SPOTLIGHT SATURDAY: An Ode to Malco Modes’ Cosette Petticoat!

This week, I wanted to dedicate my Spotlight Saturday post to a company that’s often spoken of as the primary source for petticoats and crinolines for the vintage and pinup community. I’m going to add my voice to the dialogue and gush about my personal Malco Modes wardrobe staple – the gorgeous, 30-yard chiffon beauty that is the Cosette petticoat pictured below.

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Although I knew 1950s women’s clothing was often worn with slips and petticoats, I was wary of the costume-y look, anticipating comments thrown in my direction for what I wanted to be my daily style. However, when I got my first Pinup Girl Clothing order with their Lavender Deadly Dames Capris and Lavender Birdie Dress, I knew I wanted a little more oomph for the weight of the fabrics produced by the company I hoped to fill my closet with. After much sleuthing and checking out fellow PUG enthusiasts like Miss Victory Violet and Miss Amy May, I realized that the range of petticoats and crinolines offered by Malco Modes was unbeatable and that was the route I had to go.

I spent ages perusing their site and others’, temporarily toying with the idea of starting with cheaper petticoats, but knew that my skin couldn’t handle the itchiness of a crinoline with its stiff, scratchy netting against my sensitive skin, so narrowed my down to chiffon options. I was unsure about the amount of petticoat I wanted but I did know that I didn’t want that dreaded fall-off at the end of a petticoat when skirt and petti don’t quite match up, that I preferred a gentle slope out with more of a bell-shape if anything instead of a drastic flare, and that I wanted the extra oomph without breaking up the natural line of my Birdie dress and similar wardrobe items.

I ended up with the white Cosette, assuming it would be too long as the stock images show the petti hardly hitting above the model’s ankle, but knowing it might be the best amount of fullness for everyday-wear, and their black Jennifer, a shorter petti composed of 40 yards of soft chiffon with ruffled trim along the bottom for fancier days. The difference between the two is quite apparent.

I was stunned by the quality of the petticoats when I first received them (and by how minuscule they were able to make them for shipping purposes), and immediately tried them on under my Birdie dress. The Cosette surprisingly fit perfectly – didn’t peak out at the bottom, didn’t create any sort of dent, and made a soft difference so the skirt of the heavy dress didn’t hang in quite such a damp way. It made my silhouette more authentically 1950s immediately without a hint of the costume-y look. And since the length is adjustable, I was able to shorten it plenty when needed!

With the Cosette in its longest state, I find that gathered skirts that have a smaller sweep, and longer circle skirts work best:

With the waistband moved down one level to shorten it, I find it works with any kind of gathered skirt (long or short) like The Oblong Box Shop’s skirts, as well as shorter circle skirts like on Pinup Girl Clothing’s Heidi dresses:

Then I tried on the Jennifer. This petticoat fit much less easily under my Birdie. While the length was perfectly fine without any kind of fall-off, the drastic bell shape of the skirt from the ruffles sat strangely beneath the gathered skirt. Although the Jennifer looked infinitely more impressive when twirling and swinging around my dress (and boy was it fun to walk around in!) than the Cosette, the Jennifer sat rolled up in my closet for ages as the Cosette began to get daily use.

I ended up selling my Jennifer for money reasons without ever having worn it out (though many pinup gals prefer this petti, so photos are simple to find online!), but then eventually made the purchase of a second Cosette petticoat to layer over the one I already own in order to give myself more volume without having the fluffy trim. My original Cosette petti is now permanently kept shortened on the second setting and goes beneath my newer one for most of my Pinup Girl Clothing items and some of my vintage. Layering them like this helps keep the smooth line while getting that extra oomph.

I wear this combination with all of my Pinup Girl Clothing Jenny skirts and any other heavy skirt, vintage or reproduction, as they can handle that extra sweep and do so happily:

Although I love my two Cosettes, I’m still looking for something that gives me as much sweep as the original Jennifer petticoat without the awkward shaping. I’m hoping to try their Samantha style sometime in the future in hopes that perhaps the longer length might fix the problems I had with the Jennifer, but this style still has the puffy trim along the bottom.

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Have any of you tried the Samantha? What are your petticoat go-tos?


Miss Lark Bahar