A large derriere was in fashion during the Victorian era. The early bustle took a simple form of a padded roll worn around the waist which originally held up the skirt off the ground. When worn, the bustle’s effect was completed with layered fabric, bows, trains, and tassels on the outer garment. In the late Victorian period, the bustle acquired a more pronounced backward pouf, reflecting one’s high status. Bustles were created out of coiled springs or horsehair bags held in place around the waist. Housework would have been impossible when wearing a 2-foot deep wire garment.
The above pictures show the differences thanks to the White River Museum. Mrs. Burke is in white and was high society. Her husband opened the Burke Museum near the UW in Seattle.