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The word bloomer has been used for undergarments, trousers and a type of dress.
Bloomer Pants: They are loose trousers gathered at the knee, formerly worn by women as part of a gymnasium, riding, or other sports outfit. 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 (see 1890s in fashion). 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.
Bloomer Undergarments: Women's underpants are similar in design to bloomer trousers, but less bulky, design. the trousers of a bloomer costume. Unless you are very old, you may not want to be told that you look lovely in your bloomers. This type of garment is typically considered as "old-fashioned" (or outdated). Bloomers are women's loose-fitting knee-length underpants which are very much different than more modern underwear. Women's baggy underpants fastened to just below or above the knee are also known as "bloomers" (or as "knickers"). They were most popular from the 1910s to the 1930s 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. Again, women's bloomers are generally considered old-fashioned. They are often referenced as granny panties.
Bloomer Dress: Bloomers, also called the bloomer, the Turkish dress, the American dress, or simply reform dress, are divided women's garments for the lower body. They were developed in the 19th century as a healthful and comfortable alternative to the heavy, constricting dresses worn by American women. They take their name from their best-known advocate, the women's rights activist Amelia Bloomer. Bloomers were an innovation of readers of the Water-Cure Journal, a popular health periodical that in October 1849 began urging women to develop a style of dress that was not so harmful to their health as the current fashion. It also represented an unrestricted movement, unprecedented by previous women's fashions, that allowed for greater freedom—both metaphorical and physical—within the public sphere. By the summer of 1850, various versions of a short skirt and trousers, or "Turkish dress", were being worn by readers of the Water-Cure Journal as well as women patients at the nation's health resorts. After wearing the style in private, some began wearing it in public. In the winter and spring of 1851, newspapers across the country carried startled sightings of the dresses. The Bloomer also became a symbol of women's rights in the early 1850s. The same women—Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and Susan B. Anthony—who adopted the new form of dress also advocated women's right to vote. These women preferred to call their new style the "freedom dress." Crowds gathered to not only hear these women's radical words, but also to see their "scandalous" mode of dress. After three years, however, fearing that the new dress was drawing attention away from the suffragist cause, many of these women returned to corsets, long skirts, and more conventional forms of dress.
Because it was less restricting than the previously popular attire, the bloomer provided more physical freedom for women. Being a completely new and distinctively different form of dress, the bloomer garment also provided women with a metaphorical freedom, in the sense that it gave women not only more diverse dress options, but also the opportunity and power to choose their type of garment.
You may want to learn about different types of clothing in our fashion terminology & apparel glossary section.
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