I sure like a gal like Amelia Bloomer. She edited the first newspaper for women. She believed women should be allowed to vote. As Shana Corey puts it, for the mid-nineteenth century:
“Amelia Bloomer was NOT
a proper lady.”
You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey, illustrated by Chelsey McLaren.
Shocking, I know! Certainly improper were her dress reform ideas. As soon as she discovered a friend of a friend’s alternative to corsets and hoops and gigantic, weighty dresses, she sewed up that alternative herself. And that’s why it was called a bloomer costume. After her.
images courtesy of Scholastic “Amelia Bloomer was NOT a proper lady.” “The corsets they wore underneath their dresses were so tight it was hard to breathe in them. Proper ladies were fainting at the drop of a hat. What was proper about that?” “And she went right to her sewing machine and sewed a matching outfit for herself. Then she went out for a walk.”
“As soon as it became known that I was wearing the new dress, letters came pouring in upon me by the hundreds from women all over the country making inquiries about the dress and asking for patterns – showing how ready and anxious women were to throw off the burden of long, heavy skirts.”
-Amelia Bloomer herself
My inspiration mood board
I took some major liberties with my Amelia Bloomers-inspired costume, of course. But thanks to four local thrift stores, I think the idea of an independent 19th century woman wearing bloomers comes through!
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The bloomers are from Ragg Mopp Vintage in my neighborhood and I’m going to keep them around to wear around the house or sleep in. They’re big and flowy and adorable.
The local Goodwill and Out of The Closet had both skirts I found and both period-looking shirts, all for six bucks each. That short velvet jacket? Six bucks as well and totally wearable again. (It’s actually Ann Taylor LOFT!)
The only bits that are mine are the shoes and knee-highs.
Amelia would never have worn JUST bloomers, but hey, they’re so adorable!
The long coat I got at a local vintage/costume shop, Ozzie Dots. If you were so inclined, it could be worn as a Victorian-y fall coat.
Here’s to an historical Halloween ! And gutsy ladies!
photos by Todd Davis @ www.DavisHandmade.com.