First a little more info on bustles, what they are, their purpose, etc.
A bustle is basically the way the volume of the skirt is supported in the back, specifically being draped in a way that the skirt does not lose shape, drape, or volume while standing, sitting or dancing. The bustle actually refers to the way the skirt is pinned from underneath.
Bustles used to be the norm in dressing. Nowadays they are reserved almost exclusively for wedding gowns. As you can imagine, this is very important in wedding gowns because most of them are voluminous and have trains. Some gowns even incorporate a bustled design with added train that should be bustled additionally as well.
Almost every weddings gown and essentially ALL wedding gowns with trains need to be bustled. A train looks lovely floating up and down the aisle since those are straight trajectories that don't demand much movement. However once the parts of the wedding that require minimal movement are over, a dragging train becomes an unsightly and annoying hassle, and even a hazard for you, your guests, and your groom.
The vast majority of trains are actually designed to be bustled nicely and quickly. No matter what you read or what you are told, no train is designed to simply be draped over your arm or looped around your wrist by an attached cord. The attached cord on most trains, always plain and discreetly sewn on the outside visible part of the train, is actually only there to facilitate hanging the dress on a hanger in such a way that the train does not hang down and get dirty or wrinkled.
A bride should never attempt to "save money" by skipping the bustle alteration.
I will hop off my bustle soap box now and we can get on to our visual examples of bustled skirts!
This Eden gown started it all, with its bubbly tiered bustle. I can't tell if the last tier has a bubble hem at the back or if it is just the photo styling, but if it is a bubble hem I have to say brava for fully committing to the bubble tier theme. To actually bustle in the train I imagine it would simply be tucked in to the last tier to the proper length.
|Credits, above and below: Eden Bridals Gold Label collection, style no. GL004.|
This Benjamin Roberts gown is a shorty and it has an interesting thing going with the back of the skirt. I cant quite describe it as a bustle, but I don't want to rule it out either.
|Credits: Benjamin Roberts, style no. 5377.|
Benjamin Roberts does bustles on short styles so well because here is another.
This one with a stunning corset (which is kind of unique in shorter length dresses), and with a gathered, cascading bustle.
|Credits: Benjamin Roberts, style no. 5374.|
This satin gown by Demetrios is another great example of a bubble hem gown with bustled tiers.
|Credits: Demetrios, Sposabella collection, style no. 4314.|
And finally a modified mermaid Demetrios gown with a tiered bubble bustle skirt.
|Credits: Demetrios, Sposabella collection, style no. 4309.|