Tag : lingerie-2

A Little Story about Slips

The slip is the successor to the older petticoat and chemise as worn during the Edwardian era. While the chemise covered the entire torso down to below the knee, the petticoat was worn from the waist down only and often gave shape to the outer garment.

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A slip can be a full slip or a half slip (covering the waist down).

First dating from the late 1910’s and the early 1920’s, the slip is a lightweight garment worn under dresses and skirts, over the top of briefs and bra. Commonly used fabrics include nylon, silk, rayon, and cotton. Today microfibre and bamboo are also used to make some slips. In the past, satin and taffeta were favoured for wearing under sheer dresses of the same colour.

Traditionally, slips were made mostly in neutral tones of white, blush, beige and black.

Styles reflected each decade:

1920s – loose and tubular with little embellishment

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1930s – plain but cut on the bias

1940s – the bust is well defined in the slip and it is more likely to be embellished with trims in lace – rayon the most common fabric

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1950s – definition and embellishment are enhanced. The bra-slip appeared, combining the bra and slip into a single garment. Silk, nylon and satin are common.

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1960s – smoother of fit, shorter in length, slips were more often made in bright colours and printed fabrics

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Today’s slips are generally very plain, with minimal embellishment. They are worn purely to combat sheer garments, and these days most garments of this type are lined, so the need for a slip has diminished greatly. Whereas in decades past a woman was not considered to be properly dresses without a slip, today they are the exception.

Slips however can still be very sexy, and a pleasure to wear…

 

 

A Fetish for Stealing Undies

Just a couple of months ago, an hilarious news story was reported in which a Chinese man, having stolen and stashed hundreds of pieces of women’s lingerie, was exposed when a ceiling collapsed under the weight of his hidden stash.

Located in the southeast Chinese city of Yulin, the man, aged in his thirties, who later admitted to psychiatric issues and a lifelong obsession with women’s lingerie, had been stealing and hiding the underwear in a ceiling above an emergency exit in his building. After the ceiling collapse, police found more than two thousand items, including bras and panties hidden in the roof.

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The underwear had, seemingly, been stolen from other residents in the offender’s housing complex – they had been complaining of missing and vanishing underwear for some time. The offender had accessed a master key and entered the other residents’ apartments during their absence with the sole aim of stealing and hoarding their underwear.

He stored his stolen items in his own ceiling, until he ran out of room there; at this point he accessed the ceiling cavities in communal fire escapes.

This is not the only underwear burglar to make his way to infamy in the news recently. A Singaporean man who had been stealing lingerie from women’s indoor washing lines was caught in the act – and was publicly shamed into wearing one of the stolen bras as he was paraded around the block.

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Why do men steal women’s underwear?

  • Some men want a kinky keepsake of their sexual encounters with a specific woman.
  • Some men get off on the risk of pinching something intimate.
  • Some men get off on the thrill of stealing – full stop – and getting away with it.
  • Some men have a fetish for worn underwear. There is even an industry for selling and buying worn (and unwashed) panties. Japan even sells used panties in vending machines, alongside tobacco products and beer, so extreme is this fetish in that country.

What causes a man to have an underwear fetish? A Japanese study used MRI scanning technology to look at the brains of men with self-confessed panty fetishes, and found that decreased blood flow to the temporal and occipital lobes of the brain was a factor in all subjects.  Whether this is a cause or just a correlation is unknown. Like all fetishes, it begins in early life and is usually triggered by an event.

Knickers Snippets…

  • Acquired from the estate of the late Baron Joseph de Bicske Dobronyi, and auctioned on eBay in 2012, a pair of underwear reputed to have belonged to Queen Elizabeth II sold for US $18,000. Described as a “museum quality collectible”, the panties were mistakenly left onboard a chartered plane in 1968, which was used that year during the queen’s first trip to Chile. Kept in a marked, manila envelope ever since, the knickers are vintage silk, with a scripted monogram “E” on them, and have an exquisitely crocheted lace hem. Buckingham Palace refused to confirm nor deny whether these undergarments did in fact once belong to the queen.

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  • A pair of bloomers worn by Marilyn Monroe during the making of 1954’s River of No Return sold at auction in 2012 for US $44,000.  The item had been kept by her long-time makeup man, Alan Whitey Snyder, and was auctioned along with many other of her belongings which were kept by his estate.

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  •  Crooner Frank Sinatra was very slight in both stature and body size – for much of his life he could even have been considered to be unhealthily thin and of no manly shape. He was, however, very generously endowed in the manhood department. Contrary to expectation, Sinatra was not proud of this fact – quite the opposite, he was very self-conscious. He even had his underwear custom-made to ensure that everything was properly contained.

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  • A pair of periwinkle coloured silk underpants custom made for Elizabeth Taylor to wear in 1963’s Cleopatra we auctioned in 2014 for US $1875. They have small snap closures, hand sewing, and a costume label inscribed with her name.

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  •  A pair of soiled underpants belonging to Elvis Presley failed to sell at auction in 2012. Worn in 1977 under a jumpsuit, during what would have been one of his final performances, the style was chosen by the King as they did not give visible lines under the tight fitting jumpsuit. A reserve price of US $10,000 was set but failed to be reached – perhaps because they were visibly dirty?

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Bridal Lingerie – An Evolution

One of a bride’s most important considerations, second only to her choice of wedding gown, is her choice of bridal lingerie. Just as fashions have evolved over time, so too have the styles and trends in bridal lingerie…

  • Minoan women in ancient Crete saw their breasts as symbols of power. They wore strips of leather around their breasts, pushing them out from the clothing, fully exposed, to achieve a warrior’s appearance.

 

  • Ancient Greek and Roman women bound rather than enhanced their breasts. They used bands of gauze under their loose shift dresses to flatten and support the breast.

 

  • During the Dark Ages, women of European cultures wore no lingerie, save for a plain and shapeless linen shift under their dresses.

 

  • By the Fourteenth Century, early corsetry was coming into vogue. Women not only cinched their waists, but flattened their breasts, achieving a straight and flat front to their torsos.

 

  • Elizabethan-era women wore decorative undergarments, with lace trims, whale-boned corsets, and an early version of the “bustle” to enhance the hips.

 

  • Despite the reputation for being prim, proper, and very buttoned up, the Victorians of the Nineteenth Century embraced colourful, lacy, embellished undergarments. Silk, frilly pantaloons were popular amongst the wealthy; garters were invented to hold stockings in place; and corsetry evolved to accentuate the breasts. Bridal dresses were, for the first time, most commonly white, and lingerie was worn to complement this.

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Over the following century, bridal wear became an industry in and of itself, and bridal lingerie also came into its own. Today, bridal lingerie serves two distinct purposes: to make the bride look and feel sexy, seductive, and beautiful, and also to create the perfect silhouette under the bridal gown. Depending upon the style of bridal gown chosen, today’s bride might wear a backless bodysuit, a bustier and thong, suspenders and stockings, a bridal petticoat, a push-up, plunge, or adhesive bra, and, of course, a garter. The choices are almost endless.

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Underwear and Good Health

  • For optimum health, men and women should both opt for cotton underwear. Cotton is breathable, comfortable, and absorbs moisture – thus reducing bacteria growth. Still love the satin, lace or polyester briefs? Satin and lace undies are so pretty – yet they aren’t so good for you. Think of them as you would sweets – a “sometimes” treat, but not a daily go-to staple. And make sure they always have a cotton gusset.

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  • Many modern fabrics are even better than cotton at wicking sweat and keeping the wearer drier. And make sure they always have a cotton gusset. But don’t be fooled by “silver infused” antimicrobial undies – just a few washes and at least half the silver is gone. Not worth the money, is it?

 

  • What is healthier – underwear or going commando? It all comes down to fabric choice. The groin is a warm and moist environment – a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Cotton undies will catch and absorb sweat, so should be worn for optimal health. There are, however, some pants and shorts these days made with inbuilt “undies” – with antibacterial wicking fabrics. In these cases, undies aren’t really necessary.

 

  • Another underwear “staple” that really shouldn’t be worn every day is the high control shape wear so many of us rely on for a smooth (and slimmer) shape. Great for a night out or a special occasion, care should be taken that the right size is chosen. Don’t go too tight!! Frequent wearing of shape wear, or wearing pieces that are too tight, can lead to a myriad of health problems – from heartburn to pain, bloating to flatulence, digestive upset and incontinence. Other risks include pain and numbness or tingling in the legs and feet, poor circulation, varicose veins, swollen ankles and even blood clots. Finally, moisture is often trapped by these garments – resulting in skin irritations and infections. The moral of the story? Keep your shape wear for certain occasions or outfits – not for everyday wear.

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  • Love your thong or g-string? It might not actually love you. Fabulous under tight clothing, it is actually a hazard if worn for too long or for exercising. The issue is not only if the thong is too tight (ouch!) but that it acts as a wick, drawing moisture from the rear towards the urinary tract – leading to possible infections. Again – wear “sometimes”, not “always”.

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Everything in moderation – what better reason than to have an underwear wardrobe containing many kinds of undies?

Bizarre and Shocking Underwear Inventions

  • A controversial new line of lingerie called “Find Me if You Can” is creating waves as a modern day chastity belt for the digital age: the lace bodice, bikini bottom, and faux pearl collar is engineered with a GPS device in the bodice. It is actually a cheeky nod to women as, even if their partner programs the device, the woman can turn it off – if she has the password. While feminists decry the invention as the epitome of sexism and male dominance over women, some women are hailing it as a potential lifesaver for when they are out alone.

 

  • Truly bizarre is the line of knickers called the “Winter Coat” – women’s underwear with a pubic hair design on the front in the anatomically appropriate place. The real thing may not be back in style, as the continuing market for Brazilian bikini waxes attests, but faux pubic hair is apparently a fashion must have … somewhere, anyway.

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  • Japanese arm of triumph International has introduced an eco-friendly bra with reusable chopsticks in a pocket at the side seam. The cups guarantee a definite bust as well; made of half- bowls, one is steamed rice and the other miso soup. Interesting.

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  • Introducing the “Strapless Panty”: from company Shibue Couture, this piece of apparel eliminates all chances of any panty line at all. A piece of silicone at the front and another at the back keep it in place – apparently.

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  • A new range of fetish wear inspired by French ladies of the sixteenth century has been produced by designer Nona de Samin. The “Breezy” Lingerie consists of backless panties and French knickers, made of cotton and silk, reminiscent of a time when women wore no underwear. It was believed at the time that an open crotch and buttock was more hygienic. From the front, the underwear appears “normal’; from behind, the derriere is bare.

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  • Push Up Undies for men – for the guy who’d like a little extra oomph for his … assets. Enough said.

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  • Novelty men’s undies from Japan are available in gold, silver, red, blue, and sequins. They have a metal tap (faucet) at the front. We don’t know why, either!

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The Humble Bra – Part 3

In the 1950s, in a post-war society, women wanted glamour – and lots of it. After years of deprivation due to World War II, fashionable women emulated Hollywood stars who wore uplifting bras that seemed to achieve the impossible. Berlei, Triumph and Maidenform were big players in the manufacture and sale of quality bras that were not only functional but beautiful as well. The style of the time was for a pointed, circular, conical shape.  “Sweater Girls” like Lana Turner and Jayne Mansfield, and clever advertising, inspired everyday women to pay close attention to the appearance of their breasts under clothing.

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In the 1960s, bras were well designed to look good under knitted dresses. Rubber parts were eliminated and Lycra fittings became the norm.  Then when Yves Saint Laurent showcased a sheer blouse worn with no bra, feminists responded with ire and demanded women burn their bras. In reality, bras were not actually burned (except as publicity stunts) and most women did not abandon their bras, though attitudes to their wear did relax somewhat. Bras became less structured and from 1965, transparent sheer fabrics were sometimes used for their construction. Women who had worn bras to bed now slept braless for the first time in many years.

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The pointed shape of the 1950s made way for a more natural look. Then in 1968 the first Wonderbra was produced by Gossard, to lift and enhance cleavage like never before.

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Bra slips were also popular in the 1960s: an all-in-one underwired cleavage bra and short mini slip, worn with panties and tights under a mini dress. This was the least women had ever worn!

The 1970s saw bras made seamlessly and in fabrics with colour, prints, and nude tones. The braless, natural look was in vogue. The eighth season of TV show Bewitched, for example, saw Elizabeth Montgomery create a stir as Samantha when she was obviously braless in certain scenes and outfits.

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Women in the 1980s became very body conscious and erotic lingerie a la Dynasty and Dallas inspired camisoles, bodysuits and teddies.

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Cleavage and shape were again popular in the 1990s and the Wonderbra made a comeback. Bras were at times worn as outerwear by celebrities such as Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker.

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Today there are bras for every circumstance, look, and occasion: sports, maternity, training, strapless, T-shirt, sexy, convertible, plunge, push-up, everyday, novelty, bridal… who knows what the future will bring in bra styling?

The Humble Bra – Part Two

In 1889, Herminie Cadolle, a French corsetiere, invented what we think of as the first modern bra. Called the “corset-gorge”, it was a two piece garment which consisted of a corset for the bust, and a lower corset for the waist. She described it as “designed to sustain the bosom and supported by the shoulders”. Cadolle patented her invention and showed it at the Great Exhibition of 1889.

In 1893 Marie Tucek patented a breast supporter which was very similar to what we today recognise as a bra: shoulder straps, separate “cups” to support the breasts, and hook and eye closures. Initially, the design was not particularly comfortable to wear.

1907 saw Vogue magazine use the word “brassiere” for the first time. In 1915, a New York socialite named Mary Phelps Jacob patented the “backless brassiere”, made of two handkerchiefs and a pink ribbon. It was sold under the name “Caresse”. By the end of World War I, bra sales had taken off.

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 During the 1920s, the fashion was to flatten the bust as much as possible, effecting an androgynous look.

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But things were soon to change after Russian immigrant Ida Rosenthal formed a company in 1922 with her husband: Maidenform. Bras had bust cups, which were attached to elastic, uplifting the breasts rather than flattening them. Thus by the 1930s, a curvier silhouette was more fashionable, and A B C D sizing charts came to be early in that decade.

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World War II saw the necessity for bras to be more durable for women working in factories and on farms. In 1941, inventor and billionaire Howard Hughes used his vast engineering skills to design a bra for Hollywood actress Jane Russell: it was underwired and cantilevered, with the intention of emphasising her considerable assets. Curved steel rods under each cup were connected to the shoulder straps; it pulled the breasts upwards and allowed the straps to sit away from the neck, resulting in any amount of breast to be exposed as desired.

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For the rest of this decade and into the 1950s, the busty sweater girl look was the height of style. Bras were inspired by the military, with conical and torpedo shapes very common. “Lift and separate” was the catchcry of breast fashions.

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In the 1950s, bras and girdles were designed to be as glamorous as possible…

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 Stay tuned next time for Part 3 and the conclusion of the story of the humble bra.

 

The Starring Role of Underwear in the Cinema

There are almost countless cinematic scenes in which underwear takes a starring role – and not just recent films, either. In the very early days of Hollywood, before the censors went berserk, things were surprisingly risqué … but even after the conservative viewpoint won out, lingerie and underwear has made regular appearances on the big screen – some very memorable for all the right reasons, some memorable as the image we wish we could un-see, and some not memorable at all.

So let’s take a look at just a snippet of those classic movie scenes we won’t be forgetting anytime soon – the good, that is.

Janet Leigh in Psycho.

This Hitchcock thriller from 1960 brought an unprecedented level of violence and open sexuality to the big screen – Leigh’s character is even seen in bed with a man she’s not married to! Her lacy bras, high waisted panties and half slips are ever so sexy…

 

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Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8

Playing a prostitute, Taylor wears what is possibly cinema’s most famous full-slip in a “morning after” scene. She later leaves the apartment with nothing over it but a fur coat…

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Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch

Filming for this scene in 1954 created a furore on the streets of Manhattan – and spelled the end of Monroe’s marriage to Joe DiMaggio – who thought a “lady” would never allow herself to be seen thus! She wore two pairs of knickers for this scene, to protect her modesty from the gust of wind from the subway below … fans were delighted, filmmakers were delighted, and manufacturers of white briefs with lace trim were delighted as well. And all it took was a glimpse.

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Anne Bancroft in The Graduate

A variety of lingerie scenes were part of this film, but by far the most famous image is that of “Mrs Robinson” peeling off her black silk stockings for Hoffman’s character as he nervously looked on. Hosiery was used as a sexy plot device to illustrate the nature of Mrs Robinson’s predatory urges…

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Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies

The film may not be considered a classic, but the striptease scene of Jamie Lee Curtis certainly is. The high cut black lace g-string and balconette bra the actress wore for this scene were actually her own. Lucky husband!

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Sigourney Weaver in Alien

Never has a pair of bikini briefs and a mannish singlet been so appealing to the eye. Weaver’s character spent much of the movie scantily clad as she worked on the ship and  battled slimy extra-terrestrials.

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Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones

Shapewear came into its own and was no longer something we were embarrassed about when Bridget Jones pulled out her “enormous mummy panties”. We could all laugh along as she struggled into them, expending as much energy to do so as a good gym session would take. And the lecherous cad, Daniel Cleaver, wasn’t even turned off by them. Collective sigh of relief from women the world over.

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Where Have All The Petticoats Gone?

Like other undergarments, petticoats have a long and illustrious history, the story of which we will embark on another time. But the question for today remains: where have all the petticoats gone?

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 A petticoat goes by many other names: chemise, slip, camisole if covering only waist up, half-slip if just covering the waist down. True petticoats are often puffy and layered; slips or chemises are sleek and more fitted.

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Once a staple of everyday wear, with many of them in every woman’s wardrobe, a petticoat is traditionally an underskirt. The petticoat or slip was, even thirty years ago, considered by many to be an essential wardrobe item for any well-dressed “lady” while wearing a dress or skirt. Whether a dress or skirt was sheer or not, a lady was not considered to be fully dressed unless, like stockings or pantyhose, she was wearing a petticoat. Many older ladies continue to view a petticoat as a daily essential item of clothing.

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 Oftentimes a petticoat was required to give outer clothing its shape; layers of tulle petticoats were common under full skirted designs in the 1950s. Today, these garments usually have the required petticoat sewn in permanently as part of the whole.

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Slips were also very handy in disguising the lines of bras, underwear and stocking suspenders. Coloured underwear worn under paler clothing was not an issue either, when a slip was worn.

Today, the fashion of wearing petticoats or slips for daily wear, which was common in the 1950s and 1960s, has passed.  But while the fashion has changed, and many women (particularly younger women) have the philosophy that “less is more” when it comes to wearing a slip or petticoat, there are still times when almost every woman will be glad to have at least one of these garments in her wardrobe:

  • A slip allows a dress or skirt to hang smoothly
  • Warmth: want to wear that summery dress but it’s just a tad chilly? That extra layer underneath, while thin, can make the world of difference
  • Wearing a slip makes one feel just that little bit more put-together
  • If you want to wear a full-skirted dress and minimise your waist, wearing a layers petticoat is the perfect way to achieve the look.
  • Sheer dresses or skirts often just need a slip – for modesty and, let’s face it, to look ideal. Wearing a slip is simply classy.
  • Many fabrics can be uncomfortable or chafe against the skin; solution: wear a slip!
  • A slip will protect your clothing from perspiration in hot weather – the downside is that it’s another layer to wear. A cotton slip under synthetic clothing is, however, cooler and more comfortable in the heat than synthetic against skin.

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While most of us might not regularly wear a petticoat or slip, they are readily available – and are an investment every classy woman should have in her wardrobe!