Petticoats, Volume I: What Kind, From Where, How Big?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

When we first started blogging, one of the topics we covered was something we get asked about quite frequently: petticoats.  We've decided to do a bit of a petticoats 2.0 post, from a different angle with information about how we "deal" in the summer, what we do to keep them so full (and options for ladies who don't want so much "volume") and how long the average "life span" is for our favorite petticoat.  To start, below is a picture of us in full skirted dresses with no petticoats.

Minimal Fullness: The Pinup Girl Clothing Canvas Underskirt (below) was sort of a splurge purchase one day while I was shopping on PUG's website, because I saw it was only $36 and it was made of a fabric I'd never tried before in a petticoat.  As you can see, the waist is a thick, elasticized band with two snaps and it is two tiered layers of canvas fabric.  The photo in the middle is what the petticoat usually looks like when you're out and about which is what makes it my recommendation for any lady looking for non-dramatic petticoat.

The photo to the right is what it looks like when you puff it up a bit.  I absolutely love how this petticoat fits when it looks like this, the elasticized band nips your waist, it gives the hips of your dress the perfect amount of fullness and it doesn't give petticoat lines.  However, your dress will sort of have a wilting flower affect and you'll notice throughout your evening out, the fullness of your dress will start getting rather flat, if you're looking for dramatic fullness, this probably isn't for you.



"Medium" Fullness: Pictured below are the American Apparel Petticoat Slip Skirt (left) and the Multi-Layered Reversible Petticoat (right.)  When I first started wearing circle skirts and swing dresses I struggled for so long to find a petticoat that would provide me with the right enough "poof."  June is a genius and discovered that by layering the multi-layered reversible petticoat (which I refer to as the ‘short petticoat’) under the petticoat slip skirt, you end up with a lovely shape that doesn’t create awkward petticoat lines or look strange when you walk.

The reason I LOVE this combination is because it is so comfortable. These petticoats aren't itchy like other petticoats, and I wear them for more casual occasions like sitting at my desk for 9 hours a day (these are the petticoats we actually both wear to work if we wear one at all to work.)  These are a great option when you want your skirt a bit fuller, but not too much.  Also, perhaps another reason this combination is so comfortable is because it isn't hot.  It gets so hot in Georgia that if I can have layers without sweating that is magical!


Dramatic Fullness: Below is the Hell Bunny Short Petticoat aka the Va Va Voluminous Petticoat if you're a Modcloth shopper.  This is our go-to petticoat for non-work activities, or just general weekend wear with our full dresses.  We get a lot of comments like "are you REALLY only wearing one?", "I have this petticoat but it doesn't look THAT full"  things like that and those can be easily explained.

How to wear a petticoat is entirely up to the wearer and their body type.  Since Amelia is tall with a freakishly long torso, she tends to wear her petticoats lower on her hips, which helps diminish any unsightly petticoat lines.  June wears her petticoat higher up/at her natural waist which creates volume and stops the petticoat from peaking out under your dress.  Generally, the higher up you wear the petticoat, the fuller your dress/skirt will be, but the more you have to worry about a petticoat line.



We are actually wearing the exact same version of this petticoat in the photo below.  Amelia has had this petticoat since January and it has started to lose a lot of it's fullness even with regular trips to the dryer to 'fluff' it back up.  June recently replaced hers because she kept standing up from putting on her makeup and stepping on the hemline and finally, somehow managed to rip it irreparably.  There is a pretty big difference in this petticoat from "brand new" to "loved" especially if you're wearing it multiple times weekly like we are.  However, if you're only wearing it every once and a while, you two should have a long, happy life together.

Another thing about this petticoat that makes it our favorite, is that is comes in varying lengths and colors.  The "short" version of this petticoat runs at about 20.5 inches and is the one we both wear.  June wears it because she's only 4'11" and Amelia wears it because she prefers for her petticoat not to show.  But we also found the "long" version to be excessively long.  The "long" version of this petticoat measures at about 24 inches which you would think would fit JUST under the hemline of an average skirt but the way it's made puts it about mid-calf/right above the ankle and also, the majority of the fullness is at your hemline, producing more of a "bell shape" than an overall fullness.

There is no wrong way to wear a petticoat it's all about what you feel comfortable in and the look you're trying to achieve!  If you've been searching for a petticoat we hope this helps you find what you're looking for.  Here are a few of the options for the Hell Bunny Petticoat that we love so much:

FF 5-26-14
blue (long)  |  black (short)  |  cotton candy (long)  |  white (short)

Do you have a favorite petticoat?
(we've tried Bettie Page, Malco Modes, vintage and the three reviewed above)

47 comments:

  1. bettie bang bangJune 9, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    you should try emmy's petticoats (beautiful colours) they are short, but what a volume!

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  2. Yay petticoats! I'm on the lookout for a new, not super flurry one. I didn't know that putting them in the dryer helps with fluffiness! I have a good one but the elastic is shot. If I dryer it and replace that, it might be perfect. I have 3 others that are pretty large and can be heavy. I had the perfect pink sized one even though it was scratchy and I accidentally tore it.

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  3. I officially NEED the hell bunny petticoat- I've been wearing one I bought on eBay and I like it but its no where near as full as the hell bunny.
    I wear mine at my waist like June I've tried it lower but I'm so hourglass shape any lower and I loose my waist.
    X
    Jodie
    www.be-a- goddess.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. Do you guys have any other petticoat recommendations? The PUG and AA petticoats are all out of stock, and I find the Hell Bunny one way too big for me most days :(

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  5. I bought the short hell bunny petticoat, but felt like it was too poofy. I much prefer the Malco Modes 580. It's just fluffy enough.

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  6. Ohhh, now that you mention those I am incredibly temped, I might have to check them out! <3

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  7. The PUG one is worth waiting for if you're not in a rush, especially if you're looking for something minimal. But while I do find it itchy, the Malco Modes 580 (also called the Zooey) is nice and if you buy it off Amazon you can try it out and the return is free.

    http://www.malcomodes.biz/petticoats-slips-Zooey-p/580.htm

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  8. I bought a Malco Modes one that was a total nightmare once, terrible shape, but I've heard amazing things about the 580.

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  9. Hell Bunny make the best petticoats I think. They never lose their fullness and their length is just right for my 4'11" height!

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  10. The petticoats from Your One Stop Pinup Shop designed and made by Bex are fantastic in every way. Not itchy at all, soft and super fluffy. Pricey but worth every cent.

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  11. Julie Wanda EspyJune 9, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    Has anyone tried the Malco Modes 582 (the "Jennifer" style)? I am so tempted because it comes in so many pretty colors and I love the idea of a floral dress with a peek of teal, or hot pink, or red. I only have a black petticoat and I've had it for 20 years - replaced the waist elastic 2x and yes, they will last forever if you are loving and gentle to them!

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  12. Julie Wanda EspyJune 9, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    The Malco Modes is here... http://www.amazon.com/Malco-Modes-Knee-Length-Chiffon-Petticoat/dp/B00EO4GLP6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402373264&sr=8-1&keywords=malco+modes+582

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  13. Well Katie initially ordered one for her wedding dress (the 24" one) and we both tried it on and got A LOT of laughs out of it lol but I never thought to actually try to measure it. I think you'd like the American Apparel ones a lot, it's so worthwhile to not have to hang out all day in an itchy petticoat, that's actually my biggest issue with vintage ones.

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  14. If you're able to replace the elastic that actually might save the one you have! And oh, I know how much of a bummer it is to tear one, I have this tendency to sit down on the floor and then stand up and step on my hemlines, which is no fun. Even after repair, the "fluff" never quite sits the same. haha

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  15. I think you'd be really happy with it if you don't mind quite a bit of fullness! Isn't it funny how WHERE you wear it makes all the difference?

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  16. I'm glad to hear we have good timing! : ) And yes, in that case I would definitely recommend the short one! Do you mind a lot of fullness? We've recommended this one to a few people who were a bit shocked at how "big it is", it just takes some adjusting. <3

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  17. That's exactly how tall I am and I totally agree! I haven't found one I like better yet! : )

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  18. Ohhhh! I chat with Bek every now and again I might have to call one of her shops and place and order, sounds very worth the international shipping! <3

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  19. I haven't but I tried the 585 and i looked absolutely INSANE haha it wouldn't even fit under my dress! Amazon has an awesome return policy so it seems like it might be very worthwhile to order it and try it out, my favorite thing about Malco Modes is all the colors, I mean seriously... what a selection! I buy all white ones because they don't show under my lighter colored dresses but I'd love a pretty colored one! Maybe we should both give it a shot. : )

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  20. I love this intro to petticoats. I've been wanting one for awhile but didnt know where to start especially because I only want small to medium fullness and was worried that any that I bought would give me extreme fullness.

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  21. Julie Wanda EspyJune 10, 2014 at 1:32 AM

    Hmm. They don't make a 585 so I wonder if you DID try the 582 and it was overpowering? The 580 is very pretty too and comes in red and pink - I might try both from Amazon and send back the one that is too full. Or end up keeping both! I roll like that... but I have to save my pennies for the PUG Yardsale!!

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  22. Julie Wanda EspyJune 10, 2014 at 1:34 AM

    You didn't address it but I wonder if you have an opinion about petticoats peeking out. It's seems to be "a thing" and I see lots of girls with 2-3" of petticoat showing purposefully. Now, I am old fashioned and I think they are like your bra or slip peeking out - a vintage no-no. Petticoats are underwear!

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  23. Sorry about that, I mistyped, I meant 565! It was ridiculous looking! I am so jealous I wish I could go to the Yard Sale!!!

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  24. Hahaha you didn't see it because we feel the same way! Petticoats are undergarmets to us! I understand WHY ladies do it, especially if their petticoats are colored and they want to add a little pizzazz, I just feel awkward with mine showing

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  25. Well if you research the brand Malco Modes, they have a TON of petticoats in varying degrees of fullness... AND they come in lots of colors! Might be worth choosing one off their site (or Amazon, their stuff runs cheaper on there!)

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  26. Julie Wanda EspyJune 10, 2014 at 1:39 AM

    OMG! I have a 565 in candy pink and it's HUGE. It's like a square dancing skirt! I actually have it from my cowpunk days - I used to wear it as a skirt - seriously you can't put anything over it! I can see tiny you with this ginormous petticoat on! Mine is stuffed in a bag in a closet - probably not the best place for it! But they are good petticoats!

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  27. Love this post! I tried my hand at sewing one myself and that turned into an itchy disaster haha.

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  28. I love that June is so petite, I'm only 5'1" and I have such a hard time figuring out where skirts will fall on my frame. Now I know the 24" Hell Bunny I had on my wish list would look a little crazy on me!

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  29. I feel the exact same way! I definitely believe in modestly keeping your petticoat as an undergarment.

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  30. I'm so glad that we can help! I bought the long one last year and was so let down with how long it was! I'm 5'7' and it was down to my calves. haha

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  31. I've heard it's extremely difficult even for the most gifted seamstress! I can only imagine what a creation of mine would look like... oh god. haha

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  32. Oh! We can totally exchange love and hate clothing items! I always love finding little ladies to hear recommendations and horror stories from. I'm glad you saw this before buying the 24", it is quite odd looking on someone so petite haha

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  33. Oh my gosh that long Hell Bunny petticoat was hilariously bad. It was so long on me so you can imagine it on Amanda! I wear the AA petticoat under my Hell Bunny petticoat sometimes just to have the softer material on my legs. I love it.


    xx

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  34. Thanks for the info on your favorites!
    For very full ones: the chiffon petticoats from the American brand Sam's (I bought mine at Vivien of Holloway, here: http://www.vivienofholloway.com/accessories-c15/petticoats-c69

    And for more natural-looking, finely made and 100% cotton (in 2 lengths and 2 fullnesses... is that a word? ;-) ): House of Olivier (houseofolivier.co.uk) who also have chiffon ones, vintage-style and lace-trimmed. Gorgeous!
    Personally, I can't stand (literally) any kind of tulle ones (even Hell Bunny), they are way too itchy for me! The big chiffon ones I only wear on special occasions, because they are totally impractical on a day-to-day basis in 21st century Paris (think knocking stuff over in shops, catching everything around including leaves and getting stuck in doors and car doors!).

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  35. I bought the long hell bunny petticoat and it worked well for me. Im 6'1 and like to wear them higher at my natural waistline. it hits just right for me and never shows. I love your posts, i would never have been able to decide which brand to buy if it wasnt for you two.

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  36. I know exactly what you mean about the petticoats! Im 5'4 and I love the HB long petticoats! I wear them almost directly under my bust to raise them as high as possible and I still get an inch sticking out the bottom as you can see in my pic. I tried the shorter one and wore it on my natural waist but then the bottom of my dress just hung flat and straight down while the rest was poofy and beautiful... shortness is a curse!

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  37. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!! This is just TOO amazing. I would wear it as a skirt too because no skirt is gonna fit over that! haha. Maybe I'll try another of their petticoats in a different size, ant recommendations?

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  38. I love really full (but I don't want it to look like, comically full) so I might have to check those out! How do you like your Vivien petticoat?


    Fullnesses is totally a word, and if it isn't it should be! I have the perfect "practical petticoat" but I'm always looking for better shaped and more comfortable petticoats for my full pinup days. I can see what you mean about the itching, I don't think I've ever owned a chiffon one, maybe I should invest?


    And oh, I've knocked stuff over with mine before, it's quite embarrassing haha

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  39. See, that is exactly what it's great that they have two lengths! And thank you so much! We enjoy sharing things with love with other people, so that we can compare notes if they ever buy anything from the designers/shops we love haha

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  40. I'm 5 ft even and I can't imagine why the short Hell Bunny petticoat didn't work for you, Amelia is 5'7" and it's the one she wears, how odd! She wears hers at her hips though. I absolutely LOVE this look on you though, I don't mind it peeking out, it's quite cute, I bet no one has any idea you'd prefer it not to ; )

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  41. Hi!
    The Vivien one is really gorgeous! It's made with several layers of light chiffon and has a ruffle at the bottom. It's incredibly soft and... fluffy, but it doesn't stick out stiffly like some netting ones or look like a ballet tutu. I think you'd like it! I'll try to add pics to give you an idea. I'm 5'6 and it's a customizable 26" length. I wear it high on my waist when the dress is shorter. (If this works, please excuse the bathroom selfies, my kids are at their Dad's so no one else to take pics of me! ;-) )
    However, I'm pretty sure you could find them more easily and cheaper in the US, since it's an American brand. I found them by googling "swing petticoats" and even "square dance petticoats" and a lot of US web stores came up.


    The House of Olivier one, I'm more comfortable with because it fluffs up the bottom 10 inches of a dress without adding bulk to the waist or hips and it's so much cooler in hot weather! But of course that's my personal taste, as is not having the petticoat peak out when I'm standing. When it does I feel like I'm costumed in 50s style, not dressed in 50s style. (I hope it makes sense to you!)


    Welcome to the knocking-over-stuff-with-our-clothes club!:-)

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  42. Ok not working! I'll send the pics to you through Facebook PM if you want! Sorry!

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  43. Julie Wanda EspyJune 16, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    Well, thanks to your enabling, I am going to order the Malco Modes 582 and 580 and then see which one is better. I'll send pics. Hope I don't end up keeping them both!

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  44. I'm rather picky and I was actually considering purchasing a couple items from Vivien that I fell in love with, so it might be nice to just order it all at once if the petticoat is really worthwhile. I would LOVE to see yours on you. I was just offered one by Bek from Your One Stop Pinup Shop in AU and I am really excited to try something different out.

    EXACTLY HOW WE FEEL ABOUT THEM! I am not a fan of peeking petticoat if I can help it. I do, however, like my dresses to be quite full. I've found that a lot of petticoats give more of a "bell shape" than a full shape though, and that's not very cute either. It's hard to satisfy everything I'm looking for out of one little "undergarment" haha

    And yes! Feel free! You can message the Junebugs Facebook or direct message me on Instagram if you have it. : )

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  45. Yes! If you don't like those, I'll take a turn and we can just keep going back and forth until we find the perfect sized Malco Modes petticoat haha Amazon probably thinks I've crazy because I've returned 2 or 3 at this point.

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  46. Oh yes if you were planning on ordering from her anyway, you might as well get everything together. There are a lot of colors too. Just be aware that the "hot pink" one is more of a dusty pink in person. It's great quality, but of course expensive (not a fault it's worth it, just not easy to fit into the budget! ;-) )... so I only buy from the Sale section! ;-)
    I agree the "bell shape" looks too costume-y too!
    Ok i'll post the pics before going to bed!

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  47. I've recently discovered Unique Vintage and they have petticoats there as well. I'm not sure if anyone brought it up. I tried looking in the other comments, but didn't see a thing, so I thought I would just mention it. They come in a variety of colors and I believe two different lengths as well.

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