Home / Accessories / What is Bustle? | Different Shapes and Styles of Bustle

What is Bustle? | Different Shapes and Styles of Bustle

What is Bustle? Different Shapes and Styles of Bustle
Jahanara Akter
Lecturer, KCC Womens College,
Khulna, Bangladesh

A bustle is a type of framework used to expand the fullness or support the drapery of the back of a woman’s dress, occurring predominantly in the mid-to-late 19th century. Bustles were worn under the skirt in the back, just below the waist, to keep the skirt from dragging. Heavy fabric tended to pull the back of a skirt down and flatten it.


Women wore bustles underneath the backs of their skirts for several centuries beginning in the sixteenth. Bustles consisted of various objects, including cushions, pads, and frames made of wire and wood, that were tied around the waist or directly attached to a woman’s skirts. The purpose of the bustles were to add fullness or shape to the skirt, and it was often used in combination with farthingales, which were stiff hoops, or petticoats, that were worn as full underskirts.

Purpose to wear bustle:
The purpose of the bustle, worn underneath the back of the skirt, was to add fullness or shape, and it was often used in combination with farthingales, stiff hooped underskirts.

Bustle Styles:
Different styles of bustle were worn in different period which is given below:

Bustle Styles
Bustle Styles

Different Shapes of Bustle:

There are different shapes of bustles. These are used in different period.

 Different Shapes of Bustle
Different Shapes of Bustle
  • View A is a bell shaped hoop suitable for 1856-1863 and 1869-1876
  • View B is an elliptical hoop for 1863-1871
  • View C is a bustle train supporter 1869-1876 and 1883-1889
  • View D and E are bustles for 1883-1889

The design and filling of bustles, and the manner in which they were worn, changed from century to century, and even from decade to decade. Bustles types related directly to the kinds of dresses currently in style. They were much needed with the full skirts of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, and were used along with farthingales. But when slimmer dress profiles of the mid-seventeenth century were in fashion, bustles were not needed. This cycle occurred again in the nineteenth century. In the 1870s bustles were out of fashion because women were wearing dresses made of smaller amounts of cloth. Fuller dress styles were introduced in Paris in 1880 and London three years later. The bustle that accompanied them was made of a cushion filled with straw, which was sewn directly into the dress. This bustle also included a number of steel half-hoops placed in the dress lining, which thrust out the dress behind the waist.

From the late nineteenth century on, bustles were occasionally worn only with ball gowns. For the most part, however, they have been out of style throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>