I’ve been holding these skating pictures, hoping to show them on an actual snowy day, but here it is the end of February and we’ve only had a couple of dustings. (Of course that means everyone is walking around proclaiming that “It’s going to catch up with us,” or “We’ll pay for this later,” which means we are destined to suffer through a late snow like we did in March, 1993 when there was close to three feet in my front yard!)
Don’t you just love those high topped skates on the girl above? The illustration is an advertising card from Star Brand Shoes.
Into the 1920s, women pretty much wore their warmest sporty attire when skating. They might have a skirt that was shorter than what would have been worn on the street along with a warm sweater and a knit cap. Most sources credit Olympic skater Sonja Henie with the development of the short circular skirt for skating. I found photos of her wearing that style skirt as early as 1928.
It’s interesting to me to see how this basic style is still the standard for competitive skating. A very short skirt that moves with the action of the skater is what we expect to see a womam skater wearing. The big difference is that there is no longer any pretense as to the warmness of the materials used. The heavy materials of the past – wool and velveteen – have given way to chiffon, sequins and fringe.
Two mid century skating garments from my collection:
This folkloric style skirt is wool, made in Minnesota.
Could it be that this velveteen and felt skating dress was inspired by the decorated skirts of Juli Lynne Charlot?
I’m always looking for both skating clothing and photos of skaters. Both are relatively hard to find compared to, say, ski clothing. It could be that because skating never became the huge destination-vacation type sport as skiing, that women were just not as willing to invest the money for special clothing. Any other thoughts?
And I just could not resist sharing this great roller skater: