What Size Hoop Do I Need?
The answer to this question depends on how tall you are, the type of garment you are going to be wearing, your persona, and your personal preference. The bands or bones provide the shape of the skirt and give support to the dresses. The heavier your skirts are the more bones you will require. The flounces help to hide the bones and smooth the look of the skirt. If you have a flounced hoopskirt you will not require as many petticoats.
There are several “standard” sizes for hoop skirts as well as some “standard” designs.
Narrow Hoop with or without flounce: These usually run from 70 – 100”. Good for day-wear, under basic work/ camp dresses, and in casual settings. Provide the wearer with a more tailored, stylized look, a wonderful ease of movement, and are good in confined areas. Sometimes referred to as a “Junior Hoop” as this is the first size for young girls and their first long dresses. The hoop can have one, two or three bands.
Regular Hoop with or without flounce: These usually run from 110-125”. The most common hoop size. This is my favorite as it allows for ease of movement in and around, gives a pleasant shape and yet is not too large to be troublesome. The hoop can have three of four bands. Four bones provide adequate support for most dresses.
135- 140” Hoop with or without flounces: This hoop is used by taller women and those of us who are shorter for our more formal attire. Usually 5 or 6 bands.
Large Hoops with or without flounces: These usually run 150-160”. Used for an “elegant impression” and when you really want to make a statement. Provide the wearer with an illusion of wealth and privilege. Most of the larger hoops usually have six bands.
Child’s Hoop: These are smaller versions of regular hoopskirt. They are meant to fall to the knee and provide the fluff and puff that girl’s desire. The hoop can have one, two or three bands with the largest band measuring up to 70”.
The standard “Rule of Thumb” is that your hoop should be no more than 60-80% of your height multiplied by
PI (3.14159). It is said that Queen Victoria and her Court used 75% and in France the designer Worth used up to 80%. However in the United States, with all things scarce during the War, a smaller hoop was more common. It was considered “showy” if your hoop was extremely large. Here is a chart of “suggested hoops”.