Petticoats: What Are They For and How Do I Wear Them?

Posted by Mrs Darling on

We all love a petticoat – indeed, our rainbow rail of them in the shop is a sight to behold.

Adding a petticoat to your outfit is often quite optional. But that lovely addition of soft, fluffy fun can instantly lift your spirits, and also seems to have the effect of charming other people who see your gorgeous style. Making people smile = awesome! 
(As a bonus, the shape a correctly-fitted petticoat creates automatically enhances the nipped-in waist area, just by filling out the skirt. Winner!)

There’s also the element of polishing an outfit with some good old-fashioned glamour that very much appeals to many ladies. Simply feeling that sashay of crinoline and net swirling around your legs as you walk can give you an instant poise that no amount of balancing books on your head could ever achieve. (And don’t worry; just because you’re exuding elegance and lady-like glamour, it doesn’t mean you’re therefore banned from balancing spoons on your nose at that wedding, or rolling around with a nice dog that you’ve just met.)

But not everyone is instantly sure of what to do with petticoats. Where should they sit? What length should you have? How should you care for them?

Most of our petticoats at VV are a 26” length petticoat that is designed to go underneath the 50s style swing skirts and dresses. These naturally sit just under the knee or thereabouts, and the petticoat should run the whole length of the skirt: wearing a short “dance” length petticoat will result in the fullest part stopping short of the length of the dress, meaning you get a few inches of quite sad-looking material hanging straight down, instead of like the glorious

The elastic waistband of the majority of our petticoats is intended to sit on your natural waist, and the fullness only begins from the hip down, giving that wonderful silhouette and swirl.

It’s certainly possible to adjust how you wear your petti to suit an individual dress: if you have a shorter length dress, and really want to wear your 26” bright pink petticoat underneath it, you can pin to your bra or slip. Equally, a couple of our dresses cut from original 50s patterns might sit a tiny bit longer than your other dresses, so you can shuffle the waistband down an inch or so.

One of our favourite tricks for really filling out the fullest circle dresses is to layer your petticoats. You can do this with the same colour, or even create a fabulous multi-colour effect. It’s quite a delight when you reveal flashes of unexpected colour with just a swish and a twirl on the dancefloor! Do take care to not over-fill your skirt though. Some skirts may seem quite full initially, but if you are a bit too enthusiastic with the fluff, you might end up with more of a balloon effect than a parasol: Leave a little space for dancing!

It’s personal choice as to whether you’d like a glimpse of petticoat peeking out from the hem of your dress. Some ladies like to have that real Rockabilly contrast effect, whilst others enjoy the secret volume boost of a demure 50s dress, when the petticoat is only really revealed as you twirl, or sit, or even flash a little preview. (Naturally the VV dolls would never dream of such outrageous behaviour…! )

Caring for petticoats is fairly straight-forwards: hopefully you’re not too likely to spill food or drink down them, but to freshen them up, a little steam works wonders.
If you have a hand-held steamer, that’s fabulous, but for the rest of us mere mortals, the old “hanging in the bathroom after a hot shower” trick is just as useful.
You can spot clean or even gently handwash the full petticoat if needs be. Do try and encourage the ruffles to hang down and un-crease when drying.

Storing petticoats can often feel a little like trying to contain pop-up tent in a bedside table. We sell very handy petticoat storage bags, which squash down the fluff without vacuum packing the life out of it, and you can then hang these from a handy hook. Alternatively, we’re a big fan of underbed drawers.

If you’ve any questions about wearing our petticoats, or would like an idea of which colour to buy, then do get in touch. We also LOVE seeing pictures of our gorgeous gals wearing their wonderful styles, so if you’d like to share a picture with us on our Facebook page we’d be ecstatic!

Love and glitter!
The VV Dolls.

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