SI Vault
Wendy Lebing
February 09, 1987
The inconveniences didn't stop them. Though tortured by whalebone stays in their corsets and collars, they displayed their bodies and ruined their reputations. When the craze for women's athletics began about a century ago, their sportswear was comical, painfully uncomfortable, even dangerous. But women were determined to participate in sports, from swimming to mountain climbing, from hunting to golf.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
February 09, 1987

The Way It Was When Women Were Under Wraps

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3

As a result of the persistence and dedication of sportswomen during the 19th century, women today can slip into nylon running shorts or Lycra bathing suits without creating a scandal. The garments of the past may evoke laughter, even derision, but not for the women who wore them. They participated and competed in sports despite physical discomfort and social opposition. To them, the lure of athletic activity was irresistible. As the ranks of women athletes grew, so did an idea that is taken for granted today: What is worn at play is now as compatible with the sport as it is with the prevailing sense of style. Form and function are in balance at last.

1 2 3
Related Topics
Sarah Bernhardt 1 0 0
Gustav Jaeger 1 0 0
Divine Sarah 1 0 0
Queen Victoria 4 0 0
Wendy Lebing 1 0 0