Pre-Hoop Era 1840-1855

The Victorian Era was the age when The English were under the reign of Queen Victoria. Victorian Age has always been immensely popular about fashion and clothing. The women were fond of wearing stunning and spectacular dresses and designs.

One such clothing form was ‘The Bustle Dresses’.

For the ease of understanding and demarcation, The Victorian Era has been divided into stages.

The first Era is the Pre-Hoop Era (1840-1855)

In the 1840s, the full skirts were supported by vast layers of petticoats. These were worn and loved by women. It made the waist appear thinner and broadened at the tip.

The kind of Materials used

These petticoats were made up of horsehair. They were made thick and stiff by using cane and padding. In fact, it had many layers of padding and frill to give a fuller and thicker look.

‘The bustle dress’ in The Pre-Hoop Era was further divided into many kinds:

1840-Day dress and 1841- LA Mode Illustre

Victorian Dressing- Bustle Dress

The Bustle Dress- In the Pre-Hoop Era

1841- LA Mode Illustre Day Dresses

The natural waist of the dress could be longer with front and back points. The dresses were designed in such a way that they were broad at the shoulders and neckline. They fitted near the waist and broadened near the bottom. This gave a broad and full look to the skirt.

High On Popularity

The Bustle dresses were popular because they helped to make the figures look beautiful and slim at the waist area.


The Bustle Day Dresses -1841
La Mode Illustre- Day Dresses

The sleeves of the day dresses were narrow and the shoulder line of the dress ended below the natural shoulder line. This made the dress a bit revealing. It also fixed the arm down.

Bustle Dresses -La Mode -Day Dresses 1841
Bustle Dresses -La Mode -Day Dresses 1841

These bustle dresses looked extraordinarily pretty. They came in different colors and materials.

Materials Used

The most sought after were the ones with comfortable fabrics like silk, satin, muslin, cotton, etc.


Women chose to wear bustle gowns for weddings and got them custom made. Many women preferred to make Bustle dresses for parties and weddings themselves. Victorian women were very high on fashion and style. They led fashionable lives and enjoyed their freedom in the sense of fashion and clothing.

Queen Victoria- Promoted Fashion and Style

The high fashion of the age was a result of the reign of Queen Victoria– who was herself a fashionable and enterprising woman.

1841- Fashion Plate

The Bustle Dresses were every Victorian Woman’s ultimate fashion choice. They loved wearing Bustle Gown for parties and day Ceremonies.

Bustle Party Plates- Victorian Fashion
Bustle Party Plates- Victorian Fashion

During the parties, most of the women could be seen wearing very fancy Bustle Dresses in vibrant hues and luxurious fabrics mostly silk and satins.

The Bustle Dresses-Pre-Hoop Era

1843- Evening Dress

These had plunging necklines and very frilly bottoms. They were mainly worn for balls and evening parties.

Victorian Bustle - Bustle Dresses-La Mode Illustre- evening parties -
Bustle Dresses-La Mode Illustre- evening parties
Women wearing evening dresses,
Bustle Dresses-La Mode Illustre- evening bustle gowns

1842- Godeys

These had plated flounce and had multi stripes. They were made with pleated ruffles.

Victorian Bustle Dresses- The Godey’s

The Godey Bustle Dresses were easy to create, provided the person had some fashion sense and knowledge about stitching, the kind of materials used and the laces which went with the materials chose.

These were further divided between Godey morning and Godey evening ‘Bustle Dresses and Gowns’…

1848- Godey Morning Dresses

Daytime Bustle Dresses and Godey Gowns

1848- Godey Evening Dresses

Bustle- Evening Gowns-Party wear
Evening Godey Vintage Bustle Gowns

1850 Evening Dresses

These were inextricably beautiful and ostentatious.

High-class aristocratic women wore these, high on fashion Victorian Fashion Evening Gowns to show-off. The ladies and their extravagant dresses and costumes were highly pompous in nature. These were popular from the early 1850s- late 1880s

1880 Victorian Evening Gowns- Bustle Dresses
1850-1880 Victorian Evening Gowns- Bustle Dresses

1850 Grahams

1850 Grahams – day time dresses: Daytime necklines could be more revealing and open than those of the later years.


The Bustle- 1850 Grahams - day dresses: Daytime necklines open
The Bustle- 1850 Grahams – day dresses: Daytime necklines open

The Bustle Dresses Represented Victorian Women and Victorian Fashion

They were the most fashionable clothing women preferred and were highly popular and worn extensively.

Constructing a Victorian Bustle Dress
Constructing a Victorian Bustle Dress