The adage says, "There is no accounting for taste." Nor is there any accounting for how fast or how often tastes in what we eat, what we use and how we dress might change.

The adage says, "There is no accounting for taste." Nor is there any accounting for how fast or how often tastes in what we eat, what we use and how we dress might change.

In the age of social media and digital communication, our tastes may change more rapidly -- but it's clear our forebears in Columbus had culture clashes of their own.

Style of dress and its change 150 years ago or so offer a good example. A history of the city from more than a century ago tells some of the story.

"Deferential consideration for the sex was esteemed to be one of the cardinal virtues of the olden time. But there seem to have been some encroachments upon its observance as the city grew in years. For example, we find in a newspaper record of current events in 1841 this exceptional statement, reference being made to a discourse on 'tight lacing' by one of the hygienic instructors of the day: 'We were pained to see some dozen ladies standing in the crowd during the whole of the lecture. It was wrong, ungallant and discreditable, especially in a city so notorious for its gallantry and civility as this.' "

But it would not be long until the ladies would strike back.

And it is not hard to see why. In this "gallant and civil" world of the 1840s, women had considerably fewer rights than men. Women in Ohio at this time were not permitted to vote, nor could they transfer property without the permission of their husbands.

If a woman was unmarried, she had to yield to the authority of her father. If her father was deceased, she had to heed the authority of her closest and oldest living male relative.

As one might imagine, a number of women found these restrictions to be repressive, and by the early 1800s, a women's rights movement had begun in America with some of its strongest advocates located here in Ohio.

It would take many years for equal rights for women to gain acceptance in American life, with women finally receiving the right to vote in all elections in every state in 1920.

The struggle for equality took many forms -- economic, political and social. It had its cultural side as well, with one of the earliest forays occurring in 1851.

Our earlier historian picks up the story.

"To make record of the multiplied whimsies of fashion which have rippled the surface of society during the lifetime of the city would occupy more space than the importance of the subject justifies, but a few of these whimsie ... deserve passing notice. One of these was the so-called Bloomer style or 'reform' of female attire which began to attract attention about the year 1851. On July 4 of that year thirty-one young ladies dressed in the abbreviated skirts prescribed by the reform marched in procession in Battle Creek, Michigan. During the same month and year the presence of several 'Bloomers' were noticed on the streets of Columbus. The merits and demerits of the style became a subject of animated discussion in the newspapers, one zealous advocate, evidently a wearer of the trousers, making this captivating presentation of the affirmative side of the case:

" 'We have heard many complaints of the ladies of the Capital City for their backwardness in adopting this new and decided improvement in dress; but their hesitation is over, their false delicacy overcome ... On the whole we cannot for the life of us imagine what immodesty the most fastidious can see in a dress which appeared to us so simple and so beautiful.'

"On the other hand the opponents of the reform criticized the new costume as 'inconvenient, undignified,' and not consistent with the 'modest apparel enjoined by the Apostles.'... Occasional 'Bloomers' were seen in the city as late as 1859."

Perhaps guided by the notion of "equal time," the same historian went on to talk a bit about changes in male clothing styles over the years.

"Among the most striking articles of male attire worn at different periods were the queues, kneebreeches and buckles, and ruffled shirts, of which the Virginians and Kentuckians, especially among the earlier, wealthier and more dignified citizens were found. A blue dress coat with brass buttons completed the outfit, and is said to have been highly becoming, particularly to a man of Lyne Starling's splendid physique and stately manners."

Starling was the brother-in-law of pioneer settler Lucas Sullivant and one of the four "proprietor" founders of Columbus.

"In the progress of events the queues and kneebreeches were abandoned, and the shirt ruffles were reduced to lower terms, but the blue coat with its brass buttons lingered into the forties and even the fifties. It has perhaps never been improved upon as a keynote in the harmony of apparel for gentlemen of befitting age, manners and complexion."

The next time I wear my blue blazer with brass buttons, I will be pleased to know that I fit right in with my forebears.

Local historian and author Ed Lentz writes the As it were column for ThisWeek News.