The tradition of women dressing up as men on stage started in the 18th century. Male roles played by women were known as 'breeches parts'. With the increase in popularity of the ballerina in Romantic Ballet male dancers went out of fashion and women would often perform the male role. In the theatre Madame Vestris made her name playing the roles of boys and men in burlesques and operas. This was a period when women dressed modestly covering their legs with long dresses. To see a woman in short trousers and tights was considered particularly risqué and Madame Vestris was the sex symbol of the 1830s.