I feel no more like a man now than I did in long skirts, unless it be that enjoying more freedom and cutting off the fetters is to be like a man. I suppose in that respect we are more mannish, for we know that in dress, as in all things else, we have been and are slaves, while man in dress and all things else is free.
Amelia Bloomer (1818–1894), U.S. suffragist and dress reformer. As quoted in The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, vol. 1, ch. 7, by Ida Husted Harper (1898).
From an 1854 letter. She was referring to the short skirt and Turkish-style trousers—dubbed "bloomers" in her honor—whose wearing she pioneered. The accepted women's dress of the period was complicated and inhibiting, restricting women's activity. Very few women were bold enough to adopt bloomers, and almost none who did so wore them as long as Bloomer did: eight years. Finally, the women's rights activists of the time abandoned dress reform as too radical a goal.