1860 Dress

Date: ca. 1860 - Material: Silk taffeta - Accession: 2001.191.1.034

By the early 1860s, women’s skirts reached their greatest width achieved with “caged crinolines” (hoop skirts). Invented in 1856, caged crinolines were at first viewed as a relief to women because it freed them from wearing multiple, heavy petticoats to gain a fashionable width.

In 1857, The Ottawa Free Trader newspaper of Ottawa, Illinois, wrote: “Hoops are an abominable fashion, but neither reason nor ridicule will cause women to discard them. - Females like buffaloes, follow their leaders, the one into the absurd, and the other into the quagmire.”

Donated to the University of Illinois Bevier Historic Costume and Textile Collection by Mary C. McLellon. Property transfer to the Illinois State Museum, 2001.