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What Was The Deal With Those Giant Victorian Skirts?

Updated 1 Aug 2019 597.6k views14 items

Crinolines put the hoop in the Victorian-era skirt. For two decades, women wore crinolines - lightweight cages attached to their waists - under their clothing to create a wide, bell-shaped silhouette. Thanks to crinolines, hoop skirts may be the most iconic and defining piece of fashion from the 1800s.

Crinolines were products of Victorian industrialism. Manufacturers and designers took factory-produced materials like steel and coil and applied them to women's fashion. Though they were particular to the Victorian era, crinolines had a relatively brief moment in the sun and were only worn for a portion of the period. They were popular only from the 1850s until the 1870s, at which point new styles and materials began to dominate fashionable tastes.

Why did crinolines become so popular in the middle of the 19th century? How comfortable were they to wear? And what did women really think of them?

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