A hoop skirt, also sometimes known as a crinoline, is a type of undergarment worn by women in the mid-19th century to create a full and wide silhouette for their dresses without being weighed down by multiple layers of crinolines and petticoats.
The hoop skirt is made of a cage-like structure, often made of metal or whalebone, that is worn around the waist and extends outwards to support the dress. They were worn to create a bell-like shape, which was fashionable during that time. Hoop skirts became popular in the 1850s and were worn by women for several decades. They had begun to grow out of fashion in the east while Laura was still wearing them, as fashion on the prairies tended to be more out of date in comparison to cities like New York or Boston, where fashion trends were more easily accessible.