After the hoop skirt period (1850s), horsehair-filled frills or “tournures” came into fashion. These tournures looked like little cushions and were worn under the skirt, to add width especially on the back. This attention for the lady’s backside was considered quite provocative, therefore the really high bustle is only seen in later decades. At first the tournure was built into the petticoat or hoopskirt but after 1871 they were sold separately, so you could choose your own favourite. At first we see the width is mainly on the lower part of the skirt, while later on it’s more architectural and higher up at the back.
So, were there two or three bustle periods? Some sources say two, some say three, fashion historians don’t agree on the subject. Divided in three periods it would look like this:
If you’re in favour of two periods, they would look like this:
The only thing we know for sure is that in 1876, Harper’s Bazaar claimed the bustle was outdated, after which it was worn less, untill the next bustle period revived the bustle’s popularity.
Schematical drawings for patterns show the different styles really well
Reading my feedreader today, I found Marmeecraft is making a bustle. Such coincidence!
Picture credit to http://www.costumes.org
Oh, it’s Halloween, I totally forgot. My reading tip is The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. It’s from the wrong era (written in 1769) but it’s the start of the popular 19th century gothic genre. Or, if you insist on reading Victorian literature, I would like to suggest Le Fanu’s Carmilla, a 1872 vampire novel, and a very entertaining read. Happy Halloween!