Debut of the “Bloomer” costume in Belfast (1851)

Debut of the “Bloomer” Costume in Belfast

To the infinite surprise of many and the amusement of more, three ladies, apparently, from their ages, a mother and her daughters, made their appearance on the afternoon on Sunday so’ night, on that very public and often thronged promenade, the portion of the Carrickfergus road between Castleton and Parkmount, in full “Bloomer” costume. Those who had not heard of the American revolution in fashions knew not what to make of the singular and theatrical-looking compound of the attire of both sexes which was paraded before them, in a manner as unfeminine as the style of the dress itself. Others, and these most numerous, expressed an opinion the reverse of complimentary to the rank and character of the ladies, identifying them with persons whose overdressed gaiety of appearance in public stamps the class of which they belong. The “Bloomer,” in each case, consisted of a satin visite of cerulean shade, an inner tunic of the same material, but of a different tint, and loose muslin trousers, fastened considerably above the ankle – somewhat after the manner of those worn by Turkish belles. We heard that the ladies were the wife and daughters of the captain of a merchantman, at present on a voyage. The parties got into a railway carriage at Green-Castle station. – Belfast News Letter.

The Times, Wednesday, Aug 20, 1851; pg. 5

One Reply to “Debut of the “Bloomer” costume in Belfast (1851)”

  1. I am at present working on a book about the Rational Dress Movement, bloomers, bifurcated skirts and all that, working title Angels in Knickers. I am aware of all the press notices Stephen Channing has posted and numerous others. I have correspondence and other material relating to women who sported bloomers in 1851 and who wore rational dress to cycle in the last decades of the 19th century. But I would dearly love to hear from anybody whose relatives wrote diaries or memoirs about their experiences or of whom photographs or drawings survive of them wearing them.Please feel free to contact me: Dr. Don Chapman, 13 Newland Street, Eynsham, Witney, Oxon OX29 4LB. Tel. 01865 881482. Email:

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