Types of Historical Petticoats

Petticoats have been a part of womens’ fashion since the late 1400s and they’re a big part of Gloomth’s style, they’re used to fill out skirts and dresses. As the fashionable silhouette shifts over time there have been multiple variations invented to create these looks. Here are some variations that have developed over time!

Depicting the Spanish farthingale hoops attached to skirts.

Spanish Farthingale or Verdugado-  1460-1500s. Featured hoops of wood attached to a skirt increasing in diameter from the waist to the ankle. Sometimes installed directly into the lining of noblewomens’ skirts these created and exaggerated A-line cone silhouette favorable of the time. These influenced Tudor fashion greatly, making it possible to display the ornate fabrics of the time without folds hiding their detail.

french farthingale
The French style Farthingale worn under an elaborate gown.

French or Wheel Farthingale- 1545-1620. A round wheel shape which sat at the wearer’s waist from which the dress/skirt would drape over and downwards from. These consisted of a padded bum-roll that encircled the waist and panels of boned or stiffened material radiating outwards at the hips (hence the wheel moniker). In the French version the wheel is tilted upwards as it sits atop the bum-roll to create the illusion of an elongated torso. Primarily worn by the court women these were also worn in a modified form by regular citizens.

A crinoline featured in “Gone With The Wind”

Crinoline- 1800s. The word “crinoline” comes from the French word “crin” meaning horse-hair, which is what these were originally made of. It was believed at the time that a lady needed at least 6 layers of petticoat to be decently attired! By the mid 1800s the horse-hair was replaced by metal hoops attached to cotton skirts which gave women more freedom of movement (and made it popular with the upper classes as well as the working masses). These experienced a resurgence in the 1950s with full fluffy skirts worn predominantly by young women. 1950s crinolines were made of netting or tulle attached to a cotton underskirt. Modern crinolines are still featured in bridal and lolita fashion and are most similar to those of the 50s in construction and materials.

Victorian Bustle.

Bustle or Tournure- 1860s-1900. Iconic of Victorian fashion, they accentuated the bust and waist of the wearer as well as serving practical purposes for supporting fabric. When the popular silhouette shifted from a full bell skirt to a more narrow skirt the bustle was invented. The ornate and heavy fabrics used in dresses of the time would quickly fall flat in the back over petticoats/crinolines when worn so bustles helped support that fabric and keep it from dragging. Less restrictive than the enormous hoop crinolines these allowed women more movement and comfort. Consisting of a crinolette- a small supportive garment usually made of hoops or a padded pillow of fabric- attached to an underskirt which would support the external garments.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.