Vassar College Women Wear Gym Attire

Decent Essays
As the shirtwaist with skirts became fashionable for college women to wear outside, wearing gym suit outfits outside the gymnasium was not acceptable. The loose fitting, functional but unfashionable gym uniforms were only allowed when other women were present. No men were permitted to see a woman in a gym uniform and without a corset on her waist. Hence, women’s colleges like Vassar College had gym costumes since the 1860s or earlier and updated the attire. The two Vassar student Adelaide Mansfield described her first purchased gym suit in 1893:
We got our gym suits Saturday. They cost seven dollars, which I think is a good deal. They are full trousers and a blouse waist, with underclothes. The stuff is dark blue flammel, trimmed with black braid. They are pretty well made, I thin the buttons all sewed on tight and button holes well made and the braid is sewed on straight enough to suit Edie. I don’t know
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Felix Fuld recognized the dangers of women wearing gym suits that consisted of additional material. As he explained, “ Not only do the fullness of the blouse and the fullness of the bloomers cause physical discomfort to the wearer unnecessary disquietude because of the existing conditions at the knee and at the waist, but the costume is outrageously unhygienic.” The debut of two pieces of clothing remedied the cleanness issues in gymnasium outfits. Florence Bolton, the director of the women’s gymnasium at Stanford University, devised a one-piece suit with no belt and waist, aptly called the Bolton suit. Based on the British gymnasium slip, while including the bloomer, this suit was sleeveless and at knee length. It consisted of a square-necked with a straight yoke that held box pleats front and back. For additional hygienic appeal, a shirt was underneath the suit. Felix Fuld described the benefits Bolton suit and its undershirt called a “washable
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