Bustles avaBustles were popular women’s undergarments in the mid and late 19th century. Thousands of ladies around the world – and especially in Europe, America, and European colonies – wore an assortment of bustles with their dresses. We’d like to show you some of the most elaborate and cute bustle cages from a museum collection. They differed in size, construction, shape, material, price, etc, but every example is a wonderful underwear piece. 19Th-century women couldn’t do a buttock lift, insert butt implants, or even wear spanks, so they used the means that were available for them, which were bustle cages.

These bustles are from The Met Museum

A bustle cage is a specific undergarment, a padded construction that is worn under a skirt to add some fullness at the back. Most bustles were attached to the body only at the waist so that a lady could lift it or put a bit to the side and sit down.

Bustles came into fashion after the hoop skirts came out of trend. Unlike the hoop skirts that added volume to a skirt all over, bustles add only to the buttock area. They quickly became the vogue, so every fashionista, every middle-class and high-class lady had a bustle or even an array of bustles.

 

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

 

Of course, fashion periodically changed, so there were large and small bustle cages, more and less rigid frames, simpler and more complicated constructions, and so on. There existed bustle cages made from metal wire, whalebone, cane, rattan, horsehair, etc. Almost always, the frame was covered with fabric to protect the body and clothes from sharp parts.

The variety of bustles impresses even the most demanding fashionista. That’s why we can enjoy comparing various bustles. So, let’s do just that.

 

Bright red cotton bustle from the 1870s

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

 

 

Early bustle. American simple circular bustle made from cotton, the 18th century

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

 

 

American bustle of interesting shape, the 1880s. It is made from cane and cotton cloth

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

 

 

Intricate bustle from the 1880s made from metal and lace-trimmed cotton fabric

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

 

 

This bustle with lovely lace trim is curious because such undergarments as bustles were supposed to be always hidden from the eye, but in the 19th century, underwear turned into luxury rather than strictly functional items.

 

Lovely and rather modern-looking European bustle from the 1880s. It looks like a short flounced skirt from the back

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

 

 

Elaborate American bustle from 1882. It is made from a steel frame covered with cotton

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

 

 

American bustle from 1875-1878 made from a metal frame and linen

High-tech bustles of the 19th century

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