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What is "Petticoat" - Definition & Explanation

A petticoat is an article of clothing for women; specifically an undergarment to be worn under a skirt (also known as underskirt) or dress. The petticoat is a separate garment hanging from the waist (unlike the chemise). The practice of wearing petticoats was well established by 1585. By the middle of the 20th century, the petticoat was rare, having been commonly replaced by modern undergarments.

Petticoats were worn throughout history by women who wanted to have the currently fashionable shape created by their clothing. The petticoat(s), if sufficiently full or stiff, would hold the overskirt out in a pleasingly domed shape and give the impression of a smaller waist than the wearer actually had. It would also complement the desired large bust. The petticoat was not worn to hide the legs, as twentieth century commentators later claimed; it actually enhanced the stylish figure in the centuries before female attractiveness was defined almost wholly by how much naked leg was showing, as has been the case since 1960. Petticoats were revived by Christian Dior in his New Look of 1947 and remained extremely popular during the 1950s, especially with teenage girls.

An underskirt usually a little shorter than outer clothing and often made with a ruffled, pleated, or lace edge.
This is an inner garment made for women/ girls tied over the waist which can be loose or tight depending on the upper garment.
A woman's skirt-like garment worn with a gown or jacket. Most gowns were open-fronted robes needing the addition of the petticoat to fill the gap. Quilted ones could be worn for both warmth and fashion. Underpetticoats of linen, wool, or cotton were added for warmth.
A thin piece of clothing worn under a dress or skirt.
A long flared draw-string skirt, worn underneath a sari to give it shape. Most of the sari is tucked into the waist band of the Petticoat and the end of the sari is draped over the shoulder.
Undergarment worn under a skirt

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