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Local: Munson-Williams to Launch ‘Sporting Fashion: Outdoor Girls 1800 to 1960’ Starting in June 2023

Submitted/written by Judge Joan Shkane | Columnist 

Utica—We know that our clothes tend to reflect our society’s standards. But do you know why women wear skirts and western men don’t (excluding Scots’ kilts)? Why men in most of the world both modern and ancient wear robes and skirts? Why western women started wearing trousers? Why women a century ago rode horses sidesaddle? How did we evolve from ancient men competing in sports in the nude—and women nearly nude—to women rock-climbing in ankle length skirts and corsets! These and so many other questions will be explored in this exhibit!

This will be a spectacular exhibition for summer of 2023. “Sporting Fashion” is the first exhibition to explore the evolution of women’s sporting attire over a 160-year period, and its derivation from men’s sporting and dress wear. The exhibition will include 65 actual fully accessorized ensembles along with the equipment needed for each outdoor activity.

The exhibit will explore the inventiveness of designers, tailors and seamstresses as they worked to meet society’s changing ideas of men’s and women’s abilities and interests, and technological advances that permitted change. It will highlight the evolution of sportswear from ancient times to modern times, focusing on women but touching on both men’s and women’s fashions.  

Clothes for swimming and tanning will show the increasing acceptance of public bathing at beaches and pools, sometimes single sex and sometimes the sexes together. Winter outfits for skiing and ice-skating were designed to give protection from the elements. Cycling, motoring, flying, riding and strolling suits, often adapted from men’s formal, casual and athletic gear, helped daring women navigate into new activities alongside their brothers.  Complementing the actual antique outfits and equipment will be a timeline of key events and biographies of significant female athletes that present sporting fashion in the broader context of men’s and women’s social history.

You won’t want to miss the presentation of the exhibit at your organization’s meeting during April and May, 2023. Book your power point presentation today with Joan Shkane (315) 725-2444 or at We hope to see you soon!

Utica Phoenix Staff
Utica Phoenix Staff
The Utica Phoenix is a publication of For The Good, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) in Utica, NY. The Phoenix is an independent newsmagazine covering local news, state news, community events, and more. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and also check out Utica Phoenix Radio at 95.5 FM/1550 AM, complete with Urban hits, morning talk shows, live DJs, and more.

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