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Clothing

7 Cowgirls Who Ruled the Frontier

 7 Cowgirls Who Ruled the Frontier

It's easy to be fascinated by these rough-and-tumble frontier women. Cowgirls defied the gender norms and expectations of their time, trading skirts for chaps and housework for horses. In the 1922 book "The Cowboy: His Characteristics, His Equipment," author Philip Ashton Rollins claims women weren't an important factor in the West because there were so few of them. Despite the existence of Calamity Jane or Cattle Kate, Rollins wrote that "ranchwomen's" influence was pretty much limited to their households. He never met these seven extraordinary women. See more »

When did women begin wearing pants?

 When did women begin wearing pants?

Before men started wearing the crotch-covering legging we call trousers, everybody wore skirts in one form or fashion (see also: loincloths, tunics, togas, kilts, etc.). And why not? Skirts are far simpler to construct and facilitate more cooling air flow to the nether regions, which would've been a godsend in the pre-air conditioning days. But then, thanks to the rise of horseback infantries, trousers (see also: breeches, codpieces, tights, etc.) became the below-the-belt manly uniform of the masculine masses. Western women, meanwhile, continued wearing skirts, and not just simple wrap-around numbers. We're talking multi-layered, heavy, floor-length ensembles often further supported and puffed out with the assistance of cage crinoline, petticoats, bustles, or other clunky foundation garments, depending on the era (see also: corsets). See more »

Why Men Wear Pants

 Why Men Wear Pants

I hadn't given much thought to why men wear pants until I started looking into why women wear skirts. The only known clothing to predate the skirt is the loincloth, which means that for a long time, skirts were unisex, as Valerie Steel, director of the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, told CBS News: "Men and women both wore skirts in ancient times. Once you had the initial idea of weaving a rectangle and tying it around yourself, you had basically the skirt. And if you look at say ancient, Egyptian paintings, you see men and women both wearing what's in effect a skirt." So why and when did the skirt begat the pant (Fun fact: "pant" is derived from 4th-century Roman Saint Pantaleon)? See more »

Does donating clothes do more harm than good?

 Does donating clothes do more harm than good?

Where do our clothes end up when we donate them? (hint: Africa) In fact, donated and discarded clothing may be the #1 American export. Tune in to learn how donated clothes from the West are destroying local textile industries in developing countries See more »

Summer Shorts: Pricey Swimsuits

 Summer Shorts: Pricey Swimsuits

Why do itsy bitsy bikinis cost so much for so little cloth? Join Cristen and Caroline as they look at the average women’s swimsuit price, the life cycle of a swimsuit and more. See more »

Summer Shorts: Jock Straps

 Summer Shorts: Jock Straps

Who invented the jock strap? How do the physics of jock straps work? How many varieties of jock strap exist, and are there any alternatives? In this episode, Cristen and Caroline recount a brief history of the jock strap. See more »

Who invented the thong?

 Who invented the thong?

Whether or not you're a fan of thongs, there's no denying that they attract attention. But where did these flimsy strings come from? Join Caroline and Cristen as they look into the origin of one of humanity's most controversial pieces of clothing. See more »

How did women pedal their way to emancipation?

 How did women pedal their way to emancipation?

Susan B. Anthony once said the bicycle deserved all of the credit for women’s emancipation. Women had to fight restrictive clothing and stereotypes to take part in the bike craze of the 1890’s. Tune in to learn more about gender equality and bicycles. See more »

Are corsets all that bad?

 Are corsets all that bad?

Throughout history, opinions of corsets have fluctuated. Some have called the corset the Western version of foot binding, while others think the corset's been stuck with a bad rep. Tune in as Cristen and Molly dive into the cultural history of the corset. See more »