Hoopskirt Hoopla

    The Fillies welcome . . . .


 Lisa Richardson

 Through the ages women’s fashions have been the object of great interest by many, and great scorn by others. The scorn has generally been reserved for those fashionistas who wear the extremes of the style. And any fad can be taken to extremes. From French “Aristos” with hair that stood more than two feet tall, to the early 20th century hobble skirts that made it nearly impossible for women to walk. Poised between those two time periods, the Victorians certainly had their excesses as well. One of the most eagerly lampooned was the hoop skirt.

“A joking exaggeration of mid-Victorian hoop skirts.”

Accustomed as we are to our easy wash-and-wear society, we can forget how much these styles restricted a woman’s ability to be active and to do things. We’re not just talking the size of the crinoline, but the sheer weight of yards and yards of material that made up the dresses. Practicality limited most women to reasonable hoop sizes, but for the idle rich the only limitation was imagination—and possibly the size of their hallways.

 I still have to wonder how ladies managed to maneuver through their world in what amounted to cages. And yet they did. They managed it with aplomb.


“In England, 1858, crinolines had to be hung outside public transportation in order for the wearer to fit inside.”


Do you think you would enjoy wearing a hoop skirt? Why or why not? Do you like that style?


I’m giving away a copy of Diamond in the Rough today. So please comment so that we can put your name in the drawing. (The blurb is below so you can decide whether it’s worth the effort!)


Click on cover to preorder

 Grant Diamond is a professional gambler on the run from his past. When he comes across a wagon wreck, the chance to escape his pursuers is too good a gamble to pass up, and he assumes the identity of the dead wagon driver. His plan takes an unexpected

turn when local heiress Lily Rose mistakes him for the missionary she had asked to come work with the Wiyot Indians. Seeing Eureka as a promising place to lay low, Grant plays along. Before he knows it, he”s bluffing his way through sermons and building an Indian school. But with a Pinkerton on his trail and a rancher rousing fresh hatred against the Indians, Grant fears the new life he”s built may soon crumple like a house of cards.



+ posts

43 thoughts on “Hoopskirt Hoopla”

  1. I enjoyed this review and no, I wouldn’t have wanted the Hoop skirts. Have seen where they had to lift the skirts to try and sit. Bad idea. Neither would I like the over long dresses. I would trip and fall on my face. I did like a lot of the styles of long dresses tho Some were so beautiful. Now, those corsets are out. LOL Tho I have worn girdles and not crazy about them either. I would love to win this book. Sounds really good. Please put my name in one of those stetsons. But, don’t forget to pick it out of there. Don’t let it get loss. Thanks.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  2. Hey Maxie! I’m with you. I could do without the hoops and definitely without the corsets, though I do enjoy looking at those dresses now. I think I would have liked the clothing from the 1910s though. I could have managed those styles.

  3. Well, I think the long dresses would have been fun to wear, but I know I wouldn’t want to even try wearing a hoop. I really have never understood why they wore hoops and corsets back then anyway. Thank you for the post! I would love to be entered to win your book.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  4. Women have done strange things in order to be fashionable, Cindy! Have you seen some of the panniers from the 1770s and 80’s? They look ridiculous now. Standards of beauty are certainly fluid. You’re entered for the drawing!

  5. Looks like those skirts would be romance deterrants to me. No guy could come within three feet–literally. LOL. And how would you reach your partner to dance? Very dubious.

    dinasleiman at gmail dot com

  6. I am sure in the hot weather this skirts would have been torture to wear, but in the cooler weather they would have been okay.. Oh I could see me in them for sure..
    Great post, really enjoyed it..

  7. Although they look gorgeous, I would not have the patience for it lol. I don’t mind dressing up once in a while, but I’m not one of those women that live for fashion. I have to assume back in the day that is mostly all the rich women had to occupy their time (or at least the majority of them). And of course it’s worth the effort – sounds like a wonderful story!


  8. Even though i know it would be a lot of work, I think I would llove to wear them! it would make me feel like the princess at the ball. Although i bet it was hard to dance your dance partner in them.

  9. When I was in high school we wore can-cans to make our skirts stick out. They were very stiff but were not bad to wear.

  10. I don’t think I would ever wear a hooped skirt. I am short as it is hoop my skirt out and I would look even shorter. It just wouldn’t be for me.

  11. I wore a small hooped slip under my wedding dress. Nothing huge. The seamstress who tailored my dress loaned it to me. I can’t imagine wearing a huge hoopskirt. I wonder how heavy the gowns were, with yards and yards of fabric to cover those enormous hoops!

  12. Diamond In The Rough looks great. To answer the question, no I don’t think I would like wearing hoopskirts. I’m sure they must make it very difficult to get around and I would probably trip and fall. I’m not that graceful!

    johnsonk133 at yahoo dot com

  13. sitting down would be a pain as would going to the bathroom,,an during the war I bet you could actually hide weapons or small ppl under that skirt,lol

  14. I remember wearing what we called “petticoats” or “crinolines” in junior high and as Goldie said they were stiff and scratchy. Because the dresses and skirts were shorter than in the 19th century you had to sit down carefully to avoid embarrassment. I’m glad we never had to wear those huge hoops although some of the girls had wire in their petticoats.

  15. Susie, I had a crinoline under my wedding dress too. I don’t think mine was hooped, just layers of fabric to help the skirt take the proper shape. The gowns could get very heavy. Upwards of 10 pounds.

  16. Hilltop Farm Wife, sounds like you managed gracefully. It seems like there has been a bit of a resurgence of 50s style and I’ve actually seen the style of crinoline you described on sale now.

  17. Hi Lisa! I’m a bit late with this but wanted to say welcome and that I hope you’re having a fun day. I think I would’ve liked the long elegant dresses as long as they didn’t have a hoop skirt under them. And as long as it wasn’t summertime. Oh Lord, they must’ve been hot!

    Loved the blurb about your book. Grant Diamond sounds like a man I could fall in love with. Wishing you much success.

  18. Great post, Lisa! What’s always amazed me is thinking about wearing all that fabric and those tight corsets, in some of the hottest, most humid areas of the country. I visited Charleston, South Carolina in the summer once and thought I’d pass out of the heat. And I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt! No wonder everyone carried around smelling salts.

  19. I’d sure love to try wearing all those layers and managing a hoop skirt (for a day or two!)… yes, just for the experience!

    Can’t wait to read this one!

  20. I wanted a hoop skirt when I got married. Luckily, common sense prevailed. Now, 32 years later, I don’t know what I was thinking.

    I’ve always been fascinated with the changes in fashion. So many styles have been redone through the years. Right now it’s cullottes – or gauchos – and boots. I really hope the hoop skirt, as beautiful as they can be, won’t be a revived fashion.

    Fun post, Lisa

  21. No wonder the ladies moved so slowly. Not for me-I was too active and would have really been hampered if I had to wear those.

  22. Women have been overcoming in spite of horrific fashions for centuries. These days it’s skinny jeans and high heels. : )

    I wore a hoop skirt for junior prom, my wedding, and to a Renaissance festival. Other than having to remember to “scooch” it up in back before sitting down, the hoop skirt wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as a corset (or a longline bra), IMO. In fact, it was kind of nice in the crowds at the Renaissance festival… kind of forces folks to respect your personal space!

  23. Hoop skirts are not my style, and I wonder what percentage of women wore them in their various iterations.

  24. My daughter is into Civil War reenacting. The hoop skirt is a bit tricky to get around in. Try getting in a pickup and riding to a ball in one. I have a 3 band hoop but hers is 5 or 6.

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