Swimming cap, 1955. Photo: Brian Davis. © FIDM Museum. Courtesy American Federation of Arts
   All Exhibitions

Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960

February 11, 2023 - May 7, 2023
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Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 highlights ensembles worn by women active in the sporting world from the turn of the nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Examining the competing priorities of style, function, and propriety, Sporting Fashion reconstructs a material history of women in sport through the garments and accessories that enabled them to compete and excel. The exhibition features sixty-four fully accessorized ensembles and a selection of sport-related accessories and ephemera drawn from the collections of the FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Exhibiting 19th-century bathing and bicycling garments alongside 20th-century apparel for boxing and aviation, the exhibition displays the modernity, individuality, and mobility of the "new woman" and demonstrates the continued fight for equality.

Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 is organized into eight themes. Each explores how clothing met the needs of new pursuits for women: Stepping Outdoors, Further Afield, Taking the Reins, Making Waves, Subzero Style, Wheels and Wings, Having a Ball, and A Team Effort. The exhibition includes ensembles for activities ranging from yachting to calisthenics, and from motorcycling to promenading.  To complement the artifacts on view, a timeline of key events and biographies of sixteen important sportswomen further situates sporting fashion in the broader context of women’s social history.

Sporting Fashion is curated by Kevin L. Jones, FIDM Museum Curator, and Christina M. Johnson, FIDM Museum Associate Curator.

The illustrated 344-page catalogue with a foreword by Serena Williams is one of the very few authoritative publications on the development and evolution of women’s athletic attire.

Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles.

Support for the national tour is provided by the AFA’s Gold Medal Circle: Elizabeth Belfer, Stephanie Borynack Clark, Ashleigh Fernandez, Lee White Galvis, Stephanie R. La Nasa, Merrill Mahan, Clare E. McKeon, Jennifer New, Angela Timashev, and Victoria Ershova Triplett.

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