National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Woman's Gym Suit Woman's Gym Suit
Rendered by Daniel Marshack (artist), 1935/1942
watercolor, graphite, and pen and ink on paperboard
overall: 45.5 x 30.2 cm (17 15/16 x 11 7/8 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Costumes from the Index of American Design
Object 26 of 26

During the 1890s, women participated in sports to a greater extent than earlier in the century. Bicycling had gained in popularity and helped make pants or "bloomers" acceptable for women's costumes. The word "bloomers" is taken from the name of Mrs. Amelia Bloomer of New York, who was an early advocate of women's rights.

This "gymnasium suit," dated 1895, is made of black cashmere wool trimmed with bands of scarlet cashmere and black soutache -- a flat, narrow ornamental braid seen here at the borders of the scarlet trim. Plain, full bloomers, worn under the skirt, have elastic bands at the bottom. The costume includes a red and black plaid double cape.

Sports costumes symbolized a new freedom and sense of change that was in the air at the end of the nineteenth century.

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