1. High Heels
Today, you probably won’t see many men donning a pair of towering stilettos, but this beloved women’s fashion accessory did start out with men. High heels can be traced back to ninth century Persian horseback warriors, who wore them to keep their feet from sliding out of their stirrups. A few hundred years later, European aristocrats began wearing them to distinguish themselves from the lower classes, then wealthy women adopted this trend from the men as a way to demonstrate “masculine traits” to gain more power and recognition for themselves.
The use of wigs started as early as 2700 BC, but died down a bit until the seventeenth century when European royals began donning them. Louis XIV in particular made white, curly wigs highly popular for men in his day and age. Women started shaving their heads and wearing wigs around the late seventeenth century as a status symbol until the wig lost popularity in the early twentieth century.
A good blazer is a staple in every professional woman’s wardrobe, but this wasn’t always the case. In the mid-1800s, the crew of the HMS Blazer (not joking) began wearing blue and white jackets that were later dubbed, “blazers.” Blazers really didn’t start gaining momentum in the world of women’s fashion until the 2000s, but it doesn’t seem to be a trend that’s slowing down anytime soon.
4. Button-Down Shirts
Now, they’re every woman’s favorite go-to shirt, but button-downs actually originated under the name, “polo shirts” because men wore these buttoned, collared shirts while playing polo in the late nineteenth century. Women began wearing these tops in the late twentieth century, and they’ve steadily grown in popularity for both of the sexes since then.
Jumpsuits and rompers are all the rage in women’s summertime fashion right now, but the jumpsuit was actually developed as workwear for men in the early twentieth century. Jumpsuits entered the fashion world in the 1950s as part of the pin-up trend and continued to be popular in the 60s and 70s. Jumpsuits saw a decline for a few decades, but they’ve recently picked up a lot of steam and are some of the chicest articles of clothing on the runway.
I ask you, what is life without a pair of leopard print loafers? We’re so thankful they got their start in Norway in the 1930s and blew up in the States later that decade. Men were the first ones to start wearing these comfortable shoes as everyday footwear, but women weren’t far behind and began donning them in the 1950s.
All debate about gender roles and gender-specific colors aside, the fact is that most people associate pink with girls and blue with boys, especially for babies. Well, it will probably surprise you to know that men primarily wore pink in the past, starting as early as the 1700s! It wasn’t until after World War II that women started wearing the color pink on a regular basis.
Painting or decorating one’s face has been around for thousands of years, and it is believed to have started with ancient Egyptian pharaohs painting their faces and using kohl to line their eyes in about 4000 BC. Makeup has been an essential part of many societies, and women actually began using makeup to impress the gods in that same Egyptian society only a few hundred years later.
We can’t imagine it being fall or winter and not wearing boots, so we’re especially glad that boots were invented around 1000 BC by nomads and further developed by European militaries in the seventeenth century to keep soldier’s feet protected and warm. Women’s boots hit the fashion world by storm in the 1970s, and they’ve kept up their appeal to this day with riding boots, combat boots, ankle boots, and more.
10. Large-Faced Watches
The old his and hers watches used to be composed of one large-faced watch (for men) and one small, dainty watch (for women). Men began wearing large-faced wristwatches as early as the sixteenth century, and it wasn’t until the 2000s that women started getting onboard with this trend. Now these watches are more popular than ever for women with the coveted Michael Kors timepieces taking center stage in the world of women’s accessories.