Let's be rational

The cycling craze coincided with a movement for common-sense clothing for women. The wasp-waist corset was among the first targets, but even reformers did not suggest that corsets be abandoned entirely, just redesigned.

Ferris' Good Sense Corset Waist For Bicycle Wear ad, 1897

Ferris' Good Sense Corset Waist For Bicycle Wear ad, 1897

“Comfort, convenience, and attractiveness are important factors in determining what should be approved in feminine costume for any occasion and the woman herself, being necessarily the best informed in those particulars, is entitled to settle the question.”

– “Women and the Bicycle,” New York Tribune, 1894

U.S. Patent for a bicycle skirt, 1896

U.S. Patent for a bicycle skirt, 1896

Only the most daring American women chose to wear bloomers when awheel; many opted for specialty cycling skirts with buttoning panels or other features. Most wore sturdy wool skirts that were just a bit shorter, or gathered their skirt with a special clip. 

Tintype, 1890s

Tintype, 1890s

Notice how a “boned waist” kept women from assuming the “back-humping, toad-like” posture of many male riders!