1851, named for U.S. feminist reformer Amelia Jenks Bloomer (1818-1894), who promoted them. The surname is attested from c. 1200, said to mean "iron-worker," from Old English bloma (see bloom (n.2)). The original Bloomer costume was a short skirt, loose trousers buttoned round the ankle, and a broad-brimmed, low-crowned hat.
The failure of the Bloomer dress seems to have arisen from the mixed character it assumed, and the unpleasant confusion of ideas it occasioned. It partook of the man's the woman's and the child's. A bold assumption of a full male dress, as by Madame Dudevant and Miss Weber, and such as is worn at pleasure by ladies, traveling or on excursions, anywhere on the continent of Europe, would have had a much better chance of tolerance and success. ["The Illustrated Manners Book, A Manual of Good Behavior and Polite Accomplishment," New York, 1855]