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Bicycle Breakthrough


Since Katie rides a wheel / by... Digital ID: 1157578. New York Public Library  1258866. New York Public Library

A real fashion breakthrough occurs in the late nineteenth century with the notion of specific costumes for sports. As early as 1888, advertisements show models of “bicycle-gowns.” This would lead to the adoption of bloomers and divided, or bifurcated, skirts. Modesty and seemliness were deplored in vain. Why, that pernicious bicycle would even bring about a man and woman riding in tandem! How tame does costume of this era seem today when compared to our lycra and spandex sports outfits. Yet the revolutionary nature of this small first step toward sports clothes is more than evident. Bicycling was one more breakthrough on the road to women’s rights and liberation from confining corsets and billowing skirts. Look in the Digital Gallery under the headings Bicycle and Cycling for a visual glimpse of this “road to ruin.”


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Paula, it was a pleasure

Paula, it was a pleasure attending your lecture earlier this week. I'm glad to see you writing about bicycle fashion too (my post on "Bicycle Chic and Athletic Aesthetics" can be found on my website)!

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