Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
" Curious effect produced by a fashionable lady, walking down the aisle at church ", caption. Men put their hats, brim up, next to their pews, Sundays during church. Swept away by wide skirts, another guy has had enough.
No one is attacking this iconic image, or what it represents to anyone, personally. It does pay to keep an eye on History, however. Some of it is a little different than you may imagine. Sometimes, it's presented hysterically, too.
There's a thread or several on dangers attached to ' crinolines ', or now interchangeably, ' hoops '. The term ' crinoline ' morphed through time anyway, arising from a stiff, coarsely woven petticoat pre-dating Civil War era fashion ( by how long, no idea. ). Since a fairly brief fashion intermission occurred during our Regency era, give or take, during which ' hoops ' as an extravagant fashion statement was ridiculed, ' crinoline ' may have been slowly morphing behind everyone's backs. From full-ish, itchy petticoat- horsehair has been mentioned - to wire structure.
They were still at it, in 1876- from the first, articles I can find by 1854. Not many, by 1855 it's quite a discussion. Then ' Kaboom ', between advertisements and objections, ' Hoop Skirts ' hove into view. Below- one of the first derogatory cartoons, 1854. NYPL.
Here's the thing? Not to give the idea that females should dress themselves in order to please male eyes any steam, but men mostly disliked ' hoops ', hoop skirts, crinolines or anything which intruded on their lives, wives and social fabric to the extent as did our crinolines. The fashion rage continued, which was just, plain weird. Historically, dressing in an ' alluring ' manner, to catch the male eye, was accepted. Ouch but true. To have stood firm in the face of male disapprobation, clinging fast to an outrageous fad meant we were at least willing to please ourselves. It's something? Really, a lot of men found them intrusive, outrageous, unattractive and terribly concerning as a death toll mounted.
One history , published at the time, states circumference at first introduction was 9 yards around, fashion taming itself later down to 7.
From Godey's, earlier, you can see the space demanded.
Well, by the 1860's a triumphant Demorest's ( Quarterly of Fashion.... ) ran an article, partially repeated here. It was a HUGE industry! There's a photograph of working women, not one in a hoop, making these in a warehouse somewhere. They do not seem glamorous or fashionable, just working hard.
....... Opening paragraph, you get the idea and last.....
Society tried, in futile efforts to counter the long, long lasting fad.
Snip from an alarmed man, 1855
Last person on the planet not to support us, especially given there's another 60 years before we got to vote, but good points, all. Houses were built, doors and stairways extra-wide, chairs constructed, to accommodate- fashion!
One man wrote how much it irked him to have his thighs stabbed, which seemed fair. Hoops and crinolines were glued together variously- all a tad precarious, all tended to break.
This is awesome. Trust a Brit! In 1858, one man had had enough.
Things did get out of hand- this was pushing it, as cartoons do, but not by a lot.
You know, beyond how much they were disliked for their role in plain, old taking up space, they were genuinely very, very dangerous. Already did threads on it, so will not repeat the tragic news stories. That we continued this crazy craze so long is still baffling. Like why the mold grows back, behind the fridge, when you've just cleaned the darn thing yesterday, it may remain one of our eternal mysteries.
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