Civil War Jubilee prints from my Moda repro collection.
In looking at costume during the 1850-70 period to see how dress prints reproduced in this line were used, I found many portraits with the classic Civil War silhouette of a bell-shaped skirt supported by a cage crinoline.
Because dress silhouette is a good clue to the date of a photo I read a little about the phenomenon of the hoop skirt or cage crinoline
a much-ridiculed fashion.
The fashion for wide, round skirts developed in the 1850s. Steel hoops were patented mid-decade as a response to the need for functional support for a nonfunctional look.
Empress Eugenie with husband
Napoleon III of France
Some credit the Empress Eugenie with it's invention, although this is not true. She and the royalty of the era wore exaggerated wide skirts and did much to make them a fashion necessity.
Queen Victoria with her bell-shaped daughters
about 1861, by
John Jabez Edwin Mayall,
National Portrait Gallery
The English royal family were difficult to gather into one photograph because Queen Victoria and her many daughters wore them.
Queen Victoria's mother,
The Duchess of Kent.
The fashion for bell-shaped skirts
was probably at its most extreme about 1860, the year
before the Duchess died.
Queen Victoria's daughter-in-law Alexandra
at her engagement to the Prince of Wales, 1862
The point of all this width was to set the rich aristocrat above the woman who had to work,
whether the work was housework, child care or any other practical labor.
Humorists loved to make fun of the crinoline.
Here is a series of stereo-card photos
showing preparations for an evening out.
The pictures are French.
The problem with the cage crinoline was that
it became an inexpensive manufactured item
available to any woman who had fashionable inclinations.
The upper classes developed a new silhouette about 1863,
a more elliptical silhouette, narrower at the sides, larger in back.
1868 Fashion Plate
So when you see the exaggerated round skirt, think about 1856 to 1865...more or less.
Carlotta and Maximilian
in 1857 before taking over the
short-lived Mexican empire.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has quite a few cage crinolines in its costume collection: