Josie O’Neal-Odom

The Pantsuit Dilemma

Class of: 2023

Major: Illustration BFA

Medium: Digital Illustration

Faculty: Tamar Samir

I have always felt more comfortable in pants. They make me feel powerful and strong, but recently, I have questioned why this is the case. I have always loved historical fashion, the silhouettes of the 1820s astonish me, and yet in modern times, I find myself leaning towards traditional men’s clothes. As a young child, I would wear the most outrageous pink dresses and anything ‘girly’ I could get my hands on. As I grew, I learned to feel disdain towards the same clothes I used to love, gone was the girl who felt mighty in a little pink dress. I believe this drastic change happened because as I grew older, I found that we assume men hold more power. When a woman takes on male characteristics and features often times she is seen as stronger. We celebrate women that adopt these looks and perspectives, but don’t do the same for women that adhere to traditional women’s wear. Through this studio project, I wanted to create a book targeted at women of all ages, especially children, so they could grow up feeling confident in their clothing choices. Being able to look at women that are successful, in all definitions of the term, while wearing dresses and skirts normalizes women’s wear in a way that isn’t often done. Many times, we see powerful women in men’s silhouettes, so I wanted to create something that would allow women to be more comfortable and confident wearing what makes them feel good.