In the 1880s, the bustle made a comeback. Last seen in the previous decade, the bustle of the early-to-mid 1870s supported puffs and swags of fabric, creating a rounded fullness which often ended with a short train. Though exaggerated, this silhouette still had a certain softness. When the bustle returned in the 1880s it was more angular, extending almost at a right angle from the waist. This 1885-88 blue silk afternoon gown demonstrates the rigid shape of the 1880s bustle silhouette.
Given the shape and size of the 1880s bustle, you'd think it was supported by a large, heavy apparatus. Actually, the 1880s bustle was usually quite small. This c. 1885 bustle is about 6 1/2 inches wide and 13 inches long. Made of metal coils covered with tan cotton and secured at the waist with a twill ribbon and metal prong buckle, this oddly shaped device was used to create the angular 1880s bustle silhouette.