Can You Wear a Petticoat Under the Maxi Dress?

Absolutely yes! You can wear a petticoat under a maxi dress.

I have come across persons who say you shouldn’t wear a petticoat under a maxi dress because it is not worthwhile and won’t give you the balance you desire.

But what is a petticoat in the first place?

A petticoat is an undergarment women wear underneath their skirts to give them a fuller silhouette and balance.

They are the foundation upon which dresses conform and were prevalent in the 1960s when women wore more swing dresses and were made from a type of net stiffer than the normal net.

I still wear petticoats when going to a dinner event,  prom, or date and they give me a perfect “ball gown” appearance.

They are not just restricted to luxury events, you can still wear petticoats outside a fancy event because they make a great fashion accessory and come in all kinds of colors and prints these days.

If you wear them under a maxi dress, you can have them peeking through a little bit below the hem giving you a “princess look” or just a few inches below the length of the maxi gown.

How you should wear a petticoat under a maxi dress

Petticoats aim to give you a beautiful balanced and fuller look and I am sure that is also what you wanted to attain before you purchased one.

Define the appearance you want to achieve

There are two types of appearance you get in a petticoat which are: the petticoat peeking out of the maxi dress and the petticoat staying rightly beneath the dress without peeking out.

Ensure they snug your waist properly

To get a harmonious look, you ought to wear a petticoat that fits closely and slides through your natural waist. This doesn’t entail the petticoat should be too tight that will make you uncomfortable.

The reason why it should grip your waist properly is that the manner with which it is placed underneath the maxi dress is the exact appearance it will give on the maxi dress.

The petticoat can also slide down your waist and so to avoid this, ensure they have a grip on your waist.

If you desire to have the petticoat peeking out, then place the petticoat on the bed or any flat surface, and then also place the maxi dress on it to see if the petticoat peeks out slightly below the hem of the dress.

If it does then you are on the right path to getting your desired look.

Wear it as the first piece before the maxi dress

After putting on the petticoat ensuring it is not too tight as earlier said, the petticoat should be the first piece you put on before the maxi dress, placing it slightly above your belly button.

You can wear it from the top or underneath your legs. Personally, I prefer wearing it before the maxi dress and from the top because it can be a little bit clumsy from down due to the layers of the petticoat.

After wearing a maxi dress, raise it and begin to arrange layer by layer on the petticoat to ensure that no layer is kept folded to give you a perfect ball gown shape.

For the sake of accuracy, use tape to measure the length of the gown. For this style, the petticoat should not be more than 2 inches longer than the gown.

Put on the petticoat after wearing the maxi gown

To employ this method while dressing up, you are to wear the maxi gown before the petticoat. While doing this, you need apt carefulness so it doesn’t get clumsy.

For those who would prefer the petticoat not peeking out, place the petticoat on the bed or any flat surface, and then place the maxi dress on it to ensure there is no fabric from the petticoat extending below the gown’s hem.

A measurement will give you a more accurate look, measure the length of the gown and minus two inches.

A petticoat meant to stay right beneath the maxi dress should be two inches lesser than the length of the gown.

Arrange the maxi dress layer by layer so it can perfectly fit with the petticoat and no one will be able to point out if you wore a petit coat or not.

Why do women wear petticoats under maxi dresses?

To give their dress a sexy/ balanced silhouette

Petticoats are of course an essential part of your vintage or retro wardrobe. They are not just essential as a fashion accessory but what you build your outfit upon.

They came into existence in the 19th century from the jupe skirt and were used as an undergarment to give a ball contour to the outer dress mostly skirts or maxi gowns by means of a sequence of whalebone bands.

Provide warmth in extremely cold terrains

Petticoats were originally a part of the Victorian women’s dress styles because of the level of cold they experienced in their terrain.

They wore so many layers of petticoats made from silk to provide warmth for them as silk is the most insulating of all the natural fabrics.

The weather used to be approximately 12 degrees with snowfall for at least 6 hours and it’s often that cold throughout the week with even more snowfall.


One last reason why petticoats are worn is for modesty. The length of the petticoat covered the women appropriately down to their legs showing almost no part of their skins.

When should you wear a petticoat?

When wearing maxi dresses

No doubt women desire to be all sexy and have their dresses fit them perfectly but in actual sense, it’s not always this way.

Many get discouraged when wearing maxi dresses to proms or dates because their body shape is sunk inside the gown.

If you have a maxi dress and desire for it to have a curvy/sexy silhouette, then you will be needing a petticoat.

A petticoat gives you the perfect shape you desire in your maxi dress. They are available in different shapes like the A-shape, fish shape, and slit designs.

For the A-shape, the petticoat layers start from the waist to give it a round ball shape. While the fish shape has its layers starting from the knee area up to the top of the feet to give it a fishtail silhouette.

When you want a fashionable appearance even in a very cold period

Asides from giving maxi dresses balance and a more appealing look, the petticoats are very good insulators and should be worn in places with very high weather conditions.

The petticoats are made with layers of silk and silk is a natural insulating fabric, the more the layers of the petticoat, the more it protects you from cold.

When you want a fashionable and decent appearance

Lastly, you should wear a petticoat when you desire to have a decent look. Petticoats have a full covering, giving you a very decent appearance.

With a petticoat, you can conform to any sitting position you want, and be rest assured that you’ve got the coverage you need.

How Long should a petticoat be under a maxi dress?

The length of a petticoat should be two inches above or below the hem of your maxi dress.

The length and fullness of your petticoat are the basis of having a well-fitted maxi dress.

Depending on the style of your maxi dress, you may desire to have a portion of your petticoat peeking through at the bottom of the hem of your maxi dress giving it a nice adornment or keeping it simple with the petticoat sticking out of your maxi gown.

To achieve the first look, the length of the petticoat should be at most 2 inches longer than the gown.

Before measuring the gown, put on the shoes you will be pairing with the gown with, and then measure the length of the gown so you’ll know what length of petticoat you are ordering.

Wearing the shoe you intend to may give the gown a shorter look, you may want to add an inch so that it appears balanced.

A petticoat not peeking out on the other hand is not to be at the same length as your maxi gown or way shorter than the gown as it will have an obviously unbalanced appearance.

The petticoat should be one or two inches shorter than the maxi gown, this will make it lap rightly under the maxi gown and not peek out.

What type of petticoat should I wear under a maxi dress?

The type of petticoat you should wear is dependent on the style of the maxi gown you have or purchase. It could be a floating maxi dress, a tunic dress, a fit and flare dress, or a skater dress.

Generally, a maxi dress is suitable for females with a pear silhouette, more like an A shape figure.

One thing you need to understand is that no matter your body shape when you wear a petticoat, it no longer conforms to your body shape but to the shape of the petticoat.

A person who doesn’t have this shape can still have a nice fit when wearing a maxi dress if they use the right petticoat. That being said, the appropriate type of petticoat you should wear with a maxi dress is an A-shape petticoat.

Imagine wearing a fish-shaped petticoat under a  gown that is loosely fitted from either waist to bottom or top to bottom.

It will alter the shape of the dress and this is why an A-shape petticoat fits better because it conforms appropriately to almost every shape of maxi dresses.


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