Concept

Petticoat

Summary
A petticoat or underskirt is an article of clothing, a type of undergarment worn under a skirt or a dress. Its precise meaning varies over centuries and between countries. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, in current British English, a petticoat is "a light loose undergarment ... hanging from the shoulders or waist". In modern American usage, "petticoat" refers only to a garment hanging from the waist. They are most often made of cotton, silk or tulle. Without petticoats, skirts of the 1850s would not have the volume they were known for. In historical contexts (16th to mid-19th centuries), petticoat refers to any separate skirt worn with a gown, bedgown, bodice or jacket; these petticoats are not, strictly speaking, underwear, as they were made to be seen. In both historical and modern contexts, petticoat refers to skirt-like undergarments worn for warmth or to give the skirt or dress the desired attractive shape. Sometimes a petticoat may be called a waist slip or underskirt (UK) or half slip (US), with petticoat restricted to extremely full garments. A chemise hangs from the shoulders. Petticoat can also refer to a full-length slip in the UK, although this usage is somewhat old-fashioned. History of Western fashion In the 14th century, both men and women wore undercoats called "petticotes". The word "petticoat" came from Middle English pety cote or pety coote, meaning "a small coat/cote". Petticoat is also sometimes spelled "petty coat". The original petticoat was meant to be seen and was worn with an open gown. The practice of wearing petticoats as undergarments was well established in England by 1585. In French, petticoats were called jupe. The basquina, worn in Spain, was considered a type of petticoat. The petticoat in western men’s dress, what would become known in later years develop into the waistcoat, was from the mid-15th century to around the 17th century an under-doublet. The garment was worn in cooler months under a shirt for warmth, and was usually padded or quilted.
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