Image: Vintage Connection
If this post’s title conjured images of screaming Manhattan sidewalks or catching rush-hour trains, you’re not alone. Despite a short-lived revival in the 1940s, the bustle now only exists in period films or old fashion sketches. So, here’s a little bustle history for your reading pleasure!
After crinolines fell out of fashion in the 1870s, the material that once fell over their width was piled up at the back of skirts like a fabric tower. All that mass couldn’t stay up alone, though, and so the bustle was ushered into being. Made of horsehair, straw-stuffed pillows, steel half hoops, whale bone, or molded mesh wires, bustles sat beneath the skirt, low on the hips, with the intent of filling out the posterior of a lady’s attire.
In the late 1870s and 1880s, the bustle was briefly cast aside, only to return with a full-blown vengeance in the mid-to-late 1880s. The late bustle took on a more exaggerated form, sitting higher on the hips, and built to such proportions that it resembled a shelf (though, as far as we know, no one tried to walk around with a book stowed in their bustle for leisure reading).
This period, though, marked the bustle’s last hurrah, and the Victorian style deflated in popularity until disappearing completely at the beginning of the 20th century. What do you think?