Shereen wondered...

> <<<Women began to fight to change the way
> they dressed; it was realised that their clothing restricted their bodies
> and were bad for their health. One of the best-known clothes reform
> campaigners was Mrs Amelia Bloomer, who gave her name to the
> then-revolutionary garment.>>>
>I know I should know this, and of course I've seen loads of references
> to bloomers, but can I confess my ignorance and ask what they acksherly
> consisted of? I've never known.

What is now thought of as "bloomers" is basically sort of loose
knickerbockers cinched in at the knee.  What Mrs. Bloomer was campaigning
for...  This description from SBA Online Women's Business Centre

"Women of the time were squeezed into tight, whalebone-reinforced corsets
that gave them the desired "figure 8 profile"-and often resulted in a number
of health problems, including causing their bodies to become permanently
deformed. Over these they wore heavy layers of petticoats and other
clothing, regardless of the weather.

"A style of clothing originated by social reformer Fanny Wright and worn by
the women at New Harmony, a socialist commune, since the 1820s, was gaining
in popularity among the women's rights movement. It consisted of a
comfortable, loose bodice and a knee-length dress worn over full "Turkish"
pantaloons. Lightweight and comfortable, it covered all but the wearer's
head, hands and feet. Nevertheless, it was considered scandalous in its

Although Mrs. Bloomer didn't invent the costume, she promoted it to such
good effect that her name was applied to it.  There's a picture on this
page: (though annoyingly, the
links don't seem to work).

Mrs. Bloomer, incidentally, was a feminist and temperance advocate, and
edited a magazine called "The Lily".  Googling "Amelia Bloomer" will provide
you with more information than you probably wanted.


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