Breaking News:

The Sideshow

Barely legal: Women wearing pants in Paris, and other odd laws on the books

The Sideshow

View photo

.

Pants in Paris (Associated Press/Jacques Brinon)

Paris is as fashion-forward as it gets. Then again, maybe not: Women, technically, are banned from wearing pants.

At least according to a law from 1800, still on the books.

But keep your trousers on: In a statement, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France's minister of women's rights, said the 200-year-old ban has been supplanted by other laws.

"This order was aimed first of all at limiting the access of women to certain offices or occupations by preventing them from dressing in the manner of men," she said. "This order is incompatible with the principles of equality between women and men. ... From that incompatibility stems the implicit abrogation of the order."

The outdated municipal order called on women who wanted to wear pants to seek permission from the police. The law was revised to allow women to wear them when on a bike or horse.

France is hardly the only country with antiquated laws no longer enforced. Whacky ordinances pop up all over the United States. A law in Florida, for instance, bars women from parachuting on Sundays. Another fines women for falling asleep under a beauty salon hair drier. An ordinance in Cleveland, Ohio, forbids females from wearing patent leather shoes.

New Jersey is one state seeking to scrub its books of outdated statutes, such as the rule that bans bulls from roaming freely on the streets and allows rams to do so as long as it’s between Aug. 20 and Nov. 1.

John Cannel, who oversaw a review of New Jersey's more eclectic laws, compared the work to "closet cleaning." He added, “It’s not the most important thing you do, but if you never do it, your closets get very cluttered and nonfunctional. It therefore has importance.”

View Comments (329)