Images via Wikimedia Commons.
Back in the day before cars, people rode horses places. Duh. But did you know women had a specific ensemble exclusively for riding horses?
With origins burrowed back in the 17th century and an end lodged in the early 20th century, the formal riding habit had quite a long reign in the womenswear kingdom.
Originally, the habit consisted of long hose called calençons, a tailored jacket, an equally tailored blouse, a hat, low-heeled boots—this is quite the mouthful!— gloves, and a cravat or stock. One source even reports that it included a mask to protect one’s complexion.
Through the centuries, the habit’s shape poofed and slimmed, but no matter its look or specific accessorizing, it always drew inspiration from the fashionable menswear of the day. Eventually, this menswear influence became so pronounced, that woman took to—gasp—wearing pants (circa 1914), and the once ubiquitous formal riding habit proceeded to become defunct.