Introduced circa 1470 in Castile (now in Spain) a Hoop skirt called the farthingale. The skirt was of heavy material with wooden (later whalebone) hoops inserted to give the bell-like shape. It is said that the inventor was Joana, wife of King Henry IV, who was hiding an illegitimate pregnancy (so they say).
Joana, wife of King Henry IV
Castile (now in Spain)
- Farthingale – Wikipedia
A farthingale is any of several structures used under Western European women’s clothing in the 16th and 17th centuries to support the skirts in the desired shape. It originated in Spain.
- History of the Spanish Farthingale – Elizabethan Costuming Page
n Tudor and Elizabethan times, The Spanish Farthingale was a bell-shaped hoopskirt worn under the skirts of well-to-do women. It played an important part in shaping the fashionable sillhouete in England, from the 1530s until the 1580s.
- Farthingales – Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear …
Though farthingales were rarely seen, they were the item most responsible for the various distinctive shapes of women’s skirts in the sixteenth century and beyond.
- farthingale | clothing | Britannica.com
Farthingale, underskirt expanded by a series of circular hoops that increase in diameter from the waist down to the hem and are sewn into the underskirt to make it rigid.
- History of Women’s Hooped Petticoats | History of Fashion
One wonders if women who lived during the 16th to 19th centuries were enslaved by the dictates of fashion, or if they consciously selected to conceal their femininity under layers upon layers of uncomfortable garments constructed out of whalebone, wood, and metal.