Amelia Jenks Bloomer – Clothing Reformist
By: MyQdai Team Member Nancy Wendel
05. November 2019
When Malvina first told me her idea for a clothing brand, pockets for women, I thought it was so simple that it was brilliant. I have always complained about my clothing having either no pockets or faux pockets (aka fockets). Yet it never occurred to me to do anything more than just whine. Just like Malvina, Amelia Jenks Bloomer saw a problem with women’s clothing in the 1850s and fought to make a change to the status quo.
Amelia Jenks Bloomer was an educator, a suffragist editor, and a social educator. In 1849 she started a newspaper for women which was the first ever to be entirely edited by women. She spent her life fighting for women’s rights and is largely credited for attaining the right to vote for the women of Ohio in 1873.
Amelia’s contribution to womankind extended to dress reform. While, prior to Qdai, most of my clothing was lacking in pockets, they were not a danger to my health. (Well, except for maybe those beautiful towering stilettos I bought that I can barely walk in.) Back in the 1850s, women wore restrictive corsets and dresses which were a health hazard. Women complained of overheating and they found it difficult to breathe. They experienced crushed organs from the whalebone-stays and laced corsets and the dresses would get caught in factory machinery. Talk about being dressed to kill!!
Bloomer was one of the first women to adopt a new way to dress. The “Turkish trousers” or “pantaloons,” was an outfit that combined knee-length skirts with loose pants. These became known as ‘Bloomers’, after Amelia, and it revolutionized the way women dressed. She wore it and championed it in her newspaper. While some ridiculed her for going against convention, she was flocked with letters about the dress and requests for the pattern by hundreds of women wanting a change. It became a symbol of the women’s rights movement and it changed the future of women’s clothing.
Having read more about Amelia Bloomer and her pantaloons, makes me see the Qdai dress in a different, more empowering way. For too long women were subjected to painful outfits to conform to societal expectations. These days, with all our clothing choices, we still lack pockets or suffer faux pockets. If you do not believe me ask any woman about the pockets on her clothing she is currently wearing. She will either complain about not having any, demonstrate the uselessness of the faux ones or boast about her real pockets. There is no reason we cannot have a pretty outfit and have it be practical too.
Freedom in a dress is what we wanted to design to give you the ability to move around the world unhindered. This is the freedom that Amelia and many women before us fought for! So wear your Qdai the way you want to! Wear it with tights, with heels, with boots or with flip-flops. Throw on a hat, some jewelry or wear it bare. Take a handbag, backpack or just use those hidden pockets.