In the 16th century protective overskirts or ‘safe guards” where worn by both men and women.
Then it was in the mid 17th century that the Riding habit was developed. A habit normally consisted of
- A tailored jacket
- Long skirt
- A hat (most commonly a top hat)
- Low heeled boots
- And often a neck tie or stock
Though this period the Riding Habit used details from male dress such as
-Large turned cuffs
-Gold Buttons (military style)
-Dark tones of fabric
Too allow for astride riding the skirt would be split up the front.
In the early 18th century they started to use wools and even velvets in richer, brighter colours. They became high waisted and were darned with luxurious buttons.
Then in the later part of the 18th century the habit became slender and more elegant stepping away from the large bulky habits.
It was in the early 19th century that it finally changed into becoming the open sided apron to be worn over breeches.
Images sourced from;
By J.P.Thornton. 1910’s. Thornton’s International system of Ladies’ Garments Cutting.