Trousers have always been the preferred dress of women who had to do physical work. The arrival of World War I gave many women jobs as men went to join the military. Though women who worked with the public still wore skirts, many women wore trousers and overalls to work in factories. After the war ended women were reluctant to give up the freedom of movement their pants had given them. Another French designer, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, loved wearing pants herself, often dressing in her boyfriend's suits, and she began designing pants for women to wear while doing sports and other activities. Chanel designed horseback riding trousers for women, who had previously ridden sidesaddle in heavy skirts.
During the 1930s pants continued to be stylish, although they were still shocking to many. Audiences were both fascinated and horrified by glamorous actresses of the time, such as Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn, who wore trousers regularly. Though some designers created tailored slack suits for women, wearing pants was still not widely accepted. Some conservatives considered women in pants unnatural and masculine. However, by 1939 Vogue, the respected fashion magazine, pictured women in trousers for the first time, and many women wore pants for playing golf or tennis and riding or bicycling.