Bloomer Costumes in Oneida New York

I came across this c. 1860 photo a long time ago that shows women wearing Bloomer costumes. I originally thought it was perhaps a girl’s school sporting activity, but I just found the backstory. Turns out it’s the Oneida community – a Christian communist sex club that existed in upstate New York between 1848 and 1880. While the group promoted equality between the sexes, eventually the free love utopia part didn’t work out and so in 1880 the group turned their energy towards industry and founded Oneida Flatware Ltd. 

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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