Woman's Hoop Skirt
Made by the Bridgeport Skirt Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut
This 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.