Today is Ask A Curator Day! In this spirit, the E&T Division curator and staff will participate by answering questions (as best we can!) about our collections here at the Museum of Texas Tech University.
To get things started, the images below display a corset and bustle hoop form dating from the 1880’s. Because these items are no longer worn in modern fashion, they are objects of curiosity that many have never seen before.
Although the petticoats would go over the wire hoops, this is how these items would be worn together. The corset creates and keeps a small waisted, hourglass form that was fashionable. The bustle hoops buckle at the waist, and support a skirt with its shape; flat in the front, bustled at the back, and flared at the bottom.
The corset is tightened and tied in the back, but clasps in the front to easily dress. The small hook shown above hooked over the petticoat waist to prevent it from riding up.
This bustle form was worn under a brown dress made for Ms. Rhoda Shields when she was 16 years old, around 1884. Sadly, she later died three weeks apart from her sister (Mrs. Sophronia Shields Rogers) during an epidemic.
Please leave your comments about these objects, or any other inquiries about our collections!