During the Victorian era women, especially women who came from power and wealth often wore large and heavy skirts. These skirts would typically weigh around fourteen pounds, and consisted of many layers of different skirts. It was in this way that women faced quite an impractical daily struggle, simply when it came to walking down the street.
Many women found the skirts to be a form of oppression at times. Therefore, many fashion innovations were introduced in combat some of the skirt-related issues.
The weight of the multiple skirts was minimised with the introduction of crinoline. This is a beehive frame that supported the skirt from underneath. It was utilised, thus making the multiple petticoats redundant.
Often it was seen to be extremely distasteful for a lady’s skirt to be dirtied. Luckily for women at this time, the antique skirt lifter was introduced in 1846. The skirt lifter was a small clamp that was attached mid-way up the skirt, or even at the hem of the skirt, and then tied to the waist via a cord, chain or ribbon. They were typically silver plated or crafted out of brass. Women would pull on the chain to lift up the skirt, in order to steer clear of any staining. There was a catch to lock the grips in place. These catches were often decorated with motifs such as: hearts, fans, swirls, or animal related decorations. The Victorian skirt lifter meant that women were no longer required to hold their skirts.
The skirt lifter wasn’t just used for walking around, but also helped women take part in other activities such as dancing, riding, playing tennis, croquet, and even cycling.