The capris pant was part of a fashion statement that brought pants into the wardrobe of mid century women. At first in the 1930s, it was considered quite daring for women to wear pants in public. It was more likely pant designs by Elsa Schiaparelli would be worn by high profile women like Katherine Hepburn or the Duchess of Windsor. With World War II it became grudgingly acceptable for women to wear pants due to the tasks at hand. Fashion leaders of the 1950s into the 1960s like Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, and finally, Laura Petrie of the Dick Van Dyke Show made them part of the American fashion norm.
Capris pants come mid calf — not to be confused with ankle length toreador pants — both which could be dressed up and worn with either flats or high heels. There were cigarette pants that are high waisted long pants. There were clam diggers that came below the knee to mid calf with a cuff or drawstring (Doris Day). Finally the more casual petal pushers which were first used as a casual sport pant that was ideal for bike riding.
Another American icon to wear pants on the movie screen was Marilyn Monroe. In the 1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, Marilyn wears pants and sash that was very similar to Cissy's own 1957 Black Capris Set. William Travilla designed many of Marilyn's iconic movie costumes, and rarely put her in pants. One of his most memorable dresses for Marilyn, the Seven Year Itch white halter dress that reacts to the rush of wind of the NYC subway, recently sold at auction for 4.6 million dollars.