Yesteryear: The Bustle

Here I begin a new series. I welcome contributions by my fellow Egotists, and suggestions from you, dear reader.
The purpose of this series is not to indulge in nostalgia, which is pointless, but merely to point out that there is room to admire some of the overlooked items of the past.

We are taken up with progress. As a society, we look onward, forward and outward so often that we only look back to bemoan the passage of Time and the nostalgic superimpositions of our idealized wistful wish-society. Rarely do we look backward with a cold, appraising eye that sees not only the Worst (which pushes us onwards, forwards and outwards) but also the Real Best.

Right up front, let me acknowledge some Real Progress. Things that have next to no downsides that, without which, life would be much more difficult.

Toilet paper
Antibiotics
Indoor plumbing
Interstate highways

Next to nothing wrong with these things! Many other inventions, such as telephones, computers and dentists have either made life too different to compare or haven’t changed with the times enough for me to like them any better.

However, we are wrong to glorify the past for it’s superior manners, or idyllic childhoods, or Moral Standards. There was as much wrong with the world then as there is now. Maybe Sin moved slower because heists were planned by extensive, handwritten correspondence. But bad people, hard lives, and just plain dirty things were as common then as now. That’s the problem with nostalgia. If you want a very adorable evening of entertaining proof, just watch Midnight in Paris.

Now that we have some kind of meandering idea that I’m not here to be nostalgic or futuristic, let’s take a look at some very real benefits to certain innovations of the past. These things should never have been forgotten or laid aside. As example number one, I present to you the Bustle.

What could be more perfect a garment than one which concealed and also amplified and decorated the most difficult and notorious portion of posterior grief? Who could know how large or small the location may be, since everyone was running around with a massive, ruffled, sticky-outy flounce of fabric? A genius invented bustles.

The front silhouette was feminine and shapely. It could be bolstered by an insane corset, or a mild one. There are records of both. It didn’t have to be torture and torment and atrophied abdominals. But the front was a definitely feminine look that could be tailored to suit any figure out there. None of this, “we sit the wrinkles out” or “that doesn’t flatter my {adjective of deprecation} shoulders/tum-tum/hip region.” Nope, the front would work for anyone.

And the rear… wicked grin… yes, you’d get the hilarious effect of “No one could possibly be that gigantic”. Which hopefully is true. But even if it’s not true, even if somehow that were in fact..fact… you’d look just as good. Here is my favorite example. The bustle I covet. The be-all and end-all in fashion, as I would wear it, if I wouldn’t look ridiculous. I leave you with a plea. If anyone knows anyone who knows anyone at Dior or Armani, or Versace or anyone anywhere with a hand in fashion. I BEG YOU. Bring me back the bustle.

Ma'am, your stolen roses clash with your fabulous bustle.

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6 thoughts on “Yesteryear: The Bustle

  1. Let’s see… the coat is probably 8 yards of wool and the bustle dress about 12 yards of silk… at today’s prices, this outfit would be apx. 800Dollars…. that is almost a year of income from one student. could be worth it! but if you make the hat…. you’ll be saving a lot!

  2. “There was as much wrong with the world then as there is now.” yes, yes, and yes.

    You make a good argument for the bustle. Considering the size of my anterior shelf, it could be a good balance. 😛 Steampunk might be the best bet for a bustle revival. 😉

    • I came *this* close to a steampunk con before it became wholly impracticable with my schedule. Terpsichore and I should really do that sometime.
      “Anterior Shelf” love your term. I generally sniff and remark on the posterior portion… 🙂

      • Steampunk is fascinating.

        It seemed appropriate. I’ve got ample of each, but the anterior one gives me far more trouble. At least the posterior one’s not always in my way! If I could change one thing about my body, it would be to have an easier figure to live in. 😛

  3. Excellent commentary. I love older fashions. The style–so much style!–and some function, too. Sometimes, I feel like there’s a “nothing too much” mentality today that gets in the way.

    Fancy hats? Yes, please. I just saw a young man wearing a derby–mid-twenties, I’d say, walking out of a Catholic church with his wife.

    And it’s not as though we today don’t reveal our envy of yesterday’s fashions in film and television. Mad Men, Downtown Abbey, Inception (the fact of wearing suits, I mean, in this case, not the particular cut of them)…

    And let’s not forget Stanton Parish from SyFy’s one good series, Alphas!

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