16/05/2014

Kawaii-B: Ultimate Guide to Petticoats


Petticoats are a must for lolita, and can be a cute extra something to make other kawaii style outfits extra awesome. But sometimes, finding or choosing the right one can be a challenge, especially if you haven't purchased one before. There are many lengths, shapes, materials and brands to choose from... However, we have put together this guide to help you learn everything you need to know in order to find the perfect petticoat for you! 


Think about your Look







What you want your outfit/your look to be will affect what kind of petticoat you want. Fairy kei outfits look great with shorter, fluffier petticoats/tutus often in pastel/bright or multi colours, this also goes for pop-kei and spank! styles. These can be worn under shorter skirts, or over bloomers, shorts or even on their own as long as your material is thick enough to be decent!






Lolita outfits or styles with longer skirts need higher quality petticoats. Depending on how much fullness you want your skirt to have, you might even wear two petticoats. Cheaper petticoats are thinner and don't produce such a full look, so even though higher quality ones may cost more, you will probably have to spend the same on several cheaper petticoats to get the same effect. 

What Shape Petticoat Do I Need?

This is the most important thing when it comes to buying petticoats for kawaii fashions and lolita styles. The shape of a petticoat will make all the difference when you put your dress or skirt over the top. The two main shapes you will come across in Kawaii fashion is the Bell Shape  and the A Line. Getting the right petticoat for your dress or skirt is important! If you wear a bell shaped petticoat with an A line dress, it won't fall correctly and will look odd! And vice versa! Some lolita dresses are made specifically to be worn with Bell/A line petticoats, and so won't actually fall correctly without the right one!

Bell shaped Petticoats produce a puffy "cupcake" type shape to your dress/skirt, popular with sweet lolita styles. They have more gather at the top near the band on the skirt, meaning they have a nice soft curve. 

Bell shaped petticoat from Classical Puppets

A bell shaped dress with petticoat: Image from lolita-tips.tumblr.com


Showing different petticoats and their volumes


A Line petticoats give a more classic look, and have more volume towards the bottom of the skirt. 

A line petticoat from Classical Puppets

An A Line dress with petticoat: Image from lolita-tips.tumblr.com

What Length Petticoat Do I Want? 

Usually you want your petticoat to be just a tiny bit longer than your skirt, so it shows a little at the ends. If it is too short, then the skirt will create a lampshade effect. There are many different terms that refer to petticoat length, but a general idea would be:





Tutu: sometimes put in the petticoat catagory, but is usually worn alone and is very very short and usually stiff. Seen often on ballerinas, and is often worn by fairy kei and pop kei fashion sporters.







Short: usually hits mid-thigh and is anywhere from 10-14" long. Often seen paired with the short sexy Halloween costumes in day to day wear. Most lolita dresses are at least knee length for decency, so this will be too short for any lolita fashion lovers!



Mid Length: also called knee-length, ends at or near the knees. This is usually the length to go for with a lolita dress, but you always need to check your dress/skirt measurements before buying! 






Tea Length: just a little longer than mid length, ends high to mid-calf






Long: goes all the way to the floor, usually worn for formals and bridal wear, hardly ever worn by lolita, occasionally worn by shirinori.


How to measure your skirt/dress: 
  1. Use a cloth measuring tape to take measurements if you can (if not a usual tape is fine)
  2. Lay your skirt on a flat surface (on a table).
  3. Button up or zip up your skirt if necessary.
  4. Smooth out any folds or creases.
  5. Measure from the very top of your skirt, or the waist, all the way down to the hem (the very bottom)
  6. Record your measurements in several different types if you can (inches, cm, meters) as some foreign stores might use different measurements. And remember, you want your petticoat to be just a little but longer than your dress/skirt (about 5-10cm is perfect)
  7. Remember to check your waist measurements! Its easy to forget when you are focusing on all the other aspects when ordering your petticoat! But even the perfect petti is no use if you can't fit into it!

Petticoat Colours

Petticoats come in all sorts colours, but the easiest colors to find are white and black, followed by red and pink. Multi-coloured petticoats aren't as easy to get hold of in the UK sadly for fairy-kei lovers, but are available on ebay and from specific sellers. Remember, if you are planning to wear your petticoat under a thinner skirt or dress, a bold colour might show through. So if your skirt or dress is thin, go for a colour similar to that of your dress/skirt. 


Petticoat Fabrics

There many different types of fabric used for making petticoats. Some examples are nylon, polyester, organza, organdy and chiffon. 

Polyester Net tutu
Polyester Netting

Cheaper petticoats are more stiff and scratchy, the cheapest being polyester net tutus (above), which will give very little body, and can make skirts look lumpy if you get your length wrong. Not worn other than with fairy kei and decora outfits. 

Layered nylon net petticoat
Nylon Netting

Different fabrics will create different kinds of fullness. A nylon net petticoat (above) can be full when layered and are cheaper than other petticoats, they are also cooler. However, they loose their fullness and poof quickly and are of low quality. This kind of petticoat can be found cheap on ebay but is not really what you want for a lolita outfit. You would need to layer 2 or 3 of these to get the effect you want.





Organza is a more luxury type fabric that is created using nylon, polyester, and silk or a blend of any of the three. It has the look and feel of silk, but depending on its blend can be stiffer than silk. Some Polyester or Nylon blend Organza fabrics can also be a little scratchy on the skin, so make sure you have a soft slip for underneath. 


Chiffon is a softer, lighter, higher quality fabric used to make better quality petticoats. It is made from silk, cotton, nylon, polyester, or rayon. It tends to be sheer, with a faint shimmer. Although it is a thin fabric, many layers are used to create fullness in a good petticoat. It is not as cool as nylon netting but is still cooler than heavier fabrics like cotton. 



To read more about different types of fabric check out this link 

Choosing the right fullness

Many petticoats will list the overall material length/yardage to give you an idea of fullness. A full petticoat usually has around 17 yards of fabric. However, lighter petticoats sometimes don't have overall material length listed. For most Lolita outfits, you want a fuller, heavier petticoat. Bridal petticoats are always the fullest, and most expensive. 

Most of the time, you can tell a good volume petticoat from a quality picture, but searching for reviews on Google is a good way to find out if that particular brand or petti is recommended.


I want a cheap petticoat, lolita petticoats seam so expensive! 

This is something almost all new lolitas say when looking to buy their first petticoat. The price tag on lolita specific petticoats can seem high when you compare them to petticoats on ebay or other cheap shopping places... but when you consider everything said above in this article, you will understand there is a big difference between a good, and a bad petticoat. You could buy a petticoat from ebay for $15, but it is probably scratchy, thin and will give you very little poof. So it would really be a total waste of money. You could buy 3 of these cheap, lesser quality petticoats and wear them together, but you still won't get the effect a good quality one will give. Here is a great Yahoo Questions answer that pretty much sums up what you need to know: 



"A decent lolita specific petticoat runs between $30-50. As many lolitas may have told you (or that you've figured out on your own), putting together a lolita wardrobe (needless to say, an outfit) can be costly. Even with a tight budget, sometimes you have to consider key pieces such as your petticoat, to be as investments - which a petticoat is as you need it for pretty much every lolita outfit you plan to put together in the future. 



I don't recommend Bodyline's petticoats all that much since they're better off worn as skirts (like for styles such as fairy-kei). And when you're looking for anything lolita, you'd normally want to avoid items made of cheap quality (like itchy lace, see-through fabric, etc). Cheap quality means that it's poorly made and doesn't last very long - think of your mass produced t-shirts from Walmart/Primark - this often makes the price really cheap (so you're getting what you paid for) or if you're buying from certain venues (let's say, Hot Topic), they often overcharge for a good inspite of its bad quality. And when it comes to petticoats, you really don't want it to loose its poof after sitting down. Normally, I'd recommend checking out taobao shops such as Classical puppets and kidsyoyo, but everything is closed for a while because of the Chinese New Year holiday. Ririnhime of livejournal makes nice petticoats and bloomers that usually run between $20-30 plus shipping and tracking. http://ririnhime.livejournal.com/ "

So, lolita fashion can be pricey, but if its what you love, investing in one or two good quality petticoats is definitely the way to go. 



How do I store and care for my petticoat? 



There are many tricks and techniques that float around the EGL (Lolita) community about how to keep your petticoat poofy. The truth is, any petticoat you buy, no matter how good it is, will loose some of its fluffiness over time. A well made, thickly layered petticoat will stay fuller for longer without much up-keep. A cheaper, stiffer petticoat however will loose its body more quickly if it is squashed or flattened. 

The life of your petticoat will depend on a few things: how often you wear it, what it is made of, and how frequently you wash it. There are a however a few things you can do to extend the life and "poof" of your petticoat.
Use fabric bags to store your petticoats, not plastic ones. Plastic bags will trap in any moisture (or smells) which will make your poof die quicker. Fabric bags also last longer than plastic ones. Placing a bag of scented salts (also in a cloth bag) inside the bag will also draw out any moisture and keep it smelling fresh.



There are lots of ideas about storing petticoats, but its really very simple. Try to keep it flat and open (like an umbrella), however most don't have the space for this (under your bed can be a good space). Don't hang it up in a wardrobe, as it will lose poof quicker and get squashed between other clothes, and don't hang it upside down either as this can alter its shape. The best way to store it so it maintains its poof, besides spread out like an umbrella, is rolled/squished up gently in a ball type shape, either in a bag, or a draw. This way, the petticoat retains some tension and springs back out into shape when taken out. Think about the layers of your petti like springs, if squashed in the right way they will bounce back.
Don’t wash your petticoat unless you really need to. Even petticoats that are worn a lot will not need washing more than once every 6 months. Also, the only part of a petticoat that really gets dirty is the waistband, and you can help this by tucking in your shirt or blouse. And remember, you can always just wash the waistband by hand to keep the rest of your petticoat dry. 
Be very gentle when you do wash your petticoat. Make sure you check what material your petticoat is made of before you wash. Some petticoats can only be washed gently by hand, where as others can withstand gentle wash cycles in a machine, on low heat.
Most petticoats will not withstand a full cycle in a dryer. However, putting it in on a low heat for a short time can help it maintain its poof (make sure you check the materials are safe to go in the dryer first). When you put your petticoat in the dryer, have the waistband towards you and tuck the rest around it into the back of the dryer carefully. Make sure you only leave it in the dryer for a few minutes at a time, allowing it only to get warm, and never HOT. Check it frequently and when it is mostly dry/warm, take it out, give it a shake, and hang it up to allow it to finish drying. You can also put your petticoat over an open umbrella to finish drying before you wear it. This can help it fluff up. 
There is no real way/secret to make your petticoat last longer. If your petticoat is running out of poof, and is nearing the end of its days, there are many ways that have been devised on the internet to try and bring it back to life; Sugar water, starching, and craft glue are just a handful of solutions some people swear by. But all of these are semi-perminent and won't last even if you get them to work short term. You can make permanent changes using fish line, but this is difficult if you don't have good sewing/dressmaking skills and often ends with holes, snags and a very stange looking petticoat at the end.
The best thing to do, is buy a good quality petticoat. Then, when it is truly worn out, which will be after several years if you treat it well, buy a new one.

Where to Buy a Petticoat

For brand new petticoats, there are many brands and places you can buy from, but here are some of the most recommended:
Stores

TaoBao: Basically Chinese Ebay, it can be hard to use without help of a shopping service. You can find a whole range of brands on here, and you save by ordering directly. Here is a great guide from Hellolace on buying from TaoBao

QutieLand / ClobbaOnline: These are official sellers of TaoBao/Asian brands. Clobba is slightly cheaper. The ordering procedures/webpages might seem less streamlined than what you are used to, but both services are well reviewed. Qutieland/Clobba discussion thread

Bodyline: Sells from china, decent quality garments for cheap prices. They have been known for quality problems, but in general are OK.


Brands

Classical Puppets: A preferred brand by lolitas often recommended online. You can buy this brand through TaoBao, a TaoBao shopping service, QutieLand or Clobba. There is an order form on the website which you can use to order what you want! For info here is a useful EGL thread on ordering through Clobbaonline.

BasicLove: London based Etsy store with excellent reviews which offers several basic petticoats and also sells bloomers 


For second hand petticoats
Facebook Lolita Sales Groups

There are many more just search for them!

Here are some other helpful links to help you with your shopping




Good luck for finding your perfect petticoat! We hope our guide has helped you. If you have any comments or questions, please just leave them for us below!

Thanks for choosing Kawaii-B! Your number one place for Kawaii in the UK!

Share:

6 comments

  1. Petticoats are not supposed to show...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes usually petti's don't show much, or not at all. It depends on individual preference. I personally know lolita who like to show a little bit of their petti if its a nice/pretty one (just a centimetre or two) and others who prefer it the perfect length to not show! :)

      Delete
    2. I was just about to comment that.

      Delete
  2. "Usually you want your petticoat to be just a tiny bit longer than your skirt, so it shows a little at the ends."
    Um, no. You want it a little bit shorter, so it doesn't show. Never have a petti longer than your skirt.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, petticoats are supposed to be the same length/shorter than your dress/skirt. Also, Bodyline does not sell out of China, it is a Japanese company that sells out of Japan.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lovely similar love for petticoats found in Indian men also shilpabindanicrossdresser.blogspot.in/

    Rekha

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comment!

© Kawaii-B | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Crafted by pipdig