Fashion Trivia: Bloomers

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bloomers is a word which has been applied to several types of divided women's garments for the lower body at various times.
Fashion bloomers (skirted)


The original bloomers were an article of women's clothing invented by Elizabeth Smith Miller of Peterboro, New York an early pioneer of the vulcanized rubber girdle, but popularized by Amelia Bloomer in the early 1850s (hence the name, a shortening of "Bloomer suit"). They were long baggy pants narrowing to a cuff at the ankles (worn below a skirt), intended to preserve Victorian decency while being less of a hindrance to women's activities than the long full skirts of the period. They were worn by a few women in the 1850s, but were widely ridiculed in the press, and failed to become commonly accepted. Bloomer was an insult made up by the newspapers of the time. British explorer Richard Francis Burton, travelling across the United States in 1860 noted that he saw only one woman (whom he called a hermaphrodite) wearing bloomers. The costume was called the American Dress or Reform Costume by the women's activists that wore it. Most of the women who wore the costume were deeply involved in dress reform, abolition, temperance and the women's rights movement. Although practical, the "bloomers" were also an attempt to reform fashion since the majority of "bloomers" were also in upper to middle class and also in the public eye.

These early bloomers were partly an attempt to adapt young girls' short skirts and pantalettes to adult women's attire, and were partly influenced by middle-eastern clothing styles (or what was thought to be middle-eastern styles)—hence the name Syrian costume.

The word bloomers was sometimes used for the wearers of the garments, rather than the garments themselves.

In 1909, fashion designer Paul Poiret attempted to popularize harem pants worn below a long flaring tunic, but this attempted revival of fashion bloomers under another name did not catch on.
Athletic bloomers (unskirted)

During the late 19th century, athletic bloomers (also known as rationals or knickerbockers) were skirtless baggy knee-length trousers, fastened to the leg a little below the knees; at that time, they were worn by women only in a few narrow contexts of athletic activity, such as bicycle-riding, gymnastics, and sports other than tennis. Bloomers were usually worn with stockings and after 1910 often with a sailor middy blouse. Bloomers became shorter by the late 1920s. In the 1930s, when it become respectable for women to wear pants and shorts in a wider range of circumstances, styles imitating men's shorts were favored, and bloomers tended to become less common. However, baggy knee-length gym shorts fastened at or above the knees continued to be worn by girls in school physical education classes through to the 1950s in some areas. Some schools in New York City and Sydney still wore them as part of their uniforms into the 1980s.

The Bloomington, Illinois entry in the Three-I League of minor league baseball, despite being an all-male team, was tagged with the nickname "Bloomers" for several decades in the early 1900s.

Bloomers had been introduced into Japan as clothing for physical education in the beginning of 20th century. Around after the Olympics in Tokyo, style of bloomers for P.E. have changed to fit the body which is similar to volleyball uniforms used often 1960s to 1990s, then bloomers gave way to sport shorts in most of schools in Japan after middle of 1990s. Bloomers are a type of girl's gym shorts in Japan, pronounced as burumā (more popularly called as buruma) in Japanese; some people are interested in bloomers in clothing fetish context.

Undergarments


Women's baggy underpants fastened to just below or above the knee are also known as bloomers (or as knickers or directoire knickers). They were most popular in the 1910s and 1920s but continued to be worn by older women for several decades thereafter. Often the term bloomers has been used interchangeably with the pantalettes worn by women and girls in the mid 19th century and the open leg knee length drawers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

(Source: Wikipedia)
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Actually, the first time I saw bloomers was on classic films. Like what was mentioned on the above article, it was often used as underpants.

When I saw this bloomer shorts in Bangkok, I thought it was a balloon skirt of some sort. I loved it so I bought three. One in gray (the one you can see in this post), one in magenta and the other is black.
Made me feel more girly whenever I wear them. :)

More fashion trivias soon!

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