Vituperated and ridiculised for attempting to reform the feminine Victorian wardrobe, American women´s rights advocate Amelia Jenks Bloomer became famous in history as the main character of a movement that in the mid-1850´s tried to liberate women from the tight-fitting corsets that caused health problems as well as the several layers of clothes,including pettycoats and dresses that impeded the movements of the body. On her magazine The Lily, Ms. Jenks wrote enthusiastically about a new outfit worn by some girls from her town. This consisted of a simplified version of the bodice in vogue and a loose and ample skirt which reached well below the knee. Baggy or Turkish trousers reaching to the ankle could be seen underneath. Although feminist writer Elizabeth Smith Miller was the first one to adopt this outfit, it was Amelia who popularised it and gave her name to it. Some women´s rights advocates such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B.Anthony or Lucy Stone came to believe that the style had become such a focus of ridicule that wearing it prevented women's concerns from being taken seriously, and they abandoned wearing bloomers by late 1853. Bloomer, however, continued to wear the outfit in daily life and on speaking tours until after her move to Iowa in 1855, behavior that exacerbated the friction between her and other women's rights leaders (Source: Jean Florman.The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa)
It is said that the Bloomer Movement was a complete failure but the truth is that 50 years later the pioneer women cyclists adopted bloomers (and so they were named as homage to Amelia )as an essential garment to ride. Amelia´s only "failure" was to be ahead of her time.
Sources: Clothing and Fashion Encyclopedia /The Lily and Amelia Jenks Bloomer The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa
Bibliography: Costume & Fashion. James Laver Thames and Hudson 1996