Crinolinemania: The Fashion Trend that’s Killed Thousands of Women

Crinoline became a hit in the fashion scene during the 1800s and is still popular today, though mainly for wedding dresses.

The word “crin” refers to stiff horse hair and and “oline” refers to linen. Together, they make up the very combustible material called crinoline, which is not to be confused with the cage it sits upon.

The large cage of a skirt and the stiff crinoline that covered it soon became a huge trend in the mid-1800s, after it was introduced to the public. These crinoline covered cage-skirts became so popular that magazines referred to the trend as “Crinolinemania.” Most of us are familiar with the extravagant, if not excessive, look.

As many as 3,000 skirts were made daily in factories. Even little girls wore them.crinoline4

The problem with the fashion craze was (and is) that the material is very flammable. From the late 1850s to the late 1860s, around 3,000 women died in crinoline fires. Because the skirt took up so much space, it was hard to control what touched it. Many a woman walked past a fireplace and before she was able to do anything to stop it, the skirt went up in flames. Other women (also wearing crinoline) could never offer help or else they’d, too, catch fire.

Image being stuck in an inferno of a dress!

Soon after word spread about the flammable nature of the fashion item, the crinoline cage was replaced with the bustle. But the popularity of the fabric never went away.

Today, you are likely to find crinoline skirts in many wedding dress shops. There is really nothing like it if you’re looking to have a full skirt and a tight bodice.

If you or someone you know plans to wear such a dress on that very important day, make sure to keep her away from fireplaces, lit cigarettes and anything else that may set it alight.

Stay safe and fabulous.