Cotton, full-skirted tunics over "bloomer" pants were the basic components of bathing dress from the 1850s until well into the early 20th century. Body-hugging knit styles were slow to gain acceptance after their introduction around 1910.
The garish plaid, a reference to golf's Scottish origins, and a pocket in the skirt lining in the front at shin level (to hold a golf ball), identify this as a golf skirt. Often golf skirts were a few inches shorter than regular skirts; vests or jackets often were worn over the shirtwaist.
Divided or Trouser Skirt, Wool Twill.
Since bicycle bloomers inspired ridicule and criticism, many women preferred full-cut "divided skirts" like this. In response to this fashion quandary, bike manufacturers designed women's bicycles without the crossbar, and protective covers for gears and wheel spokes, so women could wear skirts without fear of their catching in the wheels or gears.
Wool twill, suede, oilcloth facing.
Label: Bonwit Teller & Co., New York.
Breeches permitted women to ride astride rather than side-saddle, as they had done for centuries. At first, only young girls were permitted to ride astride in breeches, but by the 1920s the new outfit and method were more widely accepted for adult women too.
Linen with oilcloth trim. Goggles, leather with cotton binding; metal eyepieces with tinted glass; replacement ties.
In the early years of the automobile, driving was as much a sport as it was transportation. Open cars required protective outerwear—a "duster" coat the color of the dust and mud sure to cling to the driver, goggles, and for ladies, hats firmly kept in place with long veils which kept dust off the face.
Cotton. Etiquette books and fashion magazines addressed appropriate office attire. Feminine frills were banned. Like the masculine-cut suits of women executives in the 1980s, the tailored suit was appropriate because it was masculine, like the domain in which it was worn.
Note the watch pin on the lapel: lockets and watches suspended on decorative pins were popular at this time, and a watch would have been useful to an office worker. The watch is suspended upside-down so the wearer can read it.
As common as jeans and a T-shirt today, the everyday outfit of the turn-of-the-century college "girl" was a skirt, conveniently shorter than then-current fashion dictated, and a shirtwaist. The boater hat, borrowed from menswear like the shirtwaist, was also popular.
Wool with glass buttons, silk cord loops.
Entirely new to women's wardrobes, the sweater was a casual garment worn for sports, "outings," and on campuses. Some college basketball teams wore sweaters with their bloomer pants.
At the same time that bicycle bloomers were met with criticism, basketball or gym bloomers were acceptable because they were worn in the seclusion of a gymnasium, without male onlookers. Some college basketball teams paired the bloomers with sweaters instead of blouses. In either case, heavy wool was impractical: both hot and difficult to launder.
White, long associated with youth and innocence, and with rites of passage like baptism and marriage, became standard for girls' graduations from grade schools, high schools, and eventually colleges.
This dress was worn by Eva Brawley Dickson in 1894 for her graduation from coeducational Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Later that year she wore it as a wedding dress.