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Women’s Basketball Fashion & Society

A look at Women’s basketball uniforms over the years and how society viewed them


The first women’s basketball uniforms were long skirts and slippers. This uniform was designed by a woman named Grace Livingston. She wanted to create new uniforms for the girls at her school. When she approached the design to the faculty, they were not pleased. They felt the uniforms were immodest and not appropriate. The faculty did consider approving the design , if the ladies did not wear them in front of boys. Later they approved the design saying that “this dress is much more modest than the garb that is worn in social life�. However,many women had bruises, sprains, and broken bones because of the design of the outfits. During this time the game was played for exercise and socialization, not competition. Basketball for women was only played at schools.

The 20th Century By the turn of the 20th century women starting wearing bloomers. Bloomers were baggy, knee-length pants that fastened below the knee. Hemlines rose in fashion and so did the bloomers. Women were now wearing flappers, skirts above their knees. This caused many people to complain that the outfits were too revealing. People also thought women should not play basketball. They felt women were too frail to play basketball or any competitive sport. “They argued that play was too physically and mentally taxing, and women would be slow to recover after a game, resulting in diminished ability to have children. Some felt that competitive sport, long associated with masculinity, would rob women of their feminine virtues or encourage women to leave their domestic role�. Despite the opposition women still played the sport. During this time women were only playing in high schools and colleges.

Today In 1972 Title IX was signed. Title IX says "no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal assistance." This new law opened the minds of people and people’s view of women playing basketball changed. It was acceptable for women to play basketball. They no longer could be denied them that right. In 1997 the WNBA( Women’s National Basketball Association) had its first season. This was the first women’s professional basketball league. Today women’s uniforms in the WNBA are much similar to men’s uniforms in the NBA. The shirt has no sleeves and the pants are loose fitted and are just above the knee. The design is also lightweight. The lighter uniforms ( as one athlete said) “keep us cooler and drier on the court will keep us from getting too hot or uncomfortable so we can focus on our game and play even better”.

Conclusions ★ ★

In 1893 women’s uniforms were designed to be modest. Society did not want women to show any of their body parts. In the 20th century women’s uniforms design was based on the trending fashion and also so the players could players better. The old designed had many people injured. This new designed caused some complaints. People thought the uniforms were too revealing. Today the uniforms are designed to be “30 percent lighter and dry twice as fast as to help keep athletes cooler, drier and more comfortable on the court”. Since Title IX and the establishment of the WNBA, people’s view of not just women’s uniforms has changed, but also their view of women playing basketball has too. Women can now play basketball professionally and women are no longer ridiculed for wanting to play the sport.


"Women’s Basketball – An Early Controversy." From the Rollins Archives. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <>. ★ Betsy Young, Betsy. "A Brief History of Basketball Uniforms." Sporting Life 360. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. <>. ★ "Cool Things - Women's Basketball Uniform." - Kansapedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. <https://www.>. ★ Jenkins, Sally. "History of Women's Basketball." N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. <http://www.>. ★ "Adidas Introduces New WNBA Uniform System." N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2013. <http: //>. ★ "Top Women in Basketball History." Women's History. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. <http: //> Pictures: ★ "Fever and Lynx Meet for Final Preseason Game-Amber Harris Returns to Indy in a WNBA Uniform." Vigilant Sports. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <>.

Sources ★ ★ ★

"Basketball in Kansas History." Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. <https://www.pinterest. com/kansashistory/basketball-in-kansas-history/>. "Cool Things - Women's Basketball Uniform." - Kansapedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. <https://www.>. "Top Women in Basketball History." Women's History. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2013. <http: //>.

Women's basketball fashion  
Women's basketball fashion  

Women's basketball fashion over the years and how society viewed the uniforms and women.