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Here’s What Women Used to Wear to Play Sports

The ladies of yore didn't let long dresses or elaborate hats slow them down.

National Library of Ireland via Flickr


Women on the links in County Louth, Ireland, circa 1907. For them, tee time meant Palazzo trousers and wide-brimmed hats. If you want to don a stylist cap next time you hit the course, here’s how to find the perfect hat for your face shape.

Library of Congress via Flickr


Tennis champion May Sutton (circa 1910) attempts to intimidate her opponent with reams of fabric and an intense glare—and it’s definitely working. But did you know tennis balls can be used for more than just sport? These tennis ball hacks can fluff up your pillows, massage your back, and more.

Powerhouse Museum Collection via Flickr


A makeshift boxing match in Australia in 1895. A KO goes to the first woman to “knock off” her opponent’s hat. Women have been boxing for almost as long as the sport has been around, but Women’s Boxing wasn’t an Olympic sport until the London 2012 Olympic Games. Its debut is remembered as an Olympic moment changed history.

Musée McCord Museum via Flickr


Canadian women on a bicycle trip from Montreal to Ottawa in 1916. One lesson they probably learned quickly: long skirts and bike chains don’t make good travel partners. However, that 119-mile trip must have been a serious calorie-burning workout. In fact, cycling is one of the sports that surprisingly burns more calories than running.

City of Vancouver Archives via FlickrCity of Vancouver Archives via Flickr


When the Vancouver women’s hockey team (circa 1920) take the ice, their skirts go with them. From the uniforms to the way athletes train, a lot has changed since these pictures were taken. These authentic photos from the 1912 Olympics prove just how different competitive sports were a century ago. A lot has changed in the U.S. since then; these rich U.S. cities used to be poor. 

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest