Halloween Costume Idea - The Suffragette

This is my favorite Halloween costume idea so far!
With all of the current political talk about the "war on women" and how women may be loosing ground in our on-going struggle for rights, I think we might just need another generation of fighters like those who have come before us.   From the late 1800s until 1920 (when the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified), brave women took to the streets to demand one of the most basic of rights - the right to vote.   
So, if you're into making political/historical statements at Halloween, this is a good one!

Lucy Branham with poster. (source)
To achieve the suffragette look, you'll need an outfit from the Edwardian period.  This would best be a hip-length or thigh-length overcoat, a matching long skirt, ankle boots, a lacy blouse, and a large wide-brim hat.  While you could spend lots of time and money searching for an authentic piece, I'd recommend going retro for these pieces.

Here is an example of the type of suit a women from this period would have worn.  (source)
The colors of the suffragette movement were purple, green, and white.  Banners and even jewelry were carried and worn by woman to show their support of the movement.   According to a 1908 issue of the weekly newspaper Votes for Women, Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence explained the symbolism of these colors:
"Purple as everyone knows is the royal colour. It stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity...white stands for purity in private and public life...green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring." (source)

And the suffragettes were all about their banners and sandwich boards.

Suffragettes of NY (source)
Suffragettes on the march (source)
Suffragettes in NYC, 1912 (source)
Find more images for inspiration on Pinterest.

But...if you just can't pull together a Edwardian outfit, try the next big step in the women's rights movement...the bra-burners of the 1960s and the ERA movement of the 1970s.

"Bra-burners", Atlantic City, 1968.  Fabulous MOD fashions!  
A women’s-liberation parade on Fifth Avenue, in New York, in August, 1971.

Check out more vintage Halloween costume ideas
Mad Men (season 5)
Halloween Pin-Up

Deliverance (the movie)

1 comment:

  1. "Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence explained the symbolism of these colors". There was another symbolic aspect to them as well: Give (green) Women (white) Votes (violet).


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