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Hoop Skirt: Bradley's "Patent Duplex Elliptic Spring Skirt"

c. 1867-1868
Made by Wests' Bradley & Cary, New York

J. W. Bradley's hoop skirts featured double (or duplex) springs that were said to give flexibility and strength, and allowed the hoop to be compressed in crowded spaces. They were widely advertised as "the lightest, most desirable, comfortable, and economical skirt ever made."

This hoop, part of a trousseau worn in Pittsburgh in 1868, has several stamps on the waistband that reiterate its fashion features: "Quaker Gore" refers to the hoop's modest size and tapering shape; "Empress Reception" alludes to the stylish Empress Eugénie of France, and indicates that the elliptical bottom hoops will support the trained skirt imperative for formal reception dresses as well as for visiting or evening ensembles.

Object Details

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