It’s funny how some of us xoJaners are on opposite ends of the country from each other, but we somehow always end up on the same wavelength. Lots of times when I am working on something, my little style spirit twin Lesley
is crushing on the same idea. So I laughed pretty hard when she recently posted this pic of her adorable owl dress with a proper petticoat peeking out from underneath it:
Because I had just been planning to wear my favorite fluffy petticoated skirt of all time to work that very day.
I love wearing the skirt I have on in that photo. It makes me want to turn on my heel and flounce away from any and every conversation I have, just so my skirt can swirl up around me as I march away.
For the purposes of this post, I am going to use the terms petticoat and crinoline interchangeably. (Although in my opinion, a petticoat is technically cotton and a crinoline usually made from tulle netting or chiffon.)
Petticoats were tres fashionable in the Victorian era. Back then, "full-bodied" was associated with health and wealth, while "skinny" was associated with poverty and sickness. (Quite honestly, it should still be the same way today!) The petticoat look pretty much died in the late 19th century, only to be revived with a vengeance in the 1940's when Christian Dior presented his famous "New Look.
Christian Dior's "New Look", Paris 1947.
Petticoats (or crinolines, as my grandma always called them) really solidified their place in the fashion vernacular with the approximately 75 million amazingly fluffy prom dresses sold to teenaged girls in the 1950s. (For reference, see: Grease
or Back To The Future
Fluffiness is next to Godliness in my book. I am always trying to suggest petticoats under skirts to actresses, and they always balk at the idea. I am dead sure that it’s because they are afraid it will make them look bigger.
I think it’s quite the opposite -- a big ol' petticoat hides a multitude of imperfections and makes you look like an adorable cupcake. I realize cupcakes are so passe but I still love them. Nothing camouflages big hips like layers of gathered underskirts or petticoats. It's the most brilliant eye-fooler there is.
I forgot this dumb movie even existed until I took a break from writing this to walk my dogs on Sunset Blvd and happened upon it being screened in the park for free! I also totally forgot that Jeff Goldblum was actually kind of hot back in the day.
The classic chiffon crinoline gets a serious dash of class when run up in beautifully dyed pure cotton poplin.
I just remembered an awesome taffeta petticoat I had as a little kid, and am now adding one to my mental shopping list. Taffetta is soooo the way to go if you want to swan into a room with pizzazz. It makes a ridiculously satisfying, million dollar swishing sound when you walk. (So very Honey Boo Boo
American Apparel makes a lovely simple petticoat slip skirt
that works beautifully on it's own or under a dress:
A petticoat is obviously an insanely useful tool to add a few inches to skirts and dresses that are technically too short to wear on their own. Plus it just infuses a giant flirtatious flounce into whatever you're wearing -- especially under button-front dresses.
My favorite petticoats are always the ones made out of lace. I swear I walk differently when I'm wearing a frilly lace petticoat under my skirt. I sashay.
I think the very best petticoats and crinolines are almost certainly vintage ones, and the most bang for your buck can be found on Etsy
. I also sometimes Google "Square Dancing Petticoats" to find all sorts of crazy beautiful ones.
If you need yet another reason to wantonly cram a petticoat under any skirt that you can fit one this fall, consider this: Wearing a petticoat under your skirt in the winter is an easy way to add an extra layer that helps to keep you warm.
I always used to save my lace crinolines for special occasions, but now I just wear them in the middle of the day on a Tuesday as I run my errands. Life is way too short to 'save' your good clothes -- so wear 'em if you got 'em.