The Shocking Event of the Divided Riding Skirt

divided-skirt-sketchThe past several days, we’ve been seeing pictures of cowgirls accomplishing great feats while wearing skirts. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been to keep all the extra material out of the way while practicing expert marksmanship, bronc riding, and steer roping.

Nowadays, a cowgirl can wear pretty much anything she wants, but in the 1800s a woman wearing her brother’s pants or even adivided-skirt-21 split skirt, she might have been arrested for indecent exposure.

But women were discovering that riding astride was so much more practical and comfortable and they also needed clothing to go along with that new practice.

At the turn of the 20th Century enterprising equestrian women, such as rodeo star Fanny Sperry Steel (1887-1983) wore a divided skirt that enabled them to ride astride but preserved the “look of a skirt.”  This ingenious garment is actually a culotte with a movable front panel that buttons either to the left, for a skirt effect or to the right for a pants effect.

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Published in: on January 14, 2009 at 5:01 am  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very interesting post. We were just watching “The Return of the Man from Snowy River” tonight and I was amazed at Jessica riding in skirt with petticoats, etc. We have come a long way, haven’t we?

  2. It’s amazing what women had to go through those days..

    Brooke from BBT
    http://web.me.com/bluestocking_bb

  3. I’ve read, too, that some women used a wooden leg to give the appearance of riding side saddle, while in all actuality, they’re riding “like a man,” but with the leg hidden under the skirts.

  4. This sounds like skirting the issue.

    Chester
    http://chestercampbell.blgospot.com

  5. I’ll post a picture of mine soon!


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