What is a Slip, Petticoat or Hoopskirt?

Slips, crinoline petticoats and hoop skirts are all bridal undergarments designed to enhance the look of your wedding dress.  Without a slip or a wedding petticoat, your bridal gown may look droopy or have unnecessary folds that detract from the overall appearance. It is crucial to have your wedding dress slip on hand when making alterations, as this wedding undergarment will often affect the fit of the wedding gown.  The fullness of the bridal crinoline can also have a major impact on the length of the hem.

In the world of wedding undergarments, ‘petticoat’ and ‘crinoline’ are two terms which are often loosely used in reference to bridal slips.  A crinoline or wedding petticoat is made with many layers of netting or other fabrics to create the necessary fullness.

The hoop skirt is another option for adding fullness to your gown.  A hoop skirt creates fullness using coated metal wires or flexible hoops rather than layers of materials.  With so many options to choose from, how do you know which will work best with your gown?

The choice between a wedding petticoat and a hoop skirt is based mostly on personal preference. Hoop skirts are ideal for a bride who does not want material against her legs, especially if the wedding is during the hot summer months.  The hoop slip also provides better support for heavier fabrics.  The main drawback to the hoop skirt is that it can be more difficult to sit in than a petticoat.  Its rigid structure also makes it more difficult for the bride to get into and out of a car.
There are three key attributes to consider when selecting a wedding petticoat:


  • Wedding Dress Material: A heavier fabric may require a fuller slip or a hoop skirt to hold the fabric away from the bride’s body, maintaining the proper fullness.  With a petticoat slip, if the dress material is very heavy it will scrunch the crinoline against the legs.


  • Bridal Hem Fullness:  When purchasing a wedding petticoat or hoop skirt, you will need to know the circumference of the hem of the dress to ensure adequate fullness without making the dress appear overstuffed.


  • Preferred Waist Closure:  Depending on the fit for your gown, a drawstring closure maybe needed for the precise fit of any wedding dress. 


Crinolines can also help during the alteration process.  Wedding petticoats often lift the dress off the floor an additional one to two inches, which maybe be enough to bypass hem alteration all together. For example, if the wedding dress arrives needing a one-inch shortening of the hem, it may be possible the bridal crinoline will actually resolve the problem by elevating the wedding gown by just that amount.  This may save you money in the long run when you consider the fact that hem alterations can run up to $175 depending on the dress.

Finally, wedding gowns should be an inch off the floor when the bride is wearing the actual shoes she plans to use with the gown. The crinoline should not show and therefore should be at least two inches off the floor.