Why Do Women Wear Bustles? (9 Reasons Why)

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Yasmin Fisher

Yasmin Fisher is a fashion-loving shopaholic who has spent the last 10 years in customer service. She loves finding great deals, and thrifting is one of her favorite weekend activities.

Bustles are the direct descendants of the crinoline, which was found to be uncomfortable, hard to maneuver around in, and extremely dangerous.

The bustle was designed in the 1860s to take the place of the crinoline, which they did. They took off from that point and became the way to wear your dress, but why did women wear bustles?

Why Do Women Wear Bustles?

1. Bustle Was The Solution To The Crinoline

The crinoline was a padded cage that went around the waist, getting bigger all the way around the bottom of the dress. It created the Cinderella look.

Women had difficulty walking in these dresses because they were so big. Many candles were knocked over, starting fires everywhere they went.

The bustle was the solution to this problem. It created a way for the dress to be extended from behind, making it more of a controllable fashion.

2. Bustles Added Large Skirt Bottoms

The bustle did not add as much of a round bottom to the dress as the crinoline did, but it still achieved the purpose of the expansion.

A long, full dress with no bustle would easily drag on the ground. Since many of the areas that women had to walk were along dirt roads, the edges could get caked with mud and horse droppings.

Not a good way to take care of the dress. They could always grab ahold of the skirt and lift it up to pass through the muck, but a bustle made it so much easier.

3. Bustles Hold Up The Back Of Long Dresses

Long dresses used to be the only way women wore clothes. It was the way of life for women of all social statuses. The bigger the dress, the more money that they had.

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This does not just mean outward from behind, either. Long flowing dresses were not as common as the basic bustle dress, but the rich and famous women loved to show them off.

Dresses that flowed out the back had larger bustles that would help lift them off the ground, allowing the bottom of the dress to flow behind as they walked.

4. Bustles Add Fullness To The Rear

Throughout the centuries, there has been one truth that holds above all. Men and women have always been attracted to an ample backside.

The bustle took the honor of allowing women to wear a big fluffy dress with a backside as big and round as they could afford. A more significant bum roll meant they were higher on the social ladder.

It may seem like a strange way for women to show off that they had money, but when you think about it, the idea is still the same today. Women wear name-brand clothes to show social status.

5. Bustles Add More To The Hourglass

Bustles Add More To The Hourglass

An hourglass figure of a person has always been something that has been sought after by women for generations. The thinner the waist and broader the hips, the better off the woman was.

Not because of a person’s sexual attraction, either. Wide hips are good for childbirth, so men would automatically be attracted to a woman with the perfect hourglass figure.

Bustles made that appearance easier because they added cushion on the rear, taking the eyes away from the bustline and more towards the entire figure of the woman. The hourglass figure.

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6. Bustles Held The Dress Away From The Legs

Wearing a long dress can be very dangerous, especially when you are in a hurry and not paying attention to where you are stepping.

Bustles were designed in such a way as to move the dress out and away from the body, towards the back, and away from the legs. More importantly, away from the feet.

It was hard to see around all the fluff and bows, so the dress had to be away from the shoes, or it was a tripping accident waiting to happen.

7. Bustles Expands the Skirt Below The Wasit

A slim waist is what all women have tried to achieve throughout the years. It has been shown that this is a false social push that women have had to contend with for some time.

A bustle will sit on the hips, making the dress flare outward. That means your butt will look more round and full, while your waist will look trim and attractive.

It plays into the social expectation of a woman having an hourglass figure. When combined with a corset, the body would resemble what was considered to be the perfect female body.

8. The Bustle Of The Wedding Dress Holds The Train

Every young woman dreams about someday wearing a big, flowing wedding dress on their special day. Streaming behind them as they walk down the aisle.

It is possible to get this effect without using a bustle, but for the most part, it is a much better idea to have one under the wedding dress.

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This will help the train poof out from behind you, allowing it to flow without bunching up. Hopefully, you still have someone helping to hold it up if it is incredibly long, just for safety and cleanliness.

9. Industrial Revolution Brought About Technological Fashion Trends

During the big push for industrial advancements, businesses were not the only things that gained from all the new technology.

Women’s fashion came into a new era, which was the time of the bustle. Advancements gave clothing designers a way to improve the look of the butt.

The bustle was improved to be safe (moving away from the crinoline) to a more comfortable foundation that was stiff enough to hold the dress out from the body safely and efficiently.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why women wear dresses, why women wear skirts, and why wedding dresses are white.


Women from history have worn bustles for decades for numerous reasons. The main circumstance when they are worn today is for a wedding dress, play, or opera that brings back days gone by.

The bustle was a great advancement when you look back at the options that women had before them. It may not have been comfortable to wear or easy to sit in, but that is what was expected of a true lady.


  • Yasmin Fisher

    Yasmin Fisher is a fashion-loving shopaholic who has spent the last 10 years in customer service. She loves finding great deals, and thrifting is one of her favorite weekend activities.

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