Does my bum look big in this? The Question that sends icy shivers down most western men’s backs now had a whole different meaning in the Late Victorian era. The Bustle made fashionable women’s backsides look like the rear end of a horse.
The Bustle first appeared 1870. The crinoline of the mid Victorian era became narrower and more pronounced at the back and voilà! the bustle appeared. At first it looked like a curtain had attacked you as drapes, aprons, tassels, fringing and festoons decorated the bustle and front of the skirt. The result was a rather erotic look for the stayed Victorian era as all focus was bought to the women’s backsides. A woman in full Late Victorian period costume is quite beguiling as the bustle executes a movement that would have made Marilyn Monroe swoon. Combined with a clinched waist of serious corsetry and the vivid new dyes that were invented in the era it was a sight to behold. By the height of its reign the bustle resembled a small platform that you could easily seat a small child upon. It was reduced to a small pad by 1891-2 as the style of the Edwardian era and S-shaped Gibson Girl began its rise.
The bustle was made in variety of ways ranging from pads stuffed with horse hair to intense engineering feats made of steel and canvas in a cage-like construction, all were anchored around the waist. The contraption sat on the waist over the corset and was covered in a petticoat usually with tiers of ruffles to push the skirt out further. The skirt was assembled over the top, and drapes and aprons added over the skirt. Combined with immaculate hairstyles and tight fitting bodices the bustle style is undoubtedly hot and heavy to wear but sexy in its own tightly restrained way.