Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Etiquette of the Bicycle Costume

The bicycle has done more for the cause of legitimate dress reform than any other single agent. – By Rose Talbot Bullard, M.D., 1895

There is no more difficult task presented to the physician and hygienist than that of providing a pleasant, convenient and healthful outdoor exercise for women. The bicycle pre-eminently fulfills all requirements. It is the duty of every wheel-woman to so attire and conduct herself, as to make this invaluable exercise all that the most modest could wish. Costumes may be classed as follows: Knickerbockers, bloomers, short skirts and divided skirts. The essentials are comfort, appropriateness, inconspicuousness and gracefulness. The appearance when off the wheel must be considered, as well as when mounted. The first essential of comfort lies in the underwear. The union suits are especially desirable. Corsets should never be worn. The accessories — hats, shoes, gloves and leggings, should harmonize with the costume.

The knickerbocker allows greatest freedom, but is entirely too conspicuous to receive our endorsement. The bloomer fulfills the indication of comfort and is appropriate; for an exercise involving free motion may be best carried out if the legs are so clothed as to be independent of each other. However, they are conspicuous and very ungraceful. We may, in time, arrived at a modified bloomer, but are not yet ready to adopt them for city riding. The short skirt, coming just below the knee, is open to like objection. But there are costumes which comprise all our qualifications. They are the three-quarter skirt and the divided skirt with the division concealed. They should clear the ground from four to seven inches.

The divided skirt offers some advantages; under this the equestrian skirts or knickerbockers should be worn. The division is concealed in front by the front width which is fastened to each leg in the back by the way, the plaits are arranged. On the wheel, the skirt is always evenly divided; the leg need only lift its half of the weight of the skirt, and, finally, when off the wheel it looks like any other skirt. It is an ideal business or rainy day dress, and, in fact, is very suitable for ordinary street wear as it is lighter, does not serve as a street-cleaner and precludes the necessity of in discriminate lifting of skirts. The bicycle has done more for the cause of legitimate dress reform than any other single agent. – By Rose Talbot Bullard, M.D. Los Angeles, California – Extracts from a paper read before the Woman's Parliament, October 8, 1895

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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