Crimson Reflections

Because sometimes the world is too complex for black and white
Lolita Fashion History

What Color Should My Petticoat Be?

A good petticoat (or three) is one of the most important things in a good lolita wardrobe. However, when you are just starting out, it can be hard to figure out what petticoat to buy. Today, we are going to look at petticoat color specifically. Some people assume that petticoat color is arbitrary, just get what you think looks cute, after all, no one will see it, right?

To a degree, this is true, however, there are some situations where the color matters. If you are just building your wardrobe, or if you don’t want to own a lot of different petticoats, picking versatile petticoats is important.

Sweet Lolita

First of all, if you are interested in sweet lolita, I recommend a white petticoat. White is the most versatile color for a sweet wardrobe. A lot of sweet prints, even darker colored ones, have white areas on the prints.

While, a darker colored petticoat might show through on fabric that isn’t totally opaque, a white one is pretty safe.

Other pastels like light pink, light sax (blue), or light mint are also relatively safe, the only thing is if your dress is say, pink, and your petticoat slips or moves, having a color like mint that contrasts is going to be more obvious than having white. A lot of sweet dresses have white or cream hem lace that a white petticoat blends into as well.

Another great thing about a white petticoat is that it’s not dyed any specific color, so there is no risk of dye transference between the petticoat and your skin, or the petticoat and your clothing.

Classic lolita

If you prefer classic lolita, and your wardrobe or dream wardrobe contains florals or anything like the above pastel pieces, white (or cream if you are really dedicated) is going to be your best bet again.

White, cream or offwhite won’t show through the lighter areas of prints on delicate fabrics, and there isn’t a risk of color transfer to your skin or the dress. And if you have a moment of petticoat peek, a lot of lighter colored dresses have offwhite or cream trim that will blend with the petticoat to make it less noticeable. So, if you are only going for one petticoat / one set of petticoats, a white, offwhite or cream petticoat is the safest choice for classic lolita.

Classic Lolita (Exclusively Dark Colors)


Gothic Lolita (Exclusively Dark Colors)

If your classic wardrobe is exclusively dark colors, and you haven’t fallen in love with a single lighter colored dress or skirt and never plan on doing so… or if you simply don’t mind buying extra petticoats, you might consider a black petticoat. This is going to be less obvious if it slips at the hem with a black or similarly dark dress. However, there are considerations.

A black petticoat is made of fabric that has been dyed black, and with some cheaper petticoats I’ve seen, like my old Classical Puppets one, they aren’t always colorfast. So if you buy a black petticoat, and you are planning on wearing it in the summer, I recommend washing it in cold water first and seeing if it bleeds. If it does, don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. Just rinse it thoroughly with clean, cold water until it stops. It might fade a tiny bit, but, it’s a petticoat, no one is going to see it 99% of the time, so this is ok.

If you have a petticoat that bleeds and you don’t do this, when it’s humid and hot in the summer, it could bleed and stain your skin or your dress.

Red and Other BOLD Colored Petticoats

Petticoats in bold or neon shades of red, purple, yellow, pink, orange, etc are out there, but they are not the best choice for lolita. Brightly contrasting petticoats are made to be seen, and they work as skirts for some types of dance, or other street fashions, like decora, for example.

Bright colors are more likely to show through thinner fabrics, they are more likely to transfer color which could stain your clothing or your skin, and they are far less forgiving if they slip past the hem of your dress.

At the end of the day, shape is more important than color, and in a perfect world, petticoat slips wouldn’t be a problem, but if you have a choice and don’t know what to pick, these are my recommendations.

What color is your favorite petticoat? Anyone else have petticoat bleeding problems like me? I swear it took me forever to figure out my black petticoat was bleeding. I though I just kept getting bruises on my back! Let me know in the comments!

Amendment – It’s come to my attention that it might seem like I’m advising people who wear multiple styles that they need multiple colors of petticoats. This is not the case. If you wear a style where white is recommended, go with white. White will work for everything. Other colors are really only suggested for people who exclusively wear one style. If you have been wearing lolita for a while and would like to spend the extra money and get more than one color, you absolutely can, I’m not going to say you can’t, but, most lolita don’t do this, and those who do, typically have white OR cream and black, not all three. I own both black and white (and a cream one, just by happenstance because it was cheaper than white), but I also own over 50 dresses. If you wear multiple styles and you wear dark colors a lot, it makes sense to invest in a black one eventually, but it’s not necessary to own multiple colors. The guide above assumes you are sticking with a single style. For anyone not doing that, I recommend white.

4 comments on “What Color Should My Petticoat Be?

  1. Most of my pettis are white, but I do have a pink petticoat. I don’t mind it, but it ends up being layered under another white petticoat anyway.

  2. I have white and pink petticoat, since like half my dresses are pink 🙂 Regarding color bleeding, you may want to dip the color bleeding piece into water mixed with vinegar, let it sit a while, then rinse well. Dont worry, it wont smell of vinegar. Vinegar is used to fix color into fabric so usually, first washing out the extra dye and then fixing the color in with vinegar works to stop the color bleeding.

  3. My favourite petticoat is a pastel pink organza one. My first petticoat was white and A-line for classic dresses. Sadly I lost it. I replaced it with a pastel blue organza one with white lace. The light colours never transferred to my skin, but I think they might have faded with time. Does anyone else notice this with their petticoats?

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