Women’s sports clothing has changed drastically since the early 1900s. The clothing was not designed for women to do very well. Women wore long dresses with long sleeves and wide brimmed hats to make them look feminine on the court or field, these clothes made movement restrictive and uncomfortable.
Over the years women’s active wear has changed a lot as women have become more active and competitive.
Trousers were not accepted for sport until the mid 30s. It wasn’t until the late 30s that women began to participate in a wide range of sports such as water skiing, golf, running, tennis, fishing, mountaineering, shooting, archery, fencing, skating, riding and cycling.
Slowly sportswear adapted to the needs of the different sports. Women playing tennis wore shorts skirts, golfers wore pleated skirts or culottes. For shooting and fishing women wore pleated skirts or culottes with woolen capes.
Women competed in the 1900 Olympic games for the first time. Female athletes made up about 2% of the athletes competing. Women wore long skirts that covered their ankles. In 1922 Suzanne Lenglen, a French tennis player changed the fashion for women tennis players. She wore a short pleated, sleeveless dress and a bandeau which she wore to see better. A bare head was acceptable by 1930.
In 1932 Alice Marble wore white shorts onto the tennis courts which was a shock to the public. Both outfits were considered outrageous but as time passed by the outfits became accepted.
The clothes women are wearing now are a lot different. They make it easier to play the fast action pact game it has come to today.
It has been said that women involved in the suffragette movement in Britain used the women’s football kit as a way to change the way women dressed.
Women were banned from playing football on FA-affiliated grounds from 1921 to 1971.
In 2014 FIFA officially let players wear head coverings, including hijabs, while playing football. Headscarves had previously been banned saying they put players at risk of head or neck injuries.
Syncronhised swimming has not always been showcased as glitzy, where the swimmers wear colorful glittery costumes and waterproof make up. They wore mismatched costumes and no makeup. Today it is important for them to look perfect with perfect suits, hair and makeup.
Women wore tailored skirts and blouses for playing golf. It wasn’t until 1910 they were allowed to add expanded pleats to their skirts, although these could not be decorative. These were added to prevent tearing when swinging the golf club.
Tweed was the fabric of choice as it was durable and stretchy, this fabric made way for the golf sweater. Later women wore shorter skirts and trousers whilst playing golf.
Motorised scooter riders or vespa riders wore jackets and jeans or black stretch pants, suede was also popular. In the late 50s the roll polo neck or cowl jumper became popular.
Horse riding outfits have not changed they still wear the jodhpurs, slim lined jacket and hard hat.
Running gear hasn’t changed drastically since the 60s. A tank top and short shorts was worn by Mary Rand, the first British woman Olympic gold medalist, in 1964. Today the shorts are shorter and tops are smaller.
Over the years women have become more active in sport so women’s sportswear has had to change with the ages.
In the 50s the rigid sports uniforms were waning. Women were leaning more towards being comfortable, dry or cool, looks were becoming less important.
By the time the 60s came around the clothing was a lot more suited to the sport being played. With the mass market manufacturing happening in the 60s it broke the fashions. Color co ordinations became prevalent in the 60s.
In the seventies women were wearing leotards, tights and headbands during exercise class. The clothing was even more suited to the sport they were participating in.