The 1890s brought a dramatic change in style. The skirts were deflated and sleeves ballooned. By this time Harper’s Bazaar was featuring a whole page of sports costumes. This page contained not only tennis gowns and riding habits, but also new costumes for the gymnasium, hunting, and bicycling. Cycling was an extremely fashionable sport in Paris and this attire is an 1894 French creation. Much was said and written concerning the proper dress for women who “rode the wheel.” The blue velvet bloomers are long and ample, almost giving the illusion of a skirt. Beginning with Amelia Bloomer in the 1850s, attempts had been made to introduce trousers, and by the middle of the 1890s they were becoming acceptable, especially for active wear. Trousers were first accepted for bathing at the beach, but bicycling finally made trousers acceptable for public wear, putting an end to the Victorian sense of modesty. The fitted jacket is short double-breasted with silver buttons and wide lapels. The neckline is accented with a peach ascot. The two-piece leg-o-mutton sleeves are very full and gathered at the top and tightly fitted from elbow to wrist. The hat is a blue silk tam-o-shanter with peacock plumes. Blue velvet gaiters covered the legs.
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