Rodeo busted Victorian modesty wide open.
Rodeo busted Victorian modesty wide open.











Eschewing the bustle for the hustle, rodeo cowgirls donned long, wide-legged split skirts and modified bloomers (the latter was first adapted by trick rider and bulldogger Tillie Baldwin).

Even so, these bottoms were still more difficult to compete in than the trousers worn by men.

Then trick rider Vera McGinnis donned revamped flannel trousers for an event, some 13 years after she had discarded her cumbersome corset in 1912. Her bold move scandalized the world of rodeo but made her more flexible and, thereby, more competitive. “I like to wear them, so then I can kick up my heels as I like,” she said. Before long plenty of women were kicking up their heels in trousers and jodhpurs in rodeo arenas—and in the stands.

Many of the looks adopted by these Sweethearts of the Rodeo are enjoying a resurgence in popularity—the oversize hats and scarves, the beadwork and embroidery, and even the long, split riding skirts over tall boots with eye-popping detailing.

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