Tattoos

Tattoos

Love them or hate them, tattoos are an incredible wearable art form around us everyday. Until I came to this section of books here at the Fulton County Public Library I really didn’t know much about tattoos. I had always heard if you get one, you will have it forever. That isn’t necessarily true. I have learned a lot about tattoos from Tattoo – Pedia: Choose from over 1,000 of the Hottest Tattoo Designs for your New Ink! from the editors of tattoofinder.com

Tattoo - Pedia

This is not necessarily a book one needs to read word for word. It is meant to be a type of reference book, although reading through it is quite interesting. In addition to very in depth information, this book is also a picture book of  many of the most popular tattoo designs. Just like you might show a hair dresser a picture of a hair style or cut you want, you could use this book to show your tattooist a picture of the tattoo you have in mind. Another thing I liked about this book is that it has checklists and things to think about often with page references to read about particular topics.  One of the most obvious questions if you are considering getting a tattoo is to ask what kinds of things you should think about first. There is a convenient list of 10 questions along those lines:

Checklist of Top Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Tattoo

  1. Are you okay with your tattoo becoming a permanent part of you?
  2. Are you confident that you want a tattoo for all the right reasons?
  3. Is getting a tattoo your idea, or is it someone else’s?
  4. Are you willing to do all the required research before meeting the needle?
  5. Are you okay with experiencing some level of pain?
  6. Do you understand that, even with the best conditions, there can be health risks involved?
  7. Are you ok with the idea of people not liking your tattoo – even openly criticizing you for it?
  8. Are you willing to take full responsibility for how your tattoo comes out?
  9. Do you understand that as your body changes over time, so likely will the appearance of the tattoo?
  10. Is there an alternative to gettting a tattoo that may be more in line with what you’re really after?

(p. 19)

I was particularly interested in the 9th question. I have heard in the past that tattoos can change with age, but I didn’t really know what could actually happen. Tattoos are put on the skin, the body’s largest organ. Skin can change in many ways. It can become damaged and reproduce itself (think of a sunburn healing). The skin can expand or retract as someone gains or loses weight. In aging bodies, wrinkles can appear in the skin due to sagging. All of these things can affect a tattoo. The body art will sag, stretch, retract, or peel somewhat with changes in the skin. One preventative measure is to be sure that you get a tattoo friendly design. This means that the tattooist is able to reproduce a design with the use of stencils. The stencils help ensure quality line work which will remain sharper over time than a design transferred from a drawing. Non-tattoo friendly designs may begin to blur and fade over time. Tattoo friendly art has been designed to accurately withstand the effects of time such as sun damage or stretched or pulled skin.

If you have done your research and decided that you do want to get a tattoo you will want to make sure that you are in good health. It isn’t recommended to get a tattoo if you are ill or have a cold. Likewise menstruating women should not get a tattoo during their period when their bodies may be more sensitive to pain. Pregnant women should not get a tattoo. Though minimal, there are some risks involved in the tattooing process.

The area to be tattooed needs to be in good shape free of any rashes, sunburn, or skin blemishes. Areas to be tattooed should not be shaved or have any type of cosmetics, lotions, or powders applied. The skin needs to be clean and as natural as possible. Any body piercings in the area to be tattooed should already be healed. Be sure you are as clean as possible since it’s not recommended that you swim or take a bath for two weeks after you get your tattoo. You will be able to shower but will need to be extremely mindful of the newly tattooed area.

When going to be tattooed, you will need to wear loose clothing which you aren’t afraid to get stained. The tattooing process can be messy since it involves using water, rubbing alcohol or other sanitizers, ink, ointments, and blood. Loose fitting clothing not likely to rub against the tattooed area is recommended. If your tattoos will be on your feet or ankles, you should wear the most comfortable shoes you have that allow access to those areas.

Despite the words to Jimmy Buffett’s song, Margaritaville

Don’t know the reason
Stayed here all season
Nothing to show but this brand new tattoo
But it’s a real beauty
A Mexican cutie
How it got here I haven’t a clue

it really is not a good idea to get a tattoo while intoxicated or even after a night of drinking. Aspirin should also be avoided before and during a tattoo session. Both alcohol and aspirin are blood thinners and could cause you to bleed more while being tattooed. More blood can make it difficult for the tattooist to see clearly and having to wipe up excessive blood can compromise stencils and irritate the area being worked on. Other drugs can also have an influence on the tattooing procedure. Before you get a tattoo talk to your doctor about the medications you take and what effect they might have during a tattoo session. Also, avoid all illegal drugs since some of their side effects are unknown.

Before you actually make it to your tattoo appointment, you should purchase everything you will need for afterwards to help your tattoo heal well. Your tattooist will be able to recommend the items you will need.  You may need bandages or particular types of ointments. If you are using ointments you should not share them with anyone because it is possible to transfer infections or disease by sharing them.

You should also be sure to eat well and be well hydrated (but not overly hydrated) before your tattoo appointment. Depending on the type of tattoo you have selected, you could be in the tattooist chair for hours. Tattoo artists charge by the hour and breaks for food or bathroom may be on the clock.

You should be well informed about the cost and any extra fees before your appointment for a tattoo and you should be prepared to pay as soon as your session is over. You may or may not be able to use a credit card for payment. Most places will take cash. If you decided to pay with plastic, bear in mind that it is customary to tip the tattoo artist in cash.

It is also a good idea to arrange for a patient friend to accompany you to your tattoo appointment. Your friend will be there for moral support but also to be extra eyes to watch what is happening with your tattoo application – especially if your tattoo will be in an area that you can’t see without a mirror. Some people get permission from the tattoo artist to have their friend take pictures or even videos of the experience. It is not recommended to have children accompany you since they may quickly become bored. Once you have been tattooed, follow the instructions of the tattooist  for after care. Extra precautions will be needed for at least two weeks.

What happens if you get a tattoo and decide that you no longer want it or like it? Seventeen percent of people with tattoos have considered having one removed. Five percent of tattooed people have tattoos covered with other designs. If you find you are no longer loving your body art, there are things that can be done (for a price).

If the problem you are having with your tattoo is that it just doesn’t look as good, you may want to have it rescued. A tattoo rescue is when the tattooist reworks and refreshes a tattoo instead of a complete cover up. There are tattooists who specialize in tattoo rescue. If you have been told by a tattooist that there is no hope for rescue and your only option is removal, get a second opinion before making your decision.

Another option for a tattoo you no longer love is to have it covered up with some other design. Cover ups should look like a brand new tattoo while obscuring the old tattoo. Covering over very dark tattoos or scarred areas prove more difficult to cover up. Sometimes the darker tattoos will “bleed through.” Scar tissue won’t be removed by a cover up. In these cases it’s best to work with a cover up specialist. Before engaging in a cover up, it’s a good idea to revisit the ten questions above for the beginning process of getting a tattoo. You will also need to understand that your design choices may be limited for cover ups. Bear in mind that just as a medical specialist costs more money than a general practitioner, so too tattoo specialists will cost more than the original tattooist – even if it’s the same person you used before. Both rescues and cover ups require very different skill sets and the process for both is longer. You will need to plan accordingly.

If you have decided you no longer want to have your tattoos, they can be removed although this will probably not be cheap. There also is no guarantee that the removal process will work for all people. Tattoos are designed to be permanent and they can be difficult to remove since they may permeate many layers of skin. In general older tattoos are easier to remove than newer ones. This is partly because some fading of tattoos is expected over time. The size of the tattoo to be removed may also play a role in how effective the removal process will be. Tattoo removal is not perfect or pain free.

The most common and effective tattoo removal methods are:

Laser Removal – This method is popular and thought to be the most effective removal process with around a 95% success rate. It is, however, very expensive. It may take 8 to 10 sessions at around $400  which can end up topping $3,000. Different lasers are used to remove specific colors. Some lasers may be able to remove more than one color. If you choose this method, you should confirm with your laser surgeon that he or she has all necessary lasers to remove the colors in your tattoo. To fully remove a tattoo using this method could take up to 6 months.

Dermabrasion and Excision – This method used to be the main tattoo removal strategy before laser removal. Dermabrasion is a sanding away of the image by using an abrasive tool. Excision literally cuts the tattoo out of the skin. The effectiveness of these methods is around 95 percent. They are no longer real popular since laser removal became available because they can be quite painful without numbing the area. Dermabrasion may leave ink behind. Excision will get rid of the tattoo totally, but may result in extreme scarring.

Cyrosurgery – This method is more common in the removal of warts, moles, skin tags, skin cancers, and other skin afflictions. Cyrosurgery basically freezes the area targeted with liquid nitrogen, carbon dioxide, argon, or propane. When tattoos are targeted skin cells will freeze into ice crystals which will tear them apart and therefore break apart ink particles. This method is effective for many tattoos and is more affordable than laser removal, but laser removal has a higher success rate.

Variot Tattoo Removal – This method has a 90% success rate and has been around since the 1800’s. In the original method a topical numbing cream consisting of  tannic acid, glycerin, and distilled water was used. When the solution was placed under the skin it would produce a thick scab that fell off (taking all or most of the tattoo with it) when healed. Considerable scarring occurred with this method. Tannic acid is now a known carcinogen so this procedure was upgraded in 2004 by removing the tannic acid and creating a new machine. You will now hear this general process referred to as the “Chemical Extraction Technique” and sometimes “Variot.” (Variot is the name of the man who invented the original procedure. ) The new procedure is much safer, cheaper,  and generally more gentle to the skin than laser removal though it’s not all that popular.

Tattoo Removal Creams – There is no evidence to prove that these creams actually work. Some believe that they may actually do more harm than good. These creams tend to contain skin bleaching chemicals; notably hydroquinone which has been banned in several countries, but not the US as of 2006. The FDA has suggested banning this chemical in the US, but to my knowledge it was never actually banned. Hydroquinone has been linked to cancer and various skin conditions. If you try a cream removal method, be sure this ingredient is not included.

Other books I checked out but won’t have time to discuss are:

Tattoo Johny

Go Big or Go Home

Do you have any tattoos? Have you ever considered getting a tattoo? Did you know that tattoos can be removed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fashion Accessories

Handbags

So far I’ve been reading about fashionable clothing, but clothes often have friends called accessories. These can be all manner of handbags, hats, scarves, jewelry, and hosiery, ornamentation on clothing, and shoes. Accessories can make or break an outfit. This week I will be taking a closer look at some of these accessories starting with handbags.

Handbags are known by many names: handbag, bag, shoulder bag, clutch, pocket book and purse among many other names. The term “purse” was originally considered quite vulgar as it was used as a reference to female genitalia. It was considered quite an insult to call someone a purse. Likewise the term “bag” was also considered improper. The phrase “old bag” referred to a woman past her child bearing years. Both the terms purse and bag later were accepted as referring to women’s handbags and seem to have lost most of the negative connotations associated with those words. Regardless of what you call your bag, it is a vital accessory for most women.

Bags have been popular almost since the beginning of civilization. They became a necessary accompaniment as people began to trade things. Bags were used to carry items for trade and items acquired through trading. Bags also carried coins used to trade. In the beginning of the history of bags, it was men who carried the bags (and the money). This is also reflected in the art world where men and male creatures are shown to be holding what looks like bags.

Men with Bags

(Image credit: Ancient Code)

Men with Bags 2

(Image credit: Knitting It Together)

Early bags were made of animal hides that usually had some sort of drawstring attached. Eventually these bags could be attached to men’s waists by being hung on girdles and later belts. At this time in history a woman was expected to remain at home and take care of her household which was often referred to as her castle. So you see the phrase “A man’s home is his castle” would actually be more accurate if it said “A woman’s home is her castle.” Women  caring for their castles began wearing chatelaines. And later the lady of the home was herself called a Chatelaine.

Chatelaine

(Image Credit: Unknown)

The chatelaines were attached around a woman’s waist and held small useful objects such as keys, scissors, nail files, and other routinely used household objects.

Around the sixteenth century, men’s clothing began to sport pockets in which they could carry things and not necessarily need to carry a bag. Women’s clothing, however did not include pockets. Not wanting to be left out, women sewed their own “pockets” and attached them with ribbons to their clothing. Women’s pockets were detachable, thus the nursery rhyme:

Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
Not a penny was there in it,
Only ribbon round it.

Pockets now allowed both men and women the luxury of storing items in their clothes. Later women abandoned their voluminous long skirts in favor of long slender skirts. Women no longer wanted to carry around the big bulky pockets that worked so well with the larger skirts. At this point (c. 18th century) women abandoned their pockets and began to carry bags. The first women’s bags were called “reticules.” They were often made of velvet and silk and embellished with ribbons, tassels, beads, chains, and other objects. The velvet and silk reticules were often associated with elite women and became quite the status symbols. Other reticules were crocheted or made from cloth and embellished to look expensive (possibly the first handbag knock offs).

Reticules

(Image Credit: Unknown)

In Britain, these bags became known as “indispensables” while in France they were called “ridicules” in their early days. The word “ridicules” evolved from the Latin  root “ridere” from which we get our English word “ridiculous.” Thus the bags were the subject of some good humored joking in France – and probably the source of men’s ribbing of women’s handbags ever since. The word “ridicule” evolved into “reticules.” The word “reticules” was used in English and French until 1912.

Reticules, which were small and dainty bags, presented women with the opportunity to highlight their mastery of textile arts. Through the 1800’s women embellished their reticules by knitting, netting, crocheting, , and embroidering. Items embroidered on the reticules where often highly symbolic and extremely varied. They could range from a coat of arms to nature scenes. Often fancy reticules were given as betrothal gifts and became precious family heirlooms.

Embroidered Reticules Flowers

(Image Credit: PicClick)

Reticules 2

(Image Credit: Etsy)

With the Industrial Revolution came changes for women’s bags. At this time in history many women entered the workforce for the first time. Many worked in offices and factories. Women also began traveling more and had the need for larger bags to accommodate what would be needed for long trips. Larger leather bags with handles were designed and carried in the hand, rather than draped from the shoulder like the reticules. As more and more women entered the workforce their handbags changed rapidly and no one thought of them as ridiculous anymore.

Women’s handbags continue to reflect social situations, culture, and fashion. They also have an air of intrigue and secrecy. Most men have been taught NEVER to go into a woman’s handbag uninvited. To a woman this is akin to an assault on her person. Most women have some things in common in that they carry similar items in their bags. Most women will carry money, keys, a phone, and grooming items which could include but are not limited to cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, and hair styling items. All women carry other things as well. These things could range from something to read to specific items needed for a given day. There are “secret” things in a woman’s purse known only to her. Perhaps she is hiding a gift for someone in her bag or maybe she is carrying around important pieces of mail that she will need to deal with. The possibilities of what a woman’s purse contains are limitless.

Ever since pockets and reticules, women have been in love with the idea of having a way to carry necessities. In 2018 8.5 billion dollars was spent on handbags in the US alone. Handbag sales are sometimes eclipsed by the sale of jewelry although they are fairly competitive. There are all sorts of women’s handbags. Some are serious and business like,

Serious Purse

(Image Credit: Ebay)

some are casual,

Casual Bag

(Image Credit: Rosegal)

some are dressy and fancy,

Dressy Fancy Purse

(Image Credit: Dillard’s)

and others are whimsical and novel.

Novelty Bag

(Image Credit: PurseBlog)

Though I’ve given a brief overview of the history of handbags, there are still so many interesting things I’m not able to include in this blog post.  I encourage anyone interested to check out these books:

Handbags the ultimate accessory

 Handbags a peek inside

The next accessory book that I picked up was about hats. Hats have been a near constant accessory to clothes in almost all cultures and countries. Hats accessorize both men and women’s clothing.

Hats

In his book Hats: Status, Style and Glamour Colin McDowell explores hats through the ages dating as far back as ancient Egypt. This book is loaded with historical facts which, unfortunately, I won’t have to time to get into in this post, but if you are interested in hats at all, this is the book for you!

McDowell covers hats of all imaginable descriptions beginning with kings and their crowns. Other types of hats (and/or headgear) discussed include hats in church, religious hats, political hats, military hats, hoods, berets, sugar-loaf hats, and turbins. In addition to the various types of hats and histories, McDowell covers hat related topics such as hat humor, hats and hatmakers, specialty hats for stage and screen, sports and magicians, and chapeaugraphy  just to name a few of the great topics.  I found the sections on hat etiquette and status quite interesting and how hats were (and are) used to convey social status.

Another interesting read is Buttons: The Collector’s Guide to Selecting, Restoring, and Enjoying New and Vintage Buttons by Nancy Fink and Maryalice Ditzler.

Buttons

Buttons can be unique fashion accessories as well as highly sought after collectibles. This book explores the history of buttons and their classifications. Button classification generally falls into groups depicting materials used to make them: Fabric and Cloth, Metal, Glass, Ceramic, Enamel, Natural Materials, and Plastic.   Buttons are even an art form so buttons can be considered wearable art. Like hats, buttons are associated with artistry, sociology, politics, and history.

Do you have a favorite type of accessory? Do you collect buttons? Were you aware there was so much history associated with handbags?

 

 

 

 

What to Wear

Male and Female Body type

(Image: Bodybuilding.com)

If you are a human being you have likely had to think about clothing. Certain environmental conditions influence our clothing choices. For instance you would not want to be in Antarctica in a bikini or exploring rain forests along the equator in a parka. Social situations may also influence our choice of clothing. You probably wouldn’t wear Daisy Duke shorts to Sunday morning worship or mud covered overalls to a wedding. Beyond these types of situations, though, another major factor in how human beings choose to clothe themselves is body type. Human beings come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Certain clothing styles look better matched to certain body types.

In What You Wear Can Change Your Life by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine women’s body types are discussed as well as what women should and shouldn’t wear to either accentuate or camouflage certain areas of their bodies.

What You Wear Can Change Your Life

This is an adult picture book that shows women what looks best on certain body types and what doesn’t. Though the clothing is a bit dated in this book, the concepts are still very applicable. In addition to discussing exactly what garments flatter body types, the authors also discuss how color should be used with skin tones, how make up should be applied according to age range, and how accessories and shoes can be used to flatter body types.

A similar book is Dress Your Best: The Complete Guide to Finding the Style That’s Right for Your Body by Clinton Kelly and Stacy London.

Dress Your Best

This book is for both men and women. Again, the clothing styles are a bit dated in this book, but the tips and techniques are still very applicable. Male body shapes are included in this book and ideas about accentuating or disguising various areas of men’s bodies.

The next book Men’s Fashion: The Complete Sourcebook by John Peacock follows men’s fashion from the late 1700’s through the 1990’s. Though this book doesn’t comment on male body types, it is a delightful adult picture book which traces only men’s fashion. There are not too many fashion books (that I’m aware of) devoted just to men. I had a great time looking through this book and remembering styles men wore especially from the 1970’s through the 1990’s.

Men's Fashion

This book follows trends featuring underwear, shirts, pants, outerwear, shoes, hats, ties, and various other accessories. I got quite a laugh looking at some of the platform shoes that were so popular in the 70’s.

Have you ever thought about your body type in relation to what you do or don’t wear? Did you know that accessories are also recommended depending on your body type?

 

Characters and Costumes

Wild West Movie Costumes

(Image Credit: Frontier Legends Entertainment)

When a movie, TV show, opera, or stage play goes into production the characters’ costumes must be researched to accurately depict the time frame being portrayed. To do this sort of research the costume designers turn to the world of fashion for inspiration and historical accuracy. The accuracy of various costumes will depend on the type of production it is. For instance tiny buttons and various tucks are difficult to see on stage although attention to small details similar to these might have big benefits in a TV or movie production.

sewing form

(Image credit: Mannequin Mode )

From their research, costume designers must then actually create the costumes to be worn for the current project. There are two ways in which they go about making a pattern for their creations. One is to use a modern pattern and adapt it to reflect their own design, and the other is to create a pattern by draping a toile over a sewing form on a stand and then proceeding to create the design by making various changes to the toile.

The books Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women’s Dress 1500-1800 by Jean Hunnisett and Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women’s Dress 1800-1909 also by Jean Hunnisett  describe the process of actually creating period costumes is in great detail.

Period Costume for Stage & Screen 1500-1800 Period Costume for Stage & Screen 1800-1909

Some productions require very specific and historical costuming such as in Authentic Costumes & Characters of the Wild West by E. Lisle Reedstrom.

Authentic Costumes & Characters of the Wild West

While the costuming is fascinating, I was impressed by the amount of historical research in this book. Even if you aren’t a fan of fashion trends, if you are interested at all in the wild west this book would be worth checking out for you. It covers some very interesting, colorful, and sometimes shady real life people complete with photographs, , sketches, and both black &white and color illustrations.

Trigger and roy Rogers

(Image credit: Mehgan Raley)

Up until now, all of the fashion trends I’ve been reading about have been about human beings.  Sometimes animals need to be outfitted as well. In the case of westerns, for example, horses will most likely be used. A horse ridden by a cowboy and a horse ridden by an Indian will be dressed quite differently. This applies to other situations as well such as a horse ridden by a soldier and a horse ridden by a pioneer would have different dress. These types of differences are shown and discussed in Authentic Costumes & Characters of the Wild West. Though this book is about westerns, one could easily carry this concept to other animals used in other types of  productions.

I was also greatly impressed with the historical documentation of native dress in Encyclopedia of American Indian Costume  by Josephine Paterek.  Not only is the native costuming shown in photographs, works of art, and sketches but there are detailed descriptions of culture, costume, hair style, use of make up and accessories of the North American Indian tribes. If you are interested in native cultures at all, this book will not disappoint you.

Encyclopedia of American Indian Costume

Have you ever thought about the great detail that goes into costume design for both animals and people? Do you think you would enjoy being a costume designer?

 

 

 

 

Fashion: Costume & Personal Appearance

Detailed Costume

(Image Credit: Animebooks.com)

Reading along I have made it to the 390’s,  Customs, etiquette, folklore. Specifically I have been reading books in the 391 category which is categorized as Costume & personal appearance.  The books I’ve encountered thus far are a combination of sketches, written explanations, art, and history. I’ve had a lot of fun examining the sketches, very similar to the sketch above.

Though I can sew, I would never claim to be an expert seamstress. Yet while examining the sketches in the books, I found myself thinking that it wouldn’t be that difficult to make some of these clothes, or costumes. One could almost recreate the design just by following the detailed sketches without a pattern.

In the United States, we tend to describe our clothing with words like “outfits” or possibly “wardrobe.” Many parts of the world use the word “costume” even to describe everyday outfits. For purposes of this particular post, “costume” will refer to every day style of dress as well as fancy dress up clothing.

20,000 Years of Fashion

20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment by Francois Boucher is a very interesting and detailed explanation of the changes in fashion over the years. The author explores fashion through many mediums such as sculpture, pottery, hieroglyphics, paintings, and photography. He also distinguishes his use of the words “clothing” and “costume” as follows:

If one admits that clothing has to do with covering one’s body, and costume with the choice of a particular form of garment for a particular use, is it then permissible to deduce that clothing depends primarily on such physical conditions as climate and health, and on textile manufacture , whereas costume reflects social factors such as religious belief, magic, aesthetics, personal status, the wish to be distinguished from or to emulate one’s fellows, and so on? Must we also envisage a process of emergence, which might place clothing before costume or costume before clothing? (sic) p.9

In addition to the male and female clothing depicted in these types of books, they are full of fascinating details of customs and folklore.

Costume In Detail

For instance, in the introduction of Costume In Detail 1730 1930 by Nancy Bradfield,  there is a fascinating account of a former custom in England:

Some of the most fascinating garments which have survived in England are those on the wax effigies preserved in the Undercroft of Westminster Abbey.

For hundreds of years it was customary for these life-sized, fully robed figures of wood or wax to be borne through the streets, on the coffin, at the funeral of kings of queens or other great persons. The faces were either a carefully modelled likeness or a death-mask, and they were dressed, in most cases, entirely in the robes and underwear of the person they represented. (p. v)

Though the example I chose to use was actually in the introduction, there are many of these historical facts sprinkled throughout these types of books.

Victorian Cyclist

(Image thevictorianyclist.wordpress.com)

Costume in Detail 1730 1930 also follows changing fashion trends and in the back of this book, it actually follows the social history of both women cyclists and changing cycling apparel in the 1890’s. When women first began to ride bicycles, their long skirts would get caught in the chains, often ruining their clothing and sometimes causing wrecks with injuries. It seems that there was quite a debate about what women should wear at this time in history. Women were campaigning to wear more pant like apparel while cycling. The press began to refer to this as “Bloomerism.” Due to very negative press and wide spread opposition the idea of wearing bloomers was basically abandoned until around 1851. By 1895, fashion had evolved somewhat and female cyclists in America, France, and Germany began to wear tailored costumes of jackets and knickerbockers. This style of dress was referred to as “Rational Dress.”  The Italians weighed in with their disapproval by banning Rational Dress on buses and posted signs basically indicating that women in Rational Dress were considered indecently dressed. Women fought for their right to dress comfortably while cycling. Avid women cyclists continued to wear Rational Dress though they were discriminated against, refused services in restaurants, and generally were on the receiving end of very rude behavior. Some women attempted to compromise by wearing a skirt over their knickerbockers. Little progress was made towards public acceptance however until nearly 1964 when women began to wear the new “trouser suits” with acceptance. Women who wear pants today owe a debt of gratitude to women cyclists.

I also enjoyed Costumes and Styles: The Evolution of Fashion from Early Egypt to the Present with 700 Individual figures in Full Colour by Henry Harald Hansen.

Costumes and Styles

This book is primarily a pictorial time line which traces fashion evolution from early Egypt to the late 1960’s. The book uses full color drawings on the time line which I found delightful. It’s interesting to see how a tweak here and there to costume has evolved into our more modern clothing styles.

Other books I checked out were:

Handbook of English Costume in the 19th Century

Costumes of Everyday Life

Have you ever considered how clothing has changed throughout history? Have you ever dressed up in period clothing perhaps for a play or reenactment? Have you ever had to create a costume of any type?