Rational Dress Movement
Join this Vicfix campaign to spruce up calls for dress reform
Vicfix is improving the searchability of digitised newspaper articles and making the hidden details of Victoria's rich history available for everyone.
About the Rational Dress Movement
Weighed down by cumbersome bustles and squeezed into tightly laced wasp waists, fashionable Victorian and Edwardian ladies knew neither freedom of movement or comfort. In reaction, feminists and dress reformers called for the abolition of corsets and the wearing of simpler, less constricting garments, particularly for more athletic pursuits such as cycling, tennis and horse riding.
Contemporary reactions ranged from harassment and ridicule to fears that the end of the world was nigh. Though bloomers and divided skirts failed to take off, society and dressmakers eventually saw sense, particularly following WWI. By the 1920s, fashionable ladies were swapping the corset for the camisole and embracing the radical chic of Coco Chanel's jersey suits and trousers.
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