Description

During the 1850s the fashion for huge skirts for women, supported by hoops and crinolines, grew. Uncomfortable and impractical, they made simply moving around or sitting down extremely difficult. 

This broadside (a cheaply-produced, mass-printed text on a large single sheet of paper, this example costing the modest sum of one penny) is a satire, a piece of mock-legislation banning these ‘dangerous and unbecoming’ garments which are ‘blocking up the public streets’. 

As with many good hoaxes, it begins convincingly, but ends up so exaggerated (punishing miscreant crinoline-wearers by recording their gossip) that it’s clearly in jest. 

Crinolines remained in fashion for several years, but as women began to take a more active role in society in the late 1800s and early 1900s – both politically and physically – the suffocatingly vast skirts were replaced by more practical alternatives.

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