Fashions do not develop in a vacuum and bicycle suits are no exception. With women taking up cycling during the 1880s/1890s, there was a need for practical clothing. One of the key trends seen in cycling clothes was the shortening of the skirt, necessitated by the need to avoid getting the skirt tangled up on the chain plus facilitating mounting and dismounting of the bike. Moreover, the materials used tended towards the more sturdy, practical and possessing some water repellent qualities.
The article below is from the March 13, 1898 issue of the Los Angeles Herald and it comments on cycling clothes as well as other practical aspects of women’s dress. What is most striking is that presents an tiny window into some of the fashion trends that were developing during the 1890s that reflected the rise of the New Woman. Enjoy!