This cartoon from the satirical, Punch; or The London Charivari, known for its political and social commentary in the form of humorous illustrations. This particular drawing from June 4, 1898 reads: Lady Cyclist (touring in North Holland). “What a Ridiculous Costume!” This cartoon says a lot about what many of the English thought of women’s cycling ensembles (and many Americans as well).
Continue reading “Cycling with Style Series: Part 3”
Cosmopolitan Magazine, August 1895
Much of Western society found they could accept skirts adapted for riding, but knickers, bloomers, and trouser variations worn without a skirt over top proved to be much more controversial. The construction of these ensembles was based on loose trousers, but they were typically so voluminous that they would often look like a skirt while the woman was standing next to her bicycle. This aided in conforming the look to societal standards. Lady’s magazines like Cosmopolitan, featured images of bloomer cycling costumes, thus propelling its familiarity and acceptance, yet sometimes featuring articles with conflicting opinions on the ensemble. The Western world was intrigued by this new form of dress for women, but not everyone was ready to adopt or accept its integration.
Continue reading “Cycling with Style Series: Part 2”
This multi-part series will examine cycling costumes for women, which began the catalyst for this blog.
Warwick “Perfection Safety Bicycle, USA
Patented in 1888
Minnesota Historical Society Collection
During the last ten years of the nineteenth century about 650,000 bicycles were sold to women in the United States alone. The safety bicycle replaced the less-stable high wheel in the 1880s, and the safer design made the activity more feasible for lady riders. This exploded as a popular activity in the 1890s, and cycling became popular means of sport and recreation for people of all ages and of different classes. It was especially important as a symbol for women who were making bold steps out of traditional domestic lifestyles and into a more active and public life.
Continue reading “Cycling with Style Series: Part 1”