The Allure blog has posted a lovely little artifact revealing women's views of the Dietrich look in the '30s. The following letter comes from Movie Classic magazine, way back in June, 1933:
The $20.00 letter - Marlene's Pants
All this hullabaloo about Marlene Dietrich's pants gives me a pain in the neck. Nothing, say I, but a cheap bid for publicity, and believe me, she got her share. Her assertion that American women should not imitate her because they do not look good in trousers, is an insult to the symmetry of our American stars, and if they are foolish enough to follow her idiotic fashion, they will soon find they have lost plenty of their popularity. But there's no need to worry as this foolish fad won't last any longer than Eve's fig leaf. The lure of feminine finery is too strong for women, and what would the stars spend their money on, if they eliminated beautiful clothes? The more feminine women are, the more attraction they have for men. And we, the long suffering General Public, want our stars feminine. There is nothing in the world more charming than a beautiful girl in a shimmering dress, be it silk or organdie. Our poor men are having enough trouble these days, what with women having taken their jobs; their barber chairs; their cigarettes and choice swear words. The least they can do is leave the poor creatures their trousers. MRS. HANNAH FELDMAN, Atlanta, Ga.