Story: Clothes

Woman wearing a crinoline dress, 1860

Woman wearing a crinoline dress, 1860

The crinoline, a flexible metal cage worn under a dress to give it a bell-shape, is probably the most recognisible and well-known design feature of mid-19th-century women's clothing. This woman is wearing a dress supported by a crinoline, which accentuates her slim, corseted waist. The metal crinoline was flexible and, depending on the size, allowed wearers to move about and sit without too much difficulty, though probably not entirely comfortably. 

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, William James Harding Collection (PAColl-3042)
Reference: 1/4-007146-G
Photograph by William James Harding

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Fiona McKergow, 'Clothes - Women’s clothes', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 November 2021)

Story by Fiona McKergow, published 5 Sep 2013