Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Women in Pants in the 1800's

Women Wearing Pants

While doing some research for my 5th book of the Unbridled Series in ladies fashion I learned something really interesting about women wearing trousers. In the early to middle part of the 19th century and despite popular belief women did wear trousers in the 1800’s. My search revealed women wore pants throughout Turkey, India, the American frontiers, Australia, and Europe.

In fact since the eighteenth century, European and American women had also worn such trousers for fancy dress. They were full trousers gathered in at the ankle and were called "Turkish trousers" patterned after those worn by women in the Middle East. Later this style was called bloomers after Amelia Bloomer who had been writing articles about them. So both the costume and its wearers were popularly identified as "Bloomers." 

The costume consisting of knee-length dresses over full trousers.

By Unknown - Image from http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/HNS/domwest/mcauley.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11225444

After wearing this style in private, women began to wear these costumes out in public. News papers across the country carried startling articles about the sightings. Below is an article from the Richmond Dispatch.

Yesterday afternoon, Main street was thrown into intense commotion by the sudden appearance … of a pretty young woman, rigged out in the Bloomer costume-her dress being composed of a pink silk cap, pink skirt reaching to the knees and large white silk trousers, fitting compactly around the ankle, and pink coloured gaiters…. Old and young, grave and gay, descended into the street to catch a glimpse of the Bloomer as she passed leisurely and gracefully down the street, smiling at the sensation which her appearance had created. The boys shouted, the men laughed and the ladies smiled at the singular spectacle…. Few inquired the name of the Bloomer, because all who visited the Theatre during the last season, recognized in her a third or fourth rate actress, whose real or assumed name appeared in the bills as "Miss O'Neil." During the Season, however, we learn she severed her connexion with Mr. Potter's corps of Super numeraries and entered a less respectable establishment in this city.

Richmond Dispatch, Tuesday, 8 July 1851, p.2, c.6.

Unflattering caricatures began to emerge:


By signature "WA" - Edited version of image (left) http://memory.loc.gov/master/pnp/cph/3b30000/3b35000/3b35900/3b35975u.tif found on Library of Congress website

For women in the American West. The wearing of pants was a practical necessity. The West was no place for long skirts: it was either muddy or dusty and the long skirts was a hindrance, especially when engaging in the physical labor that frontier life required.

In Daily Alta California, Volume 23, Number 7703, 25 April 1871 “Marie Susie,” who had worked in mines alongside men was fined $5 in San Francisco for wearing male apparel. She applied to the board of Aldermen for the right to wear pants. Stating she had worn male attire for eighteen years, and sought permission to prevent further police harassment and to protect her from being arrested for doing so.

Working class women 1870 America https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/529595237410506892/

In 1858 Godey's Lady's Book promoted a Bloomer-style costume for exercises and similar clothing worn as bathing costume. Physical training educators used the Bloomer costume in developing clothes for women's sports programs. By the 1880's, the short bloomers continued to be worn as part of gym suits into the 1970's. Bloomers became a bicycling craze around the 1890's, worn as part of a suit with a jacket instead of a short dress. Women wearing bicycling bloomers in the 1890's were less controversial than the outfits in the 1850's, but it wasn’t until the mid-twentieth century could women wear trousers in public without criticism.


This was merely a snapshot of the information I uncovered. I hope you found it as interesting as I did. 

Where to find me.

Twitter - @sandybclean - https://twitter.com/sandybclean

Blog Tour Tuesday: THE ROGUE'S BRIDE by Lynn Winchester

This week's Blog Tour Tuesday features 
The Rogue's Bride 
by Lynn Winchester 

Guilty of a terrible crime and dogged by a sense of obligation he can’t shake, Gaston Mosier hopes to find a little peace by getting himself hitched. Maybe his new wife can help him feel human again.

Aimee Prentice is seeking a life far away from the trouble she left behind, and becoming a mail-order bride is the only way out of a bad situation. So, when she arrives in Dry Bayou to marry the mysterious man from the ad, she’s surprised to find a man more handsome than she ever imagined. And more troubled.

Gaston only wanted to marry a quiet, simple woman, someone who could keep him company and bear his children. He didn’t expect to find outspoken, startlingly beautiful Aimee waiting for him at the stagecoach station.

What’s Gaston to do with a bride who riles him as no one ever has? What’s Aimee to do about a groom who is more cold shoulder than warm welcome?

One seeks redemption, the other seeks protection, so what happens when trouble finds them both? 

AIMEE PRENTICE DROPPED HER CARPETBAG on the boardwalk and took a deep breath.
     “You can do this. You can do this,” she muttered to herself, wishing the words actually calmed her pounding heart.
      Drawing in another deep breath, Aimee took in her surroundings. Having just stepped from a stagecoach, she was rather surprised at what greeted her. When she’d written to Miss Fisk at the Marriageable Ladies Market Catalog & Advertisement Service to answer the ad, she’d hoped to end up in the middle of nowhere, far away. She hadn’t, however, expected to end up in the middle of such a bustling town.
     Dry Bayou. A name she could appreciate as a woman who knew the ins and outs of every bayou near her small home in Dixon, Alabama. Her home—a farm that was no longer hers. A legacy she no longer held. A family she’d lost. The home she’d grown up in, the garden she’d nurtured, the notches inside the kitchen door that chronicled her years… All of it stolen. Stolen by a man she was told she could trust. A man her father had trusted… right up until the moment he was killed.
     A lump rose in her throat, threatening to choke the hope she’d only begun to feel again. Fighting back the tears, she blinked into the noonday sun and made a point of noting every detail of the town that was to be her new home.
The street, Robinson Street—as the sign on the corner read—was wide and made of red dirt that kicked up into a fine cloud when people or horses walked by. The dust also coated the wood buildings, which were lined up on either side of Robinson. Each of the buildings, though covered in dust, were otherwise clean and well kept, with brightly colored signs in their windows.
     There was a barber shop, a candy shop, a post office, and what looked like a boardinghouse—a large building, with two levels and many windows. It looked welcoming.
     In fact, the whole town looked welcoming. The men tipped their hats as they passed by, and the women offered smiles free of the cattiness she’d become so used to seeing in Dixon.
     I think I’ll like it here.
She offered a genuine smile to two little girls with large brown eyes. They smiled back then tugged on their mother’s hand. The woman, a lovely lady with the same-colored eyes, turned and smiled at her as well.
     The hope that thoughts of Dixon had squashed began rising again. She could make a home here.
Aimee reached into the small clutch purse she carried and retrieved the worn piece of paper she’d kept inside. It had been folded, unfolded, and refolded so many times, it was beginning to tear right along the creases.
     She’d read it and reread it, not because she couldn’t understand the words but because she couldn’t believe that a handful of words could mean so much—a fresh start and a new chance at a security she hadn’t felt since Pa died.
     Unfolding the paper, she tucked a wayward strand of brown hair behind her ear and reread the words again.


     That’s it. A short telegram from the mail-order bride agency that had given her the chance at a new life… one without the fear of living under the watchful, roving eye of her neighbor, Jack MacNaught.
     As soon as she’d received the telegram, she sent a quick telegram to Dry Bayou, attention G. Mosier, telling him to expect her in two weeks. She was on the next train to San Antonio, with only the belongings she could fit into her worn carpetbag.
     Now, exactly two weeks later, she was standing on the stagecoach station platform, waiting for—she didn’t even know what to call him—her fiancé? There hadn’t been an official offer of marriage. It was just an understanding between Mr. Mosier, the mail-order bride agency, and her.
     She didn’t even know how old Gaston Mosier, the saddler from Dry Bayou, was. Or even what he looked like. She only knew what he’d written in his ad, the one she’d answered out of desperation.
     She pulled the crumpled cut-out of the ad from her clutch.


     So now, here she was. She could be approached by a rheumy hunchback, with missing teeth and a shiny bald head.
     Dear Lord, please don’t let that be the case.
     Immediate guilt snapped at her. She honestly couldn’t be picky; she was in a tight spot. Either she could marry the man who promised to provide, or she could go home and spend the next four years of her life looking over her shoulder, wondering when Jack and his father would come to steal the clothes from her back… and perhaps more.
She shuddered, suddenly overwhelmed with where life had brought her: alone in small-town Texas, waiting for a complete stranger to come and marry her.
     A humorless laugh erupted from her chest before she could stop it.
“Oh, hello,” a pleasant voice said from behind her.
Aimee spun to find a beautiful blonde standing there, big smile, sparkling blue eyes, gorgeous dark green walking dress, and a countenance that immediately put Aimee at ease.
     “Hello,” Aimee replied, tucking the telegram and ad back into her clutch.
     The woman stepped forward and tipped her head. “You wouldn’t happen to be A. Prentice, would you?”
     Surprised, Aimee nodded slowly, not sure what to think. Her surprise was compounded when the blonde stepped forward and embraced her in a warm, strong hug.
     Aimee tensed. “Do I know you?”
     The woman let go and stepped back, her hands lightly gripping Aimee’s elbows. She laughed. “Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve lost my head, apparently.” She let go of Aimee’s elbows and smiled. “My name is Tilly Bartlett, I’m Dr. Bartlett’s wife. I came by because I knew he’d leave you waiting,” she rattled off her sentence as if talking to complete strangers was an everyday experience for her.
     “Dr. Bartlett? I don’t understand… I’m here to meet my… well, my fiancé, I suppose.” Still not comfortable calling a man she’d never met her fiancé, she felt the heat rise in her face.
     The blonde, Tilly, rolled her eyes. “There I go, confusing you. Sorry. You’re here to meet my brother, Gaston Mosier, right?”
     Aimee felt a rush of ah-ha and a twinge of anxiety. This was her future husband’s sister? Well, she was young. And beautiful. Maybe, just maybe, Gaston Mosier wasn’t an ugly old coot.
     “Oh,” Tilly cried out, clapping her hands excitedly. “Here he is. He’s always late. Always getting caught up in his little projects and forgetting the time. That’s why I came to…”
While Tilly was speaking, Aimee turned, heart in her throat, fear and excitement mingling in her belly.
     Her gaze collided with deep blue eyes, rimmed with golden lashes. His nose was straight, with a little bump in the middle as though he’d broken it and it set wrong. His nose led her gaze right down to two wide, unsmiling lips. Aimee immediately wondered what they’d look like cocked in a wicked grin.
     She stopped breathing. Why am I thinking that?
     Because he was the most gorgeous man she’d ever laid her eyes on, that’s why.
     The fear in her belly turned to nervousness in a flash. Her future husband was an Adonis. Heat burned through her skin, rising over her cheeks. Aimee fought the urge to turn tail and run.
     Rose, lily, lilac, iris, mum, tulip…
     “So, you’re A. Prentice?” his deep voice was like down-covered steel.
     Orchid, orange blossom, cherry blossom, narcissus…
     “Ya… yes. I… I… I’m Aimee.” She was stammering like a fool, right when she needed to make the best impression of her life.
     I think I’m going to be sick!
     The man before her narrowed his eyes and cocked an eyebrow, clearly not impressed with the woman he’d agreed to marry.
     God, this was a mistake.
     After long moments, he nodded to his sister then looked back at Aimee. “Come on, then,” he snapped, bending to take her forgotten carpetbag. “Preacher won’t wait long.” Without waiting for her to respond, he turned and walked toward the end of Robinson Street.
     “Wait,” she called out, finally finding her senses. “What do you mean, the preacher won’t wait?”
     He stopped, tensed, then began walking again. “We’re getting married. Right now,” he called over his shoulder and disappeared around the corner.
      Aimee’s stomach dropped into her feet.

You may purchase A Rogue's Bride by CLICKING HERE.

Author Bio:

Lynn Winchester is the pseudonym of a hardworking California-born conservative, now living in the wilds of Northeast Pennsylvania. Lynn has been writing fiction since the 5th grade, and enjoys creating worlds, characters, and stories for her readers.

Lynn writes charming, romantic romance that focuses on the growth of the relationship and the power of true love. Lynn's historical western Dry Bayou Brides series is a highly acclaimed, bestselling sweet romance series. Keep an eye out for her upcoming releases.

When Lynn isn't writing, she is running a successful editing business, reading whatever she can get her hands on, raising her four children, making sure her husband is happy, and binge watching shows on Netflix.

Connect with Lynn online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Join the Dry Bayou Brides Fan Group HERE


Friday, March 24, 2017

Book Review--Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners

Doing research is part of the job for a historical author. To create a rich story world of a time when no one currently alive experienced firsthand, we have to dig into books or we go cruising on the Internet.  The reference section of the local library might be intimidating, so we rely on the guidance of the reference clerks who are fonts of information.

Or you snap up the recommendation of a friend who was bopping around Amazon and found a gem. This book is one of those treasure troves of facts and figures. And the contents within were more than I expected from the title. Details about sanitation, hygiene, women’s health, beauty products, bathing, courtship, etc. are shared in an easy-to-read and humorous style that feels like you are sharing a pot of tea with the author on a rainy afternoon.

I always do lots of research for each new setting or time frame when I’m plotting a new story. By reading this title, I learned of products that I hadn’t encountered through other sources. My only complaint is the lack of specific dates on invention or availability of certain items. But once I’m armed with a product name or a manufacturer, I can head off on that new research trail.

I highly recommend Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage and Manners by Therese O’Neill mainly because I loved receiving my research details in such an enjoyable read.

Linda’s latest release is Baling Wire Promises, a Montana Sky Kindle Worlds novella.