Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960

The first exhibition to explore the evolution of women’s sporting attire in Western fashion, Sporting Fashion will look at the extraordinary impact of new technologies and evolving social mores on women’s clothing for sport. Inspired by a circa 1946 scarf inscribed with the word "Outdoorgirl" and featuring illustrations of women engaged in thirteen different sporting activities, this exhibition will chart the cultural and material developments that allowed women to make their way outdoors. Examining the competing priorities of style, function, and propriety, Sporting Fashion will reconstruct a material history of women in sport through the garments and accessories that enabled them to participate, compete, and excel. 19th-century bathing and bicycling garments alongside 20th-century apparel for boxing and airplane piloting demonstrate the modernity, individuality, and mobility of the "new woman" and connect to women’s continued fight for equality.


This exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and 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. Major exhibition program support for the Pittsburgh presentation is provided by the Richard King Mellon Foundation. Additional support for the Pittsburgh presentation of this exhibition is provided by Highmark.