Had you said that to me three months ago, I would have agreed with you. I mean really – who would want to wear those things anyway? Scratchy… cumbersome… poufy!
When I first started embracing modern pin-up fashion, I saw no need for these mounds of tulle and fluffiness. To me, the only place for them was under princess costumes, southern belle dresses or square dancing skirts. I mean, c’mon; anyone remember Giselle in Enchanted? Who wants to get stuck in doorways? Plus, they seemed to take the look too far into the past for me to be able to wear it on a regular basis and not look out of place.
‘Besides’, I thought. ‘These are modern versions of vintage dresses. They’re made differently. You don’t need the petticoat, right?’
Wanting to test out my new look at work, I donned my brand new cherry pin-up dress like any other dress in my collection. No one seemed too freaked out as I made the long journey to my desk at the back of the building. ‘Okay,’ I breathed. ‘Going good so far…’
You are probably wondering what the big deal was. Prior to this, I was never really known as a fashionista among my colleagues. Believe me; my motto could have been, “Business is business. If you want fashion, go look elsewhere.” But as I realized how flattering and at home I felt in vintage fashions, something happened… I actually felt beautiful, and wanted people to notice. At the same time, my lack of confidence and fear of rejection made me one nervous cat on the catwalk.
Fast-forward an hour or two. I got up from my desk and started making the long trek down the hallway. I tend to walk with a pretty long gait and sense of purpose anyway, and my ever-growing confidence only strengthened that walk. Then about halfway down the room, I decided to glance down…
Have you ever seen that movie, Miss Congeniality, and that scene where Michael Caine’s character is spraying hairspray up Sandra Bullock’s backside as she prepares for the swimsuit competition?
“What are you doing?”
“It stops the suit from riding up.”
“Riding up where?”
Suddenly I wished I had that can of hairspray. There was no other way to describe it. And of course, right as I made my discovery, who would be coming my way but a male co-worker waving and smiling, “Hello, Liz!”
I don’t know what would have been more red – the cherries on my dress, or my face. Screaming in my mind as I dashed to the ladies’ room, I attempted to fix the problem and find some way of preventing it again. But what could have caused it, I wondered?
With the scrutiny of Dick Tracy hot on a case, I analyzed my possible suspects when I got home. Culprit number one was the pantyhose. Fine, ditch those when I wear this dress. It seemed to make it better, but the dress was still moving north to Yellowknife when I walked. What on Earth could it be?
Needless to say, my beloved dress hung sadly in the closet for a while. So did my newfound confidence. Making my way back to the shop where I bought it, I asked the staff what could have caused the problem. At first, even the owner was baffled. She herself had the same dress, and had never experienced the problem. Then again, she always wore hers with a petticoat. And that’s when we figured it out.
Modern petticoats seem to come in two main sizes. I settled on a knee-length one that would tuck neatly under the longer dress, but I had to wait about a month or two to get it. This fluffy accessory wasn’t cheap, you know; I had to make the purchase worth it.
Then came the moment of truth. I had to face my fear head on. Wearing the full ensemble, I prepared for the worst as I went to work that day. By quitting time, I could not believe it. It actually worked! One of my co-workers even asked me to twirl in front of everyone!
Not only that, I felt like I was sitting on a soft pillow all day. The Sit Test is one of the most important to me when it comes to clothes, and this garment certainly got my seal of approval. And who doesn’t want a glamorous way to stay warm without having to don long underwear?
Petticoats are indeed making a comeback, and I’m a firm believer that any vintage fashion enthusiast needs at least one. In Alberta, petticoats are available at the Drunken Sailor and Blame Betty in a variety of colors and lengths. If you know of any other stores in Canada that carry them, please leave a shout in the comments section and spread the word.
Now if only I can figure out a solution to my new problem: trying not to feel like an injured dog wearing a veterinarian’s cone and bumping into things as my *ahem* “sphere of influence” has increased… 🙂
Always with love,
The Canuck Pin-up