Petticoats—the undergarments that add shape to a woman’s skirt or dress—have been around for at least five hundred years. They’re currently out of mainstream fashion, but a petticoat is a wonderful addition to an woman’s wardrobe that adds a touch of elegance and fun.
- Petticoats are modest. Wear a petticoat under a thin skirt the way you would a slip. The weight and bulk of a petticoat is also a great way to keep your skirt down in windy weather.
- Petticoats are unique. Petticoats have been out of the mainstream since the 1960s—except in bridal fashion. Stand out from the crowd with a distinctive vintage look.
- Petticoats are flattering. Petticoats were fashionable for many centuries because they make the wearers’ waists look trim. They also add a touch of thoughtfulness to even casual outfits.
- Petticoats are a good investment. Adding a petticoat and a fun ribbon around the waist makes even thrift-store dresses look chic. The one-time purchase of a petticoat has saved me a lot of money by expanding wardrobe choices from recycled clothes.
- Petticoats are fun! There isn’t anything quite like the feeling of swishing petticoats under your favorite skirt or dress. It just makes everything during the day a little more exciting.
If you’d like to purchase a petticoat of your own, you should keep a few things in mind:
Assess your wardrobe. Consider what dresses or skirts you already own that would look nice with a petticoat. It probably isn’t worth buying a petticoat for only one dress or skirt.
- Choose the right length. Petticoats should be about the same length as your skirts. An elastic waistband adds a few inches of wiggle room, but you’ll need a knee-length, calf-length, or ankle-length petticoat, depending on the length of the skirts with which you’ll be wearing it.
- Stick with natural materials. Look for petticoats made with silk, cotton or, in the winter, flannel fabrics. Tulle or mesh fabric will chafe your legs, so you’ll also want to wear a thin, silk slip underneath. Comfort is key!
- Invest in quality. Costume petticoats are easy to find, but they look and feel cheap and won’t stand up to repeated wear. If you want to commit to adding a petticoat to your wardrobe, make sure it is a garment that will last.