Fashionable Petticoats

The petticoat has been around for centuries.  A petticoat, or pettiskirt, is an undergarment that women wear for fashion.  It could be made with one layer of fabric, but it usually consisted of several layers.

Back when women underwear was not invented, a petticoat was worn as an extra layer for privacy.  This underskirt was also worn to have the latest fashion.  It also gave the appearance of a smaller waist and larger bust.

Pettiskirts were made of a variety of fabrics.  The wealthy generally had the more expensive fabrics in their pettiskirts like silk.  The generally population in the summer wore cotton fabric pettiskirts.  Wool fabric pettiskirts were worn in the winter for added warmth.


The petticoat has been in fashion since 1585.  Next to the shoe, it is an article of clothing that has lasted through out time as fashionable.  In the sixteenth century pettiskirts were visible under open front skirts.

Pettiskirts lasted into the 1700s where they were worn with long jackets.  They were used mainly in rural areas for the purpose of added warmth.  In Europe and America they were made of lace and worn with elaborate silk gowns.

In the 1800s the pettiskirt jumped in and out of fashion.  In the early years of the nineteenth century the fashionable dress was less elaborate and narrower skirts, so pettiskirts were not used.  When the waltz became popular, the pettiskirts came back into fashion.  In 1860 the “Gibson Girl” look was fashionable, which was long narrow skirts with white blouses.

Much like the nineteenth century, the pettiskirt came in and out of fashion in the twentieth century.  Petticoats were popular in the beginning, but the Great Depression put an end to them.  Just when they were coming back into fashion, World War II put them back out.  Pettiskirts were most popular in the 1950s, but they were short instead of long.

Pettiskirts are still worn today, but are not in a great demand.  They are generally worn for formal dances or with bridal gowns.  In most formal dresses the pettiskirts are sewn in and are not needed as a separate item.  Square dancing females wear short pettiskirts as well.

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