Sweet Disorder Vintage
Antique 1890s Divided Bicycling Skirt
Rare and wonderful 1890s divided bicycling skirt. Made from a heavy denim style cotton twill. It buttons down the front to conceal the divided legs and give the appearance of a skirt. A scarce and wonderful piece of women's history.
The bicycle became all the rage in Europe and the US starting in the 1860s. It's invention allowed women new independence and physical freedom and women's fashions evolved to allow more freedom of movement.
The Rational Dress Movement advocated bloomers for women cyclists, but they were too radical for most women who wanted to stay within convention and enjoy the freedom of a bicycle. In 1892 the divided skirt was invented to fulfill this need. It buttoned down the front for the appearance of a skirt when standing, but unbuttoned with divided legs for ease of cycling.
"Let me tell you what I think about bicycling. It has done more to emancipate women than anything else in this world. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammeled womanhood. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman on a wheel . . ." -- Suffragette Susan B. Anthony
This rare 1890s bicycling skirt is in good condition. It is structurally sturdy and very wearable. There is overall wear to the fabric with some staining and discoloration from use. This gives the fabric a patina of age that only adds to its charm. There is a mend by the buttons that is hidden when the skirt is worn. The buttons are similar but not perfectly matched, they appear to be two different sets of six. See photos. The skirt presents beautifully. It has been gently hand washed and pressed. This rare 1890s divided skirt is over 100 years old and a wonderful piece of women's history.
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The flat measurements in the product description are the actual measurements of the garment when laid flat. Double the chest, waist and hip measurements for an idea of fit. Please remember to allow a little "space" in a garment beyond your body measurements for ease and a good fit.
If you are uncertain about fit you can measure a similar garment you own that fits you well and compare the measurements with the product. You can use the image below as a guide.