This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Habit. External dress; particularly, the costume or dress regularly worn, or appropriate for a particular occassion, use, or vocation. Also, a costume worn by women when riding on horseback. This, until about 1870, had a very long full skirt of cloth, which it was customary to pin or otherwise fasten below the feet of the wearer when mounted. The habit used at present is much shorter, and close-fitting, consisting of a skirt, waist and cap. The edge or hem of the skirt is somtimes weighted to keep it in position.