Dear Miss Victory Violet!
I want to buy my first swing style dress, but when it comes to petticoats i’m at a slight loss.
What advice or brand recommendations do you have for petticoats?
I don’t want something itchy and poof-less, and I’m willing to pay for great quality with a lot of shape.
Also, what are the average lengths for 1950’s style dresses? Would an above knee-length petticoat be ok with most swing style dresses? Or would it have to be longer?
Any advice about this would be very much appreciated!
Country: New Zealand
I LOVE petticoats! They really finish off a swing dress and it’s so fun to have a contrasting colour underneath for a bit of fun!
I’m like you though, I hate the idea of itchy petticoats. I only buy the chiffon style ones are they are much softer and more comfortable to wear.
Vivien Of Holloway
If you are happy to spend the money, my favourites are most definitely the Vivien Of Holloway ones! These are super full, soft and perfect for dancing in.
These petticoats are 26″ from waist to hem so they are on the long side. I find that they fit well under a lot of my Pinup Girl Clothing Swing Dresses (and of course Vivien of Holloway) but can be too long for others. Another thing to think about is that because they are so full, you need to at least have a full circle skirt or gathered skirt for it to be able to fit underneath!
At £59 each, they are probably the most dear on the market but when you own one and also own a cheaper version, you really do notice the difference in quality.
Currently Vivien Of Holloway stock 12 different colourways but this seems to vary seasonly so if you like a particular colour, I’d recommend getting one before they sell out!
I own the red and the purple and I’d love to add more to my collection!
If the price of the Vivien Of Holloway petticoats put you off, then next I’d try the Hell Bunny Chiffon ones. These come in a variety of gorgeous colours and have two different lengths available- 19″ and 26″.
Now these petticoats are still lovely and full but they are definitely less than the Vivien of Holloway ones. That being said however, they are about half the price! And you can always wear two petticoats at once if you want the extra poof!
For the price, the quality is good- they are soft (although not AS soft as VoH) and seem well made. The only thing I have noticed is that the material seems prone to getting out of shape and can sometimes look a bit uneven.
You can’t buy direct from Hell Bunny but they are stocked online all over the world. Rita Sue Clothing in Auckland always has a great range of the colours and sells them for NZ$85.
If you search the greatness that is eBay, chances are you’ll stumble across these petticoats. I think that Malco Modes are aimed more at the Rock n Roll dancers and I’ve only got one of their styles. The have a huge range of different types of petticoats but a lot of them are that scratchy type!
I have one of their chiffon petticoats, the Jennifer, (US$59.99) and whilst I love the quality and fullness of it, I wish they would make them longer! Even if you buy a XL, the length is only 23″ which is still too short. It’s fine for some of my dresses but most of the time there will be several inches hanging over the top which gives it a really weird shape.
As I was searching eBay for this blog post, I stumbled across this listing. It appears to be longer version of the one I have! The length is between 24-26″ which is perfect for most swing dresses.
What confuses me is that I cannot find this petticoat on their website. But if it is the same quality as the shorter one I have, for US$69.99, it’d be a pretty good price!
The Jennifer Petticoat comes in such a fantastic array of colours, I’d love to buy more! I just need them to be longer…. they would be the perfect, cheaper alternative to Vivien Of Holloway!
I hope that helps Victoria! Try to think of a petticoat as a investment- start with getting a black, red and white and then move onto colours that you wear a lot of. They can be on the expensive side but it’s better to buy high-quality and have them last forever than needing to replace them.
Every pinup needs a petticoat to swing in!
x Miss Victory Violet