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Victorian Bustle Dresses Are Refined and Elegant

The skirt bustle is the lesser known but equally beautiful Victorian skirt. When most people think of the Victorian era, they think of the hoop skirt. However, the hoop skirt went out of style in the 1870s, and was replaced with the bustle dress. Although this dress isn't the definitive style of the Victorian era, it is nonetheless a major contributor to the overall style of the era.

The bustle dress style went through three distinct periods. The first period was the Early Bustle Period, which lasted from 1869-1876. In this period, a separate bodice and skirt were worn, and the bodice was characterized by a high neck and a tight fitting sleeve. The skirt bustle had petticoats underneath it to still give it volume.

The Natural Form Period lasted from 1877-1882, and did away with the bustle completely. However, pleats and draping still gave the effect of a skirt bustle although there was no physical bustle present. Fullness in the skirt was usually drawn to the back so that the silhouette in the front was flat.

The Late Bustle Period appeared in 1883 and lasted until 1889. A true bustle became popular again, and was much more extreme than the previous ones. The bustle skirts were higher and larger than previous bustles, and many times drapery similar to the Natural Form Period was seen.

At Recollections, we have many different styles of Victorian bustle dresses. Browse our collection below to find one that is perfect for your next historical event. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us. Our customer service representatives would be more than happy to help.

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Size Chart

English / Metric
  24 68 1012 1416 1820 2224 2628 3032
BUST 3334 3536 3738 4042 4446 4850 5254 5658
WAIST 2425 2627 2830 3133 3537 3942 4447 5053

What size should I order?

Most people find that our sizing runs generously. If you are undecided with which size to order, it is best to order the smaller size, or give us a call to assist you (1-800-452-5925). You may also email us at with your measurements (bust and waist) and we can help you choose the nearest size.

An exception to the generous sizing is the type of ball gown that requires boning in the bodice and that supports a heavy skirt. Many times this style is also "off-the-shoulder" and requires a firm fit to stay up. These styles tend to not run as generously as most of our other garments because of this. But please, give us a call if you are uncertain.

In most cases you should take your bust and waist measurement to determine your size. Please wear the undergarments that you intend to wear when you do your measuring. For example, take your measurement over the type of brassiere or corset that you may be wearing.

Measure the fullest part of your bust around and the smallest part of your waist.


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