When we think of the hoop skirt, we tend to think of the Victorian Era. And it’s true that hoop skirts were used then. However, hoop skirts have been around since as early as the sixteenth century. The farthingale was a hoop skirt popular in Europe, and different forms of farthingales originated in France, Spain, and Italy. This type of hoop skirt was made with pillow-like cushions that helped form an accentuated hip. Other materials included reeds, whale bone, metal rods, and canvas. This stiff hoop helped create a figure desirable for women of the time. Great farthingales were even more extreme in their shape, and had a wide circumference that made it difficult to walk. But that was the fashion!
The Great farthingales led to panniers, which were also extreme in nature. These hoop skirts were cumbersome, with even wider hips. Some of these panniers extended several feet from the wearer, making it difficult to move around. They were popularized in Spain, and they appear in many paintings by the artist Velázquez.
The Regency Era didn’t have any hoop skirts—in fact, the silhouette was much tamer. However, the Victorian Era definitely more than made up for the tame look of the early 1800s. Crinolines of the Victorian Era were just as difficult to move around in, but were different because the bottom of the skirt was awkward, not the hips. On crinolines, the skirt could sometimes extend up to six feet, which made it extremely difficult to even walk, let alone sit down. Because of this, many crinolines were the subject of jokes and satire, which noted that the cage-like structure essentially trapped the women who were wearing them.
Crinolines are still a part of many outfits today, particularly wedding gowns and prom dresses. However, if you want to be authentically thrown back in time, you can get your own crinoline from Recollections. We carry caged hoop skirts and full tulle skirts with layers that make ball gowns stand out on their own. You can get hoop skirts with cages, but we think you’ll find the more modern ones made with tulle much more comfortable! If you’re craving a truly authentic experience, though, the skirts with boning are definitely the way to go. Whatever your preference, you’ll find it all at Recollections.
Here are a few Recollections fashions that are designed to work with a hoop skirt or hoop crinoline.