Speed-limit skirt

The hobble skirt was an unfortunate fashion trend in the early 20th century. Women’s skirts were tied very tight at the hem, preventing them from running or even walking fast – hence the nickname “speed-limit skirt.”

Hobble Skirt
Uncredited. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This design supposedly had an adventurous origin: one of the first women to fly in a plane (Edith Berg) tied her skirt down to prevent it blowing up in the wind. A fashion designer spectator saw the look and turned it into a trend.

The hobble skirt prevented anything except a slow walk. Forget about climbing up steep stairs or onto public transport! In fact, New York and Los Angeles commissioned streetcars specifically designed to be hobble-skirt-accessible. There are a couple of recorded deaths by hobble skirt – one poor woman tripped and fell off a bridge – but they didn’t die out until World War I.


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