(Text under picture)
My first memory,
evidently circa 1956, is of standing swaddled in several petticoats hanging in
my mother's closet. I was enveloped in softness. Later, at four, uninterested in
a mandatory afternoon nap, I used to take my mother's quilted satin bedspread
and wear it as a gown, pretending to strut about the "court" of the bed as a
queen. Still later, when six to eight, I would night after night sing-song
myself to sleep, imagining myself in layers of petticoats -- "All dressed up in
a petticoat, all dressed up in a petticoat."
For some reason petticoats have always been a part of my life. When I was eleven or so, I would return from school, change out of my Catholic school uniform, and look for the opportunity to "borrow" a half-slip from my mother, whether from her lingerie drawer, the laundry hamper or a drying rack in the basement. Somehow, my mother would always manage to have go out food shopping just as I arrived from school, leaving me to her half-slips. Soon, I added full slips, bras and girdles. An hour or so of bliss every day. Sadly, though, full petticoats had disappeared from the fashion front, and without a square dance tradition in suburban New Jersey in the 60's they were not to be seen.
I continued to be drawn to exquisite femininity, inspired by the likes of Eva Gabor (Green Acres) in all her finery, often including petticoated day dresses and bouffant loungewear. As I developed my own wardrobe, I came across the image of the classic French maid. I was smitten!
How sexy, how coquettish. The full and partially revealed bust, the tightly corseted waist, the very full skirt with petticoats surely to be displayed, with stocking tops and garters also designed for viewing! Plenty of frou-frou in delicate lace cuffs, matching lace collar, frilly cap, sheer and frilly apron - all so adorably sweet. And never sweeter than when the maid swishes gracefully - her high spiked heels clicking, her apron sliding atop the uniform, her nylon stockings kissing with each step. But the most discernible sound at each step is her petticoat swishing beneath her uniform dress, all the louder if she is wearing several petticoats and her uniform is taffeta.
Courtesy of vintage shops and the occasional brief resurgence in petticoats, I've been able to build a small collection of lovely petticoats of several types. But they do take up room, and my wife is always trying to keep me from taking over the house with all the frou-frou! Still, I am eager to find more dresses to accommodate the petticoats. I love the daytime dresses of the 50's, more modern cocktail dresses with full skirts, and some of the square dance dress fashions. Of course, the French maid uniform is my all-time passion, and I am always eager to serve any lady who appreciates classic femininity, especially if she is as enthralled by petticoats as I am.
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