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Which authorities permit women wearing "womens' pants", as long as it is covered by a skirt, in lieu of tights in non-athletic situations, for example as a more comfortable, warmer, or even more tznius option? Why do those who forbid the practice in any case hold that way?

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FTR, "womens' pants" are pants made specifically for women, which according to some authorities removes the "beged ish" issue. –  yoel Dec 31 '12 at 4:41
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Strongly related. –  yoel Dec 31 '12 at 4:43
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@yoel Beged ish, maybe. But how could it possibly be untznius?? It's under the skirt. –  Ariel Dec 31 '12 at 10:35
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@yoel I've heard people justify this notion from an extrapolation from Pesachim (3a), which says that it is a tad indelicate to explicitly mention that a woman rode astride an animal. However, the gemara in Shabbos (13b) describes a garment called a sinar that a woman would wear at night, which the Chidushei Riv'van describes as "the female equivalent of men's pants". The gemara suggests that it is tzniyus to wear this garment in the context described. The latter source seems much less ambiguous to me on the issue of whether pant-like garments are inherently toxic. –  Fred Dec 31 '12 at 18:04
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@Fred "The gemara suggests that it is tzniyus to wear this garment in the context described." The gemara says that is obligatory to wear them always, for to not wear them is immodest (BK82a) and this is codified as an obligation of modesty by the Rambam (Ishut 24:13). –  Double AA Jun 23 at 19:38

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It might not be a problem in technical halacha, however it definitely doesn't fit with being a Bas Melech. Every Jewish women and girl is a princess - Dovid Hamelech established this fact in Tehilim chapter 45. Therefore Jewish women have to live up to their essence and dress always in an elegant, regal and royal mode of dress.

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dys, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for contributing this answer! you could make it even more valuable by editing in a source that maps Tehilim 45 directly to a discouragement for women to wear pants. Also, please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. –  Isaac Moses Jan 13 '13 at 19:06
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Why rely on David for that? God Himself tells us the Jewish nation is a Kingship in Shemot 19:6, so it follows that the men and women of the nation are princes and princesses, if not kings and queens. –  Double AA Jan 13 '13 at 20:18

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