View Full Version : Are petticoats Steampunk?

01-12-2011, 06:17 PM
So apparently petticoats aren't limited to EGL, movies, and this adorable girl (http://www.cosplay.com/gallery/24790/).
I've talked to one of my friends about petticoats, and she says she might get one for a steampunk costume.
Although I've seen examples of steampunk outfits with petticoats like this one (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bnittoli/3549516453/sizes/z/in/photostream/) and this one (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scoundrelle/3093562831/sizes/l/in/photostream/), most of them that do have one don't try to create the same look as a lolita or 1950s one. Most steampunk petticoats are closer to the ones from the 1900s, not the 1950s. Most of them would pass as "slips" or "underskirts" today. Corsets seem to be more common than petticoats in steampunk, but those are AWESOME! :toothy:
Spealcalculator! :crylaugh:
So my question is: Are petticoats commonly included in steampunk outfits? Are they usually different than other types of petticoats?

01-12-2011, 10:19 PM
Well consider this, during the Victorian era petticoats, like corsets, were essential in a women's wardrobe and steampunk is Victorian inspired, not to mention an extremely flexible fashion.

Basically, is you dress/skirt requires fullness a petticoat is a good thing to use. Although, the "full bodied" shape that petticoats were used to create in the Victorian era was more common among woman who were not required to do any physical activity. If you steampunk outfit is designed to look more like a lower working class woman poofy skirts may not suit the outfit as much as an outfit designed to have the apperance of aristocracy. (basically think of what the outfit would have looked like in the victorian times and put "steampunk twist" on it.)

Also, keep in mind that not all petticoats are the extremely poofy lolita-esq type.

01-13-2011, 12:07 PM
Like Rikuzue said, during the era steampunk is set in, petticoats were a wardrobe essential.

It depends on the class of your steam character's outfit what kind would be best. If you have a hoop or a bustle, one with more fullness and ruffles would be appropriate. (mostly to cover up the lines from the hoop boning showing though the skirt) For a costume without a hoop or bustle, a simpler petticoat, the slip style, would be fine.

In the end, a petticoat was for keeping the hem of the dress from getting dirty. They also keep the fabric of your dress from wrapping around your legs, which looks weird. XD The nice thing with steampunk is you can bend the "rules" and make the petticoat a part of the whole outfit, instead of just an undergarment.

(Hope that doesn't make me sound like an elitist, my family does civil war reenactment, so I am good and familiar with the "rules" of 1800's undergarments. XD )

01-13-2011, 12:10 PM
Petticoats in a variety of shapes and types are very common. For a more formal woman's ensemble, they're almost compulsory; the skirts need something underneath them to look right and move right.

I won't say the lolis are doing it wrong, not by a long shot, but the more usual steampunk petticoat is not a short, floofy thing and really IS more or less an underskirt. Historically speaking (i.e very roughly 1840-1900 or so) they'd have been there to add skirt fullness, to soften the ridges of hoops and bustles, and/or to protect the fancy overskirts from the crap on the ground. Some have ruffles, some have pleats, many are white but some are not, and nearly all are made of easily-washable cotton or linen. So there's that.

An underthing that provides its own poof is often called a "crinoline" instead of a petticoat (from the French crin, "horsehair", which was what the stiff cloth for the poof was frequently made of), but you don't need to worry about saying the wrong thing--I mention it because if your friend is looking for one, it might help to search for both terms depending on what she's looking for.

01-13-2011, 01:53 PM
I know steampunk petticoats fall more into the historical definition than the relatively "contemporary" lolita style. The descriptions ya'll have given me are pretty much what I thought steampunk petticoats are like. Of course, most of the skirts from that era went all the way down to the ankles or floor, which makes the job of keeping them clean even more important. Kinda like how most people wore gloves with their outfits, as sinks weren't widely available and they didn't want to get crap on their clothes.
How full are steampunk skirts supposed to be? I don't think they're at Civil-War levels of fullness, but they definitely had some support to them. Depends on the class and occasion, like others have said.

01-13-2011, 02:00 PM
You can choose any fullness/width you like. Especially since this is pretendy fun times rather than historical reenactment. Go with whatever you like best or find most practical to get your hands on.

01-14-2011, 08:20 AM
So you're saying I could wear an epically poufy dress (with a skirt wider than it is long)(and just petticoats, no hoopskirts), and call it steampunk? AWESOME!! :toothy:

01-14-2011, 10:36 AM
Sure you could. Getting that amount of poof with petticoats will mean you're buying (and wearing) enough petticoat fabric to bury a car, but go nuts.

01-14-2011, 12:59 PM
LOL. I was just wondering. :P
Speaking of which. Are steampunk style petticoats made out of the same materials as lolita petticoats (like tulle, chiffon, organdy, etc)?

01-14-2011, 05:36 PM
There is no such thing a set steampunk style petticoat. What kind of skirt are you wanting to poof up? A longer ball gown type thing? A shorter almost Lolita style dress? A bell shape? An a line shape? Pick a petticoat that makes the shape you want and wear it with steampunk and bingo you have a steampunk petticoat.

01-14-2011, 08:04 PM
Well, since steampunk is a made-up style with many different avenues, you could go many ways with a "steampunk" petticoat. Victorian era petticoats, as mentioned, tended to be longer and more like an underskirt than the now-popular lolita and square dance petticoats. That said, there is no rule that a steampunk petticoat must be made any certain way. Steampunk is not attempting to create historical accuracy, rather a fantasy world inspired by a historical period. So feel free to use a petticoat and to make it however suits your costume or character!