June 6, 2013Petticoats or Crinolines……What Term Do You Use?
Sara In AZ
For the last 6 or so years I have fallen into the habit of wearing a petticoat almost daily. Granted, if I am doing yard work or some other task like cleaning or painting I will not be all gussied up…..but more often than not I am wearing a dress and a petticoat. I know that may seem really odd to many people, “Why would Sara go to all the trouble?” you might think. Honestly, to me it just feels right – more right that wearing jeans or sweatpants…but that’s just me and I know that wearing petticoats and/or dresses all the time really won’t work for most ladies.
Sometimes people (mostly women) that see me out and about are intrigued by my look and will stop me to ask if I am actually wearing a petticoat, to which I answer “Yes” and then I give them a peek at the bottom edge….they say they love it – that it really brings back memories of their younger days. Other times people look at me quizzically and (I think) perhaps wonder if I’ve gone insane and really do think it’s 1950! ha!
Here is a picture of Ruth and I (when we had out grand meet up at Rosie’s Diner a few years back), the pink dress is one of my favorites and you can see Ruth has some petticoat action going on too! Go Ruth!!! Anyway, this is a pretty normal look for me on a daily basis…..unless it’s yard work time!
For whatever reason I fell into using the term ‘petticoat’ when when describing my poufy undergarment. I have also heard ladies refer to them as ‘can-cans’, but more often people refer to them as crinolines.
My friend Redwin, owner of Sweet Lorain The Vintage Department Store in Cleveland Ohio (if you need vintage anything and are in Cleveland this is THE place to go y’all!), and I got into a discussion about what was exactly the right term to use for these poufy undergarments.
Wikipedia has Petticoat defined as:
A petticoat or underskirt is an article of clothing for women; specifically an undergarment to be worn under a skirt or a dress. The petticoat is a separate garment hanging from the waist (unlike the chemise).
Wikipedia has Crinoline defined as:
Crinoline was originally a stiff fabric with a weft of horse-hair and a warp of cotton or linen thread. The fabric first appeared around 1830, but by 1850, the word had come to mean a stiffened petticoat or rigid skirt-shaped structure of steel designed to support the skirts of a woman’s dress into the required shape. In form and function it is very similar to the earlier farthingale.
Wow, steel was used in crinolines back in the day….who knew! Wild! Though it goes on to say that modern crinolines no longer use steel – whew!
But, typing in searches online for actual petticoats or crinolines – well, the terms seem to be pretty much interchangeable. Some sellers even use both terms in their descriptions calling them ‘crinoline petticoats’.
Here are a few pictures of my unmentionables!
I found this one at a thrift store for maybe $10. I like to wear it when I want a little less pouf.
It was made by Malco Modes and was probably made for Square Dancing originally.
I found this vintage petticoat at the thrift store too. I believe it was around $10 as well.
This one is made from very stiff and scratchy tulle and would be torture to wear were in not lined with that attached slip you see in the middle.
This is my daily wear petticoat! I bought this one for $30 at a vintage store, though I don’t know how technically “vintage” this one really is.
It is labeled ‘Doris’ Crystal Magic’ and I believe this also started out as a Square Dancing undergarment.
You can see it is very ruffle-y and full!
So my question for everyone is…………………………
What do you call them – Petticoats or Crinolines……or something else all together?
What is the right term? This girl needs some help!