Designer Claire McCardell American
Manufacturer Townley Frocks American

Not on view

In some ways, Amelia Bloomer, who invented bloomers in the nineteenth century, had to wait to be vindicated until McCardell's piquant playsuits and rompers of the 1940s and 1950s. McCardell's version of dress reform was not absolutist or strident; some of its best uses occurred in playsuits and sensuous dresses, but it was nonetheless an earnest reform, allowing women to move in new ways and to choose leisure as a lifestyle. Even in this romper, McCardell included side-access pockets, so that the woman need carry no burden. This is a carefree garment, because it so carefully and deliberately regards the need for freedom of activity and other needs as well.

Romper, Claire McCardell (American, 1905–1958), cotton, American

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