Fashionable Fridays: The Crinoline

The dangerous, troublesome crinoline. With ankles!

It’s Friday, Gentle Reader, which means nothing at all to an academic and writer.  Two whole days in which to write, get caught up on grading and class prep, finish articles, etc. etc. ad nauseam.  Yes, yes.  Whine whine.  Let’s talk about the pretty.

I like to give myself challenges, especially during the Lenten season, and as I’ve given up Facebook (the horrors!), I need to talk to people somehow.  I decided, why not Fashionable Fridays?  Why not discuss the history of certain articles of clothing?  I am so very filled with this useless knowledge, after all.

So then, the crinoline.  Named for the horsehair it was originally made out of, of course it was French in origin.  Which meant for the English, equivalent to scandal and decadence (see above re: the horror!).  The crinoline actually offered freer movement for women, unburdening them of the mountains of petticoats the 1830s and 1840s required (the best era of clothing for women?  the 1810s.  But that’s another Friday).

Women who wore them were called crinoline “monsters.”  The cages were accused of pushing children into fires and exposing women to all sorts of elements, both literal and figurative, as evidenced above.  Some tracts even warned of the dangers of being… STRUCK BY LIGHTNING!!! because of wearing a crinoline.

There is nothing new in this world, Gentle Reader.  Let us never forget that at all.

What’s your favorite historical fashion?  What would you like to see discussed on these Friday forays?


Like what you’ve read?  Visit my website: The Life and Times of the Postmodern Bluestocking


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