clothing · cycling

Cycle Chic cica 1890: Thanks Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wondering what to wear on your bike ride today?

I’ve written before about riding bikes in skirts and dresses.

Though I’m not a fan of  cupcake Rides and Heels on Wheels rides (see also Bike ride, pants optional!) I like the idea of tweed rides. Here are some photos of Windsor’s tweed ride. Rumour has it that London, Ontario is having one this September. Stay tuned!

If you want to go all out retro, you can consult the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here’s some dapper riding clothes for women from the 1890s.

 

Cycling suit
Cycling suit
Date: 1896–98
Culture: American
Medium: wool, leather, silk, linen, cotton
Dimensions: Length at CB (a): 21 in. (53.3 cm) Length at CB (b): 37 in. (94 cm)
Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Mr and Mrs. Morton Sultzer, 1979

 

Cycling shoes
Cycling shoes
Date: 1895–1900
Culture: American
Medium: leather
Dimensions: [no dimensions available]
Credit Line: Gift of Newton Elkin Shoe Co., 1945
Accession Number: C.I.45.92.1
Stockings
Stockings
Date: 1880–99
Culture: American
Medium: silk
Dimensions: 28 in. (71.1 cm)
Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Frederick H. Prince, Jr., 1967
Accession Number: 2009.300.2119a, b
Stockings, originally designed for practical purposes, soon transformed into a fashionable accessory with the invention of the knitting frame in 1589 and then the circular-knitting machine in 1816. This technology allowed for a tighter weave and a better fit. Also, it was much easier to produce stockings, making them more affordable and readily available to a larger public. Plain white stockings were in mode for quite some time, until the mid to late-1800s when hemlines rose, and the ankle was revealed. This change in fashion called for colorful and fanciful motifs to decorate the lower leg, a visually appealing effect.
The colorful, striped patterning of this pair of stockings gives them a modern sensibility. Overall, they have a sporty feel, yet their sheerness adds a touch of elegance. It is very likely, that these would have been worn during the afternoon, appropriate for one of the sports of the day such as tennis or bicycling.

 

A couple of days ago we shared some of their newly released bike images too.

4 thoughts on “Cycle Chic cica 1890: Thanks Metropolitan Museum of Art

  1. Love the cycling stockings! Smartwool clearly was doing their homework; I have several pairs of high/over-the-knee colorfully patterned socks to wear cycling. Glad to know this practice is historically based… 🙂

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