Meaning and origin
A hoop skirt is a women’s undergarment made to give a flattering body shape without a manifold of petticoat layers. In the early days, they were made of fabric petticoats designed to act as casting for stiffening material from ropes, whalebones, reeds, and even metal rods to name a few. This cage-like underskirt was made with cushions that helped accentuate the hip.
What began as a mechanism to hold the skirt away from the legs in summers and to avoid tripping got inculcated into a fashion trend in the mid-19th century. This trend was seen in royalty and common people alike.
Wearing the right dress skirt can be a tricky affair, as women of varying shapes and sizes alike have to deal with the problem of finding something that fits right. This guide aims to help you, the reader, select the best dress skirt for your body, so you can look your best at all times.
From Giant Cages to Steel Rods
There are different types of hoop skirts varying from different eras to countries. The farthingale (derived from the Spanish word verdugados) were made from subtropical giant ring cases. They were popular in Europe with different renditions of the same in France, Spain, and Italy.
The panniers (wicker baskets) were popularized in Spain and tend to extend several feet from the wearer making it difficult to move around. Known to extend the width of the skirt from the sides they flattening out the front and back. These were restricted to formal events and court hearings.
With the early 1800s came the Crinolines of the Victorian era which focused on the flow of the dress rather than the waist like its peers. These were brought in to replace the layers and layers of petticoat worn by women of this era to give it the flow. Steel wire hoops were incorporated making it lightweight but strong. These were known as cage skirts which later got replaced by hoop skirts as they are now known. Crinolines too would extend up to six feet making it almost immovable.
Crinolines are still part of many dresses especially wedding gowns and prom dresses. A black hoop skirt under a prom dress is your Cinderella moment. Though the elaborate skirt might be difficult to maneuver the appeal of a corset and a Crinoline cannot be dismissed.
New Fashion Trends with Old Classics
Hoop skirts arrived in the USA in the 18th century from England and France. Women are no longer tortured with skirts than go on for miles or corsets that make it impossible to breathe. Hoop skirts today are made with nylon hoops and are lightweight. Worn mainly under wedding gowns, hoop skirts today are a fashion statement embraced by many. Gothic fashion has been hugely influenced by this trend, not to forget every fairytale gown dream ever.
In 1985 Vivienne Westwood reclaimed this historic dress when she launched her “Mini-Crini” under the pretense of underwear as outerwear. To this day the hoop skirts have walked the runways and fashion powerhouses like Balenciaga cannot get enough of this Victorian trend.
This garment has undergone many variations throughout history but never out of fashion. There are new renditions of the old classics. Although riddled in controversies, hoop skirts are here to accentuate a person’s assets rather than to cage them.