Croquet became wildly popular amongst middle class women during the 1860s, partly because it was a relatively unstrenuous sport, and partly because it could be played with mixed partners. However the sport was hampered by the heavy, full skirts and the crinolines worn underneath, so many women took to looping up their skirts to prevent soiling them or brushing against the balls. The exposed petticoats developed tabs to button up the skirts and increasingly bold and decorative hems. In 1864, one player advised, "the dress should be looped up, or not only will it spoil many a good stroke, but with its sweeping train will probably disturb the position of some of the balls". Similar tabs and contrasting bold decoration was popular for walking dresses in the 1860s and 70s as seen in the outfit shown below.
This lively croquet outfit includes a wide striped full woollen skirt with bold black and red trim and black trefoil tabs which feature integral buttonholes that could be used to button to a contrasting overskirt. The skirt is worn with a scarlet Garibaldi jacket, loose enough to allow the croquet player to swing with confidence, and very similar to a World of Fashion plate of August 1866 (see below) . These jackets or blouses were named after the hero of the Italian independence movement in 1860, whose adherents wore shirts in a similar bright scarlet.
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