You knew this day was coming, folks. After a yearlong foray into the glories of 1950s- and 60s-inspired fashion, I’ve finally purchased one of those dang petticoats. In fact, it’s a cheerful pastel crinoline consisting of enough layers of yellow, feathery tulle to evoke Big Bird at the ballet.
When I tore open the airmail package on Saturday and came face-to-face with the reality that I had purchased an archaic garment intended to make me resemble one of those bizarre Barbie doll cake toppers, I’ll admit that there was a moment of existential doubt.
- it was only $10 on sale – and that’s probably the equivalent of what one might spend at a certain New England donut and coffee purveyor over the course of three days, so I think I’m all good, and
- I’ve kind of always wanted to capture the aesthetic of one of those bizarre Barbie doll cake toppers, I guess?
The crinoline emerged from its packaging in a cranky, crinkled, and apparently introspective mood. I gave it a few minutes.
I bought a 23″ petticoat in the hopes of pairing it with some of my longer dresses with full skirts intended for this very purpose. (In my pre-petticoat days, dresses like this one -which I’ve also styled here – had so much extra fabric flopping around that I could’ve probably turned them into a makeshift tent if necessary!)
As you can see, I’ve now achieved my lifelong dream of having the body of a shield volcano!
Why, I found myself asking, are petticoats even a thing? (I mean, obviously the answer is “because they’ve been giving dresses the various popular shapes required by women’s fashion for the past few centuries, usually for the purpose of accentuating the smallness of one’s waist.” But also, why?)
More importantly, why are they so unexpectedly fun to wear? Why am I suddenly overcome by the need to take to the streets of Western Mass and show off a skirt that seems to defy gravity?