Victorian London - Dresses - Bloomerism and Rational Dress

WOMAN'S EMANCIPATION

Punch, Jul-Dec. 1851


BLOOMERISM - AN AMERICAN CUSTOM.

Punch, Jul-Dec. 1851


BLOOMERISM IN A BALL-ROOM

Bloomer. "MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF DANCING THE NEXT POLKA WITH YOU?"

Punch, Jul-Dec. 1851


BLOOMERISM!

Strong-Minded Female. "NOW, DO, PRAY, ALFRED, PUT DOWN THAT FOOLISH NOVEL, AND DO SOMETHING RATIONAL. GO AND PLAY SOMETHING ON THE PIANO; YOU NEVER PRACTICE, NOW YOU'RE MARRIED."

Punch, Jul-Dec. 1851


ONE OF THE DELIGHTFUL RESULTS OF BLOOMERISM. - THE LADIES WILL POP THE QUESTION.

Superior Creature. "SAY! OH, SAY, DEAREST! WILL YOU BE MINE?" &c. &c.

Punch, Jul-Dec. 1851


SOMETHING MORE APROPOS OF BLOOMERISM.

(BEHIND THE COUNTER THERE IS ONE OF THE "INFERIOR ANIMALS.")

Punch, Jul-Dec. 1851


... two females, in long trousers tied in at the ankles, and with a short species of stuck-out skirt similar to the one a ballet dancer used to wear. They had hats and feathers and soft grey boots with shiny leather toes, and were altogether awesome specimens of humanity. They were turning round the corner at the end of our crescent, and we were told that the females were called "Bloomers," so it must have been the year of the great exhibition, when the original Mrs. Bloomer first came over from America to teach her doctrine of hygienic clothing. I have lived to see many attempts at so-called rational dress, have gazed at the divided skirt dear to the heart of the inventor, have seen women, who ought to know better, career round the park on bicycles, clad in check stockings, knickerbockers, and men's coats, shirts, and ties; while others drag yards of skirts after them through the muddy germ-laden streets, but not one of them do I recollect so well as I do these bloomers, more especially as they were followed by the ubiquitous street-boy making use of all possible opprobrious terms. At the same time, absurd as it may sound, these erratic females were the first persons who ever made women aware of the fact that they possessed legs, and that they should use them more than they did in those days. Now the present- day dress for young women is, in my humble opinion, faultless, the short light skirt, the excellent and woollen hidden knickerbockers, the blouse and the sensible useful hat are all just what they should be, and when I recollect the walks I used to take, holding yards of material in my cramped hand, while petticoats twisted and twined themselves round my unfortunate limbs, and that I used to skate in a similar garb, the long skirt being then drawn by pulleys into folds so that it did not entirely impede one's progress, I envy the girls of to-day, though I would not be one of them on any account whatever.

Mrs. Panton, Leaves from a Life, 1908