A quick history of women’s golf wear

The LPGA Tour is reigning in player fashion, and dialing back women’s golf wear, for the first time in recent memory.

If you want to know what the tour is unhappy about, well, it’s basically Michelle Wie.

Its specific guidance in a July 2 email to players reads, the LPGA Tour said.

  • Racerback with a mock or regular collar are allowed (no collar = no
  • Plunging necklines are NOT allowed.
  • Leggings, unless under a skort or shorts, are NOT allowed
  • Length of skirt, skort, and shorts MUST be long enough to not see your bottom area (even if covered by under shorts) at any time, standing or bent over.
  • Joggers are NOT allowed

Women have been playing golf in the United States since the late 1800s. At that time, they basically wore the clothes they’d wear to a garden party on the golf course. Things like well, this.

Long-sleeved, high-collar blouses were the order of the day, along with ankle-length skirt and shoes that were anything but suited to golf. Large hats were common as well.

This was more or less the style until the 1920, which was a general period of (relative) relaxation in women’s fashion. Hats became more fitted and long dresses transformed into (long) skirts, shirts were more suited to athletic activity. And no corsets!

The period until the 1970s, really, was mostly a story of the slow creep of skirt hems and shorter sleeved shirts, as well as the move toward the polo shirt and golf-appropriate footwear.

The 1970s saw shorter skirts, as well as relatively tight-fitting pants and shorts introduced. Interestingly, some women during this time wore a collarless tee-shirt, as this photo of Nancy Lopez from 1978 shows.

The 1980s were a decade of short and polos, pretty much. And the 1990s were typified by much the same, punctuated by the disappearance of sleeves on many of the shirts of the best golfer of the era, Annika Sorenstam.

It’s really not a markedly different story from the late 2000s. Here’s Michelle Wie in 2009. Note the LPGA Tour’ now-preferred tank with collar and skirt of a length that her “bottom area” won’t be exposed. In other words, for better or worse, the LPGA was to return to the previous decade, from an apparel standpoint.

Again, outfits like this one below from Wie this year are what they saw fit to legislate against: Racerback with no collar. Plunging neckline. Undershorts visible.

.All photos from public domain or Twitter 

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