If only it were simply a matter for discussion! Women take offense at this because it directly affects their lives and interactions with others in their traditional community. Women who choose to wear pants, no matter what the reason, no matter if it is for one day out of 365, or for the entire year, will invariably be ostracized, gossiped about, and otherwise excluded in parish life as a raving feminist. Their children will no longer have other children to play with, they will be denied the sacraments, expelled from school, and otherwise made to feel as second class citizens. So the mother who decides that it is better and more practical for her daughter to wear a pair of non-body-conforming capris to the volleyball party (for when she dives for that ball,) will suddenly find herself on the outside of the community that she (and her daughter) is in such dire need of.
I think this is a very important paragraph, especially the statement I highlighted. Because one cannot overlook the fact that many trad communities are absolutely brutal on any woman who chooses to wear pants or lets her daughters wear them. It's as if they focus on that issue, and that alone, making it the total reflection of someone's faith and holiness.
I knew a woman who was literally hounded out of an SSPX community over the "pants" issue. She had talked to the priest about it, but he did nothing to stop the behavior of the parishioners, so he was essentially complicit in this treatment of her. She was a professional single woman, who wore beautifully tailored pantsuits. Her clothing was modest and feminine.
I have noticed in the "dresses only" crowd a sad lack of charity (and as a former protestant, I've seen this in those circles as well) . They have the virtue of modesty, but have forgotten that there are others virtues, as well. Additionally, everyone is at a different point in their faith.
The last paragraph is one with which I cannot argue. Often you get "modesty police" who take it upon themselves to enforce the dress code. That's not acceptable. Charitable correction is, but certainly not "hounding".
That said, in the many chapels I have been at in my years of moving around, SSPX and Independent, I have found only a few cases where people left over the "pants" issue. Why did they leave? Well, they came in pants, were gently corrected by the pastor and after a few weeks they were still wearing pants to Mass. They were corrected again, and refused to wear a skirt or dress.
See, I think we can speak about ideals and about what we should wear in public and disagree, and perhaps come to some reasonable statement. If, however, you go to a place (church) where there is a certain dress code, you may slide through the first time, but after being informed you should stick to the dress code. Letting you in the first time is quite charitable, as a fancy restaurant with a dress code that you do not meet, would turn you away at the door. You wouldn't insist on a new standard at the restaurant, so why at church?
Too, if you live in and around a traditional community, you should be expected to adhere to the general standards, which, in public, include the wearing of skirts or dresses for women (whether or not that standard is right or wrong). It also generally includes some standards for men as well. If you refuse to behave in public according to the general rules of society (whatever society it be) you are going to be ostracized. And there is nothing uncharitable about that. If you refuse to respect the general rules, you do not receive respect. Christians dealt with that from day one, granted it was over more serious issues. If you live in a traditional Catholic community or around other traditional Catholics, when you wear pants in public, when the generally accepted standard is a dress, count on rumblings.