In five eight-lines stanzas, the poem recounts the story of Mary, a young woman who adopts the new fashion of wearing bloomers while bicycling, and the shock her choice provokes.
- When Mary first wore bloomers
- Tom tore his hair and swore
- He never more would love her
- As he'd loved her just before.
- But Mary's wearing bloomers yet,
- And Tom, regardless of his threat,
- Still calls her "my own darling pet" —
- In bloomers!
Similarly, Mary's parents, brothers, and minister, and the little boys and the dogs on the town, all react negatively to her innovation; but each and all of them get used to the change in time. Mary blithely overcomes all opposition.