History of Petticoats

History of Petticoats

Hello Queens!

Welcome to the best place to know all about Petticoats!

To begin with, the word Petticoat is derived from the Middle English word pety cote or pety coote, meaning “a small coat/cote” Traditionally, a petticoat was worn in a way that it can be seen. A petticoat is a piece of clothing almost like a type of undergarment worn under a skirt or a dress. Its use & styling differentiates over centuries and between countries. Modern America refers to the petticoat as the garment hanging from the waist. Petticoats are usually made of cotton, silk, or tulle. 

As we mentioned earlier, the use of petticoats & their styling varied from centuries & also between the countries, so please allow us to take you on a ride from the 14th century to this date.

In the 14th century, both men and women used to wear undercoats known as “petticoats”. Petticoats weren’t worn as undergarments until after it was practiced in England in 1585.  In the 17th century, petticoats became a fashionable choice, which then kicked off the trend of styling them in different ways.

In Europe and America, specifically in the 18th century, petticoats were considered as a part of the exterior garment and were clearly meant to be seen. An under-petticoat was considered an undergarment and was shorter than a regular petticoat. The hem length of a petticoat in the 18th century depended on what was fashionable in dress then. Women of all classes wore petticoats in the 18th Century. Petticoats in the 18th Century were in great demand since women wore stockings, corsets & multiple layers of petticoats to look like an hourglass. Petticoats, giving them the utmost volume, made their waist look thinner.

In the early 19th century, dresses became even more narrow and simple with much less lingerie, including “invisible petticoats”. In the 1870s, petticoats were worn in layers. Colored petticoats came into fashion by the 1890s. With the great depression in the 1930s & World War II, there arose scarcity of everything & materials. When WWII ended, the very famous, Christian Dior, came up with his own smart style of petticoats. Earlier women had to wear multiple petticoats in order to get the desired volume, but Christain turned around to introduce multiple layers to the same petticoats to have the fluffiness. Petticoats are the sole reason why women in the 1950s had the very infamous volume to their skirts.

In the early 20th century, petticoats were circular, had flounces and buttons, in which women could attach additional flounces to the garment. Bloomers were also touted as a replacement for petticoats when working and by fashion reformers. Petticoats now come with a variety of layers, ruffles at the bottom that can give you the absolute flair your skirts require. Petticoats are now worn by women for various purposes. Women now wear it for visiting Disneyland, for Halloween, for Vintage Pageant Competitions.

We would like to add some fun facts about petticoats:

  1. Under Petticoats were also known as dickeys
  2. In French, petticoats were called jupe. (How amazing is that?) 
  3. The basquina, worn in Spain, was considered a type of petticoat.
  4. Earlier petticoats had slits or holes for women to reach pockets inside.

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