Well I Never!

During the summer of 1917, Joplin Police Desk Sergeant Walter Finch answered the telephone to find an upset woman on the other end of the line.  The woman demanded that the police immediately send officers to her neighborhood.  Finch, puzzled, asked the caller what the emergency was.  He was informed that, “There are some women near here who are wearing trousers and I want the police to stop it.” Sergeant Finch, not knowing what to do, asked Joplin Mayor Hugh McIndoe for advice.  McIndoe responded, “Well, this is a new era for women, and if the garments are not improper I see no reason why the women should not wear them.” Detective Charles McManamy and Police Sergeant Ezra Hull were sent to “censor the garments.”  Upon their arrival at the residence, the two officers observed two women in overalls.  The two men conferred.  McManamy was agreeable to women in pants; Hull disagreed.  McManamy won out and the two women were told “they could continue to attire themselves in the ‘new era clothes.'”

Woman in Overalls

By the Second World War, it'd become quite more socially acceptable for a woman to wear overalls.

Source: The Joplin Globe, Library of Congress