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1830, from French crinoline "hair cloth" (19c.), from Italian crinolino, from crino "horsehair" (from Latin crinis "hair") + lino "flax, thread," from Latin linum (see linen). So called from the warp and woof fibers of the original mixture.
originally, a petticoat made of horsehair fabric, of the late 1840s, taking its name from the French word crin ("horsehair"). It was worn with whalebone stays and multiple other petticoats and flounces. In 1856, horsehair and whalebone were replaced by a light frame of metal spring hoops. The wide, bell-shaped skirt contrasted with tiny corseted waists. In the late 1850s and early 1860s, the cage crinoline that evolved became so popular that it was worn by ladies' maids and factory girls as well as by the rich. From the dome shape of the 1850s, the crinoline was altered to a pyramid in the 1860s, and about 1865 it became almost flat in front. Smaller "walking" skirts were devised, and by 1868 the crinolette was hooped only at the back and served as a bustle. The crinoline was generally out of fashion by 1878. See also farthingale; hoop skirt.