All about petticoats

bridalpetticoat.comAlthough most petticoats worn today are bridal petticoats that add fullness and give shape to your wedding gown, petticoats actually date from the sixteenth century and were worn under all gowns, not just wedding gowns.

Just as modern wedding petticoats do today, the original petticoats gave skirts a domed look that flattered a narrow waistline or at least made a waistline look smaller in comparison to the wide skirt. They also hide figure flaws below the waist.

By the end of the sixteenth century, elaborately decorated petticoats were often worn with open-front skirts and meant to be both seen and admired. Made of wool, cotton, or silk, petticoats could also be quilted for warmth, a very useful attribute in those long-ago years before anyone even imagined the possibility of central heating.

In the early 19th century fashions changed radically. Just as celebrities today influence fashion trends, Napoleon’s Empress Josephine made popular high-waisted narrow skirts. The style, known as Empire, made multiple layers of petticoat skirts obsolete, and much like today’s destination wedding gowns, very little lingerie was worn under such gowns.

Culture, too, especially leisure activities, can impact fashion, and by the 1820s the popularity of the waltz revived interest in petticoat slips worn under full skirts. Again, many layers of petticoats were worn, so many they were quite heavy. The French developed a fabric for petticoats that was lighter but stiff. Made of linen woven with horsehair, the fabric was known as crinoline after the French words for horsehair and linen, and crinoline petticoat became a generic name much as you say Kleenex today when you want a tissue.crinoline

Even lightweight crinoline worn in multiple layers, six at a minimum, was a heavy burden for fashionable women, and the cage crinoline, which could be worn alone, was introduced in 1856. A metal cage crinoline was patented in the same year, and women were delighted with the new freedom to move their legs. Unlike many high-fashion designs, the cage crinoline was available to women of all classes and extremely popular, even with working women. As late as the 1980s, the hoop skirt, a Civil-War-era adaptation of the cage crinoline, was still a popular choice for wear under wedding gowns.

Petticoat skirts were common until the end of the nineteenth century although the basic shape changed from a dome to a silhouette emphasizing fullness in the rear of the gown, a fullness that was eventually termed a bustle. The late 19th century bustle, unlike today’s wedding gown bustle that lifts your train off the floor and gives you freedom of movement at your wedding reception, was a permanent part of the gown.

As in the early 19th century, narrow skirts came into fashion in the early 20th century, and the petticoat in the 1920s was more slip than petticoat. True, frilly petticoats were rarely seen from then until 1947 when Christian Dior introduced his full-skirted New Look. By the 1950s petticoats were a craze with teenagers who considered it a disgrace if they could walk through a door without their skirts touching the doorframe, and they often wore as many as four or five separate petticoats.

Few dresses today, except for costumes and dresses for square dancers, feature such frothy fullness, but dresses for proms, parties, and weddings often include sewn-in crinolines. Unlike petticoats from the 1950s, today’s sewn-in underskirts maintain their shape because they are woven from stiff artificial fibers, and fullness is achieved with fewer layers.

Today for additional fullness you can buy petticoat slips in various sizes and shapes that complement the shape of your specialty gown. These petticoat slips are usually made of nylon or polyester with a soft underside to keep the rough, raw-edged tulle that gives them fullness from scratching your legs or tearing your stockings. The petticoat designed for protection from grass, mud, rain, and snow rather than for fashion is made from the same soft material.

Whether you prefer a sleek, sinuous line or a dramatic mermaid style to the bell-shaped ball gown, chances are at some point in your search for the perfect wedding gown, you’ll be caught up in layers of tulle, the modern version of the classic petticoat first worn almost 500 years ago.

The PicturePerfect Petticoat

We came across this novel idea to protect your wedding gown and wanted to share it with you: the PicturePerfect Petticoat

You've always dreamed of a spectacular outdoor background for your wedding photos, but you're worried about soiling your beautiful bridal gown. Or you are worried about walking on the grass at your outdoor wedding or crossing dirty parking lots and city streets on the way to your indoor wedding.

No need to worry! Now you can walk anywhere--through grass, mud, or across wet asphalt-- without getting your beautiful bridal gown dirty.

Comfortable and easy to wear under your wedding gown, the PicturePerfect Petticoat protects your gown from any dusty, muddy, or dirty surface-indoors or outdoors. Just draw up the strings. Your PicturePerfect Petticoat safely wraps around your wedding gown and lifts it up off the ground.

Watch the video below to see how the PicturePerfect Petticoat keeps your wedding gown clean no matter where you walk. One size fits all and protects all wedding gowns, large or small.

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