July 11, 1895, El Paso Times, El Paso, Texas – Emancipation from skirts is one of the privileges that the advanced woman has long been contending for, and the prevailing popularity of bicycling and other outdoor exercises for women gives a sudden and considerable impetus to that long delayed reform.
Bloomers and divided skirts no longer excite wonder when seen on the highways, and the day when the horsewoman may ride astride man fashion without fear of criticism is at hand.
The sidesaddle has always been a serious handicap, and Miss Woods, an enterprising Chicago woman, has invented a costume which enables her to discard it without derogation of her womanly modesty and dignity.
The lower garment of this costume may be called a divided skirt, but actually it resembles a pair of very wide trousers.
The two skirts, each a third of a yard in width, are fastened in a belt at the waist, and gathered in a row of plaits at the middle of the front and back.
These plaits give the divided garment the appearance of a single skirt, and the fullness of each skirt at the bottom completes the illusion.
A panel almost as wide as the apprentice width of the skirt falls on each side, from the belt almost to the foot, which adds to the effectiveness and conventional appearance of the costume when the wearer is astride a horse.
The improvement claimed for this costume over the ordinary divided skirt is that there is no clumsy fullness at the bottom. The skirt hangs straight, and is no wider than an ordinary riding habit. It displays less of the contour of the figure than the regular costume used with the sidesaddle.
Miss Woods introduced the innovation as a result of her experience in Palestine.
After much discomfort and several mishaps in riding in a dilapidated sidesaddle, she one day boldly thread her leg across the horse's back and rode that way all day before any one discovered her.
Then she refused to ride any other way. All the Arabian women ride astride, and she followed the custom of the country during the rest of her stay there.
With the remembrance of the comfort experienced on that trip she decided to adopt man's fashion in Chicago, and did so, with the result that her example is being followed by a large and increasing number of women in the Windy City.