French Riviera.
Drawing inspiration from the straight, wide cuts of sailor’s pants, giving them a loose, comfortable shape, she matched them with oversized shirts or sleeveless tops.
The garment considered risqué at the time, due to pajamas’ association with the bedroom, but by the mid-1920s it become a staple among wealthy ladies and a fixture of Chanel’s collections.
This was just one of the style innovations from a designer who once famously said: “I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.”