Conventional to comfortable or respectable to practical: the evolution of women’s golf clothing in Britain, 1890-1935

Fiona Skillen*, Lauren Beatty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
512 Downloads (Pure)


The emergence of sports-specific clothing during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has been explored by academics, yet with only a few exceptions which focus on sports such as swimming, riding and tennis, little has been written about the development of sportswear for women in Britain in this period. 1 Similarly, there has been little in the way of consideration given to the growth and development of women’s golf during this time. Yet, both are areas of considerable change and worthy of detailed study. In this article we will trace the developments of golf clothing for women from the early days of the formalized game in the late nineteenth century until the end of the inter-war period. In doing so we seek to highlight that golf fashions, like those in other sporting arenas, mirrored the changing expectations of female players whilst also reflecting the societal expectations of women of the period. We will discuss the everyday clothing worn by the pioneers of the game and the modifications they made to their garments in order allow them to play effectively. We will also explore the growth of specialist sports clothing developed specifically for golf and the ways in which these sports clothes were marketed and ultimately became fashionable modes of attire beyond the golf course by the end of the inter-war period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208–230
Number of pages23
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • golf
  • interwar
  • femininity
  • sport history
  • modernity
  • sportswear
  • inter-war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • History


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