Bill Haley & The Comets‘ pioneering rock ‘n’ roll got the screaming teenagers off the auditorium chairs and out onto the floor, where the jitterbug was the latest dance craze. This new style of swinging music put saddle shoes and socks to work and turned the simple circle skirt into a work of art. You could say goodbye to the plain Jane sock hoppers when the poodle skirt hit the floor.
No, the poodle skirt was not fashion for pooches, but it was a canvas for burgeoning artists. No bobby soxer would be complete without her wool felt skirt with a customised poodle appliqué. The poodle skirt was usually fashioned out of stiff wool felt, so that with the additional lift of net crinolines, the skirt would poof out to display the creative designs on the front.
The main objective was to have the fullest skirt possible so that your appliqué would be almost flat and seen clearly. Were parents responsible for this clever separation device? With such full skirts, boys and girls couldn’t get close enough to engage in the yet-to-be-discovered “dirty dancing”.
The poodle skirt was a great way to showcase your artistic talents, and girls stitched more than just the curly-haired pooch onto their skirts. Competition was fierce for the title of the keenest skirt, and weeks were spent cutting felt and pasting sequins. Cats, fish, dice, flamingos, cars, and even Scottie dogs in tartan (plaid) sweaters and sequined leashes walked across the skirt.
Just don’t pair your poodle skirt with your cat-eye glasses unless you want a rock ’em sock ’em hopping good time.