Something's definitely up.
Within 20 minutes last Wednesday at lunchtime, 10 women crossed the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and L Street wearing shorts.
Washington. The Don't Show Your Knee City. The home of mega-firms that still don't let women wear pants to work. There's a fashion rebellion going on -- and it's in the form of shorts.
"I wasn't going to do it at first," admitted Eugenie Provosty, an intern for Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.). She'd just arrived in town from New Orleans and brought a couple of pairs with her -- including the pretty black silk ones she was wearing Wednesday. But she wasn't sure if they'd be acceptable daytime wear in the nation's capital. "I've seen other interns on the Hill wearing them, though. So I figured, 'Why not?' It's different!"
Some people call them "city shorts." Others, "walking shorts." They're longer than what most wear on the weekends, but shorter than Bermudas. The fabric is usually finer too. Linen. Silk. Maybe a good cotton. And they don't blow up a` la Marilyn Monroe when you walk over a subway grate.
"They looked so comfortable, and I saw other ladies wearing them," said Doris Anderson, administrative assistant for the D.C. Bar. She wore shorts on Tuesday. Her lunchtime companion and co-worker, attorney Linda Johnson, was wearing them Wednesday.
"I think they are fine, as long as they are in good taste," said Johnson. "No complaints so far."
However, that's not always the case.
Legal secretary Patricia Williams said that a co-worker wore a pair to the office one day and was told rather firmly that she wasn't supposed to wear "such outfits."
"Then a lady lawyer wore them," said Williams. "Nobody said anything. So since then ..."
The march is on.