Where my research takes me: arrest of the bloomers

"The Bicycle Suit," Punch Magazine, 1895.
“The Bicycle Suit,” Punch Magazine, 1895.

Those of you who’ve followed my posts are very familiar with the serendipitous nature of my research. I go looking for one thing and find five other fascinating, though completely unrelated, historical tidbits. (The original item I was looking for? Well, tomorrow is another day). Good thing I have a website and fab readers who like reading about this stuff!

The incident described in the following article takes place 44 years after bloomers first emerged in the U.S. Over those ensuing decades, they were adopted by some women as an act of rebellion, but in broader society they were primarily for active wear: bicycling costumes, gymnastic uniforms, and so on. (Incidentally, the bicycling outfit my protagonist, Concordia Wells, wears is comprised of similar leggings, but includes a shortened over-skirt for modesty).

But wearing bloomers in a gymnasium is one thing; strolling around wearing them out on the public street is entirely different. The lady named “Trixy” finds this out:


From the Saint Paul Daily Globe, December 1, 1895.
From the Saint Paul Daily Globe, December 1, 1895.

Apparently the Superintendent of Police was made of sterner stuff than the mayor.

Are there any outfits that would make you run screaming out of a room? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,


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8 thoughts on “Where my research takes me: arrest of the bloomers”

  1. coleencoleen

    Oh that’s funny. And I’ve always liked the word, bloomers! Just something so perfect about it. Haha.

  2. PatriciaPatricia

    Almost every time I go to Wal-Mart I feel the need to go running from the room. For some reasons Wal-Mart shoppers are the most ridiculous people on the planet. Good heavens, do they not own mirrors?

    Once again, grand article.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  3. Deborah MakariosDeborah Makarios

    How times have changed! These days people seem to think that it’s perfectly acceptable to wear nothing but the aptly named tights on their lower half. And some of them aren’t even entirely opaque when stretched. [shudders]

  4. Margot KinbergMargot Kinberg

    Really?? He fled from the room? How funny! It’s fascinating how our views about what’s comfortable and appropriate have changed over time. This is great – thanks, Kathy.


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