Bustle Period

From 1870 to 1890 was the Bustle Period, the predominant feature of women’s dresses. A bustle was a padded garment that accustomed to add fullness, at the back of women’s dresses. The bustle was worn under the skirts slightly below the waist to keep the skirt from dragging underneath. Heavy fabrics attended to pull the back of the skirts down and flatten it. These were the most popular undergarment for women at that time.

bustle period fashion


Clothing for Women of Bustle Period

The gowns of the Bustle period were Wide use of sewing machines, developed by sized paper patterns, cutting off many garment pieces at the same time. Women wore this undergarment for supporting the silhouette in the 1870s. They wore Chemise, Corset, and Corset Cover as their undergarments. There was a new garment that became popular as alternative underwear which was a combination of drawers and chemise. It also included the Bustle which had a full structure to support a skirt from the backside. Women wore three types of bustles within their dresses. The availability of ready-made blouses called shirtwaists made a shirt and a skirt “perfect dress” for work. Women also started to play sports, so they used sports dresses as well.

bustle period women fashion
Evening Dress

late 19th century women fashion


Clothing for Men of Bustle Period

from 1870 to 1900, men’s fashion was very subtle and didn’t change much. They wore combinations or union suits and various types of jackets. Generally, the sort of jacket worn was associated with the formality of the occasion.

bustle period mens fashion


Clothing for Children

Bustles appeared within the dresses of young girls also as adult women. Little boys still wore skirts, then graduated to any of several forms of suits.

bustle period kids fashion



Women liked to keep a natural look during this period. They used face tone face powder, light pink shade powder, eyeliner and mascara, light color lipsticks.

bustle period Makeover


Accessories of Bustle Period

Gloves were one of the most important accessories with a woman’s outfit. Long, elbow-length, or above the elbow length were worn for the evening with short sleeves. Short wrist length gloves appeared with long sleeves. Folding fans were a well-liked accessory of the time.

Accessories of Bustle Period


Hairstyles in the Civil War period typically had a part in the middle and the hair pulled tightly back into a bun. Often ladies included the use of a snood. Toward the end of the Civil War period, the hairstyles became larger and the use of additional hair fillers and multiple hairpieces became popular. In the late 1870s, the bustles became tighter, and then did the hairstyles. Possing the hair crimped or styled in multiple waves hairstyle was very fashionable during the bustle period. Pin-curl bangs were also shown in the “Vogue” magazine.

bustle period Headdress/Hairstyle
During this period people used jewelry which was made of Jet, onyx, gutta-percha, vulcanite, French jet (glass), and bog oak were popular materials for mourning jewelry. Other popular gems such as cabochon garnets, amethysts, diamonds, rock crystal, emeralds, opal, pearl, ruby, and tortoiseshell were also included.

  late 19th century Jewelry


Footwear of Bustle Period

They were made up of one piece of wood roughly turn-over shoe form. A variant of this type was a wooden sole to which a leather upper was attached.

bustle period footwear


Image source: [google, wikipedia]

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