Extra Credit: Victorians Were All About That Bustle

Naturally, I was drawn to the clothing section of the Dictionary of Victorian London page. There was one thing that stood out to me the most in looking at this section : a rather strange accessory that women used called the bustle.


Here is a photo of what a typical bustle looked like. They were essentially a big padded piece of fabric  that gave their rear end a lot of definition. They were worn under their skirts and were then covered by a dress or skirt that consisted of a lot of fabric. There’s no other explanation to why they wore these other than it being a trend. The article that I saw talked about a lady walking down the street wearing a bustle while walking her pet poodle, the bustle falls off, and a kind sir runs after her holding it and she scoffs at him, yelling, “NOT MINE!” I just thought that was so funny because I kind of had the same thing happen to me!

Me (left) with my best friend/cast-mate during “Hello Dolly.” Take a look at that bustle!

I was drawn to the topic of discussing this accessory because I, along with the rest of the female cast in a musical that I was in, actually had to wear one of these throughout the entire play. We had to sing, dance, act and run around all wearing these weird looking butt-pads.The play was set in the 1890s, which was why we were all forced to wear these things – and let me tell you- they were extremely uncomfortable to have to lug around behind you, especially while dancing, and they were just weird looking! I would definitely wanted someone to return my bustle to me in this situation, as it would be seen as an embarrassment to just leave it sitting on the stage after the end of a dance number!

Overall, I was happy that I discovered this article because it connected me with the glory of my high school musical days. If I could do it all over again, I probably would!


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