Costume and Textiles
Woman's Hoop SkirtMade in Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States, North and Central America
Made by the Bridgeport Skirt Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Cotton-covered spring steel hoops; cotton tapes; leather front bindings; tinned steel buckle and fasteners; copper alloy fasteners
* Costume and Textiles Study Gallery, Perelman Building, second floor
1950-59-7Gift of Mrs. James Mapes Dodge, 1950
LabelThis sizable hoop skirt has a circumference of 114 inches; it is, nevertheless, thirty inches smaller than the most exaggerated examples of the era. This hoop's flaring shape, fashionable in the mid-1860s, has a "Y" of tapes in back, and its thirty spring steel hoops are closely spaced to give the overskirt a smooth line. Hoop skirts weighed anywhere from eight to twenty-four ounces (this one is about twenty ounces) and were therefore much lighter than a plethora of starched cotton or crinoline petticoats. In 1859, Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine blamed seven thick underskirts worn in July for putting a woman into "a languid state of health that was incurable," and claimed that hoops now protected even the foolish from this sorry fate.
* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.