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Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960

October 14, 2023–January 14, 2024 | Fifth Third Gallery, Sinton Gallery, and Collection Galleries

Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 explores women’s ongoing negotiation of the demands of fashion, function, and feminine decorum. It is the first exhibition to consider the evolution of women’s sporting and leisure attire, revealing how clothing was designed to accommodate a variety of activities ranging from horseback riding to golfing to motorcycling. As both athletes and spectators, the innovative and stylish attire women wore helped break down the barriers that had isolated them from the then-male-dominated sporting world.

Clothing for cycling, motoring, and flying—often adapted from men’s athletic gear—reveal how women navigated open roads and skies. Women's winter sports outfits show how apparel for pastimes such as skiing and skating protected female participants from the elements. Garments for swimming and tanning illustrate how designers and manufacturers responded to the increasing acceptance of exposed skin at beaches and pools.

Sporting Fashion is co-organized by the American Federation of Arts and the FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Los Angeles. Drawn from FIDM’s extensive collection, the exhibition features over 60 fully accessorized ensembles.

Frame|Work Blog

5 Ensembles You Won't Want to Miss in Sporting Fashion

Explore 5 ensembles from ice skating attire to tennis outfits in the exciting new exhibition Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960!



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Meet Ruth Law: “Queen of the Air”: Flying and Fashion in the 1910s

“Man can do nothing with an aeroplane that women cannot do equally as well,” Ruth Law declared shortly after her record-breaking non-stop flight from Chicago to New York in November 1916. Learn more about her life and impact as a female aviator in the 1910s.


Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960 is co-organized by 

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. LaNasa, Merrill Mahan, Clare E. McKeon, Jennifer New, Angela Timashev, and Victoria E.Triplett.

Exhibition Support Generously Provided By

Ellen and George Rieveschl Endowment
Warrington Exhibition Endowment
Chellgren Family Endowment
Sallie Robinson Wadsworth Endowment for Exhibitions

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