Crinolines / Petticoats

Crinolines / Petticoats

Fashion Synopsis

Crinolines and petticoats were last seen on the likes of Scarlett O’Hara when corsets and sausage curls were in style, but never count out a good poofy skirt. Old petticoats made of whalebone or metal hoops made maneuverability almost impossible, and when class lines became blurred and mass manufacturing brought stylish dress to the average man, the bulky crinoline dress that necessitated a servant’s help went out of style.

But half a century later, the petticoat returned as an absolutely necessary accessory for the wide sweeps of ‘whirly’ skirts. After the restrictions of the War years, fabric-excessive circle skirts were a luxury for the newly opulent 50's. Layers of fabric circled the legs is wide fluid waves, and petticoats provided the 'pouf' desired of such full skirts.

The new petticoats of the 50's utilized modern fabrics like the wash-and-wear lightweight nylon, and were more comfortable than their predecessors. Simple cotton petticoats gave enough flounce for the delicate 'swish' desired by conservative ladies, but ruffled petticoats for poodle skirts mimicked the excesses of yesteryear.

The petticoats featured a flat and smooth tummy yoke but expanded into massive layers at hip level. Rows upon rows of gathered nylon and net guaranteed to ‘prop out your skirts.’ Girls layered multiple petticoats under their skirts to get the fullest shape possible, and the loudest swish. The fuller the petticoat, the flatter your poodle skirt was, and the more visible were your artwork appliqués, ready to be admired.

Crinolines faded in popularity during the flat-silhouette 60’s, but the fabrics returned during the ‘underwear as outerwear’ trend of the 80's. Madonna helped to popularize crinolines worn as skirts, especially when paired with bustiers. The full swishing of a crinoline/petticoat returns a gal back to the days when ladies were ladies, men were men, and chivalry wasn't dead. After all, with all those layers of net and ruffle, a girl's reputation was closely guarded.

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