Monday, October 24, 2011

The 1890s ~ the bloomers and the blouses (shirtwaist)

Laughing Moon ~ Women's Sporting Outfit created by me
I've enjoyed dabbling in the 1890's for the last few months, creating outfits for the Festival of Walking.

I wanted to replicate the outfits worn by women at the end of the 19th century, they were pushing gender boundaries, climbing mountains, bush walking, riding their bicycles and joining the workforce in unprecedented numbers.

Throughout the 19th century women had been refuting the role of 'feeble' and by the end of the century, women were moving into the spheres of men, agitating for the vote and their clothing reflected these changes. 

The outfit above is a replica of a women's sporting outfit, it's bloomers (trousers) were being worn by the 'new woman'.

“The New Woman” was the term used to describe the modern woman who broke with convention by working outside the home, or eschewed the traditional role of wife and mother, or became politically active in the woman’s suffrage movement or other social issues. The New Woman saw herself as the equal of men and the bicycle helped her assert herself as such. 

If she wasn't wearing the new, and thought by many as outrageous, bloomers, she was dressing in a very masculine fashion. 

Simple A line skirts and culottes, the blouse (shirtwaist), a totally new innovation, often worn with a tie and 'mannish' jackets and short boleros. 

She learnt short hand and typing, became an office worker, earnt her own money and moved out into the world. Women's liberation was on the move!

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