Saturday, 28 January 2012

Underneath it all- a few words about panties


After girdles and bras I think it’s time to talk a bit about underpants. Or panties, knickers, briefs, drawers- there’s a Swedish idiom that say that a beloved child has many names, and that’s seems to be true for the most intimate of all undergarments. It’s also a rather new one. Knickers have been worn under gowns earlier, but not until the 19th century it became more common. At the beginning of the 20th century, underpants were voluminous things that reached at least to the knees.




Perhaps not very sexy by today’s standards, but I have no doubt that this lady looked very risqué back then. She’s even smoking!



Being so wide it's sometimes hard to see if these are knickers or just a petticoat, but I think they are the former here.




When the skirts grow shorter, underpants grew shorter too. Through the 1920’s-1940’s they seem to have been cut basically the same, a boxer short style often in very sheer fabrics and decorated with lace.




1920's French silk knickers.



1930's black silk knickers, absolutely to die for.





I have two of my grandmother’s Greta’s cotton underpants from the late 30’s/early 40’s and they are extremely sheer and delicate, with lovely lace inserts.



There were also a more modest style around, “directoire knickers” that went down to the knees.



Though I admit that they don’t look so modest in this ad from 1910...



Underpants were also knitted and you can quite easily find knitting patterns from the 30’s and 40’s, usually with a matching vest or bra.



By the end of the 40’s underpants seems to become more fitted, especially after the war and fabrics when stretch and various man-made fibers became more common.





Underpants like these from the fifties can easily be found today, even if they nowadays have little sisters that are much, much briefer. If you excuse the pun.







Weekdays panties is obviously not a new invention.



(Picture sources: http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/search?q=underwear&page=6
https://www.salonofthedames.com/buy/product/exquisite-edwardian-irish-crochet-lace-knickers
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jupiterdesigns/2267486789/in/faves-marlabella/
http://costumediaries.blogspot.com/2011/03/edwardian-combination-underwear.html
http://experimentsinelegance.blogspot.com/2011/03/edwardian-garters.html
http://sannie.webblogg.se/2008/april/
http://noseq.com/imagenes/12922180/joan-blondell-una-erotica-y-bella-dama-vintage/
http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/80034947?rpp=20&pg=1&ft=*&what=Underpants&pos=19
http://romantichistory.blogspot.com/2011/10/vintage-style-underwear-part-1.html
http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/80093733?rpp=20&pg=4&ft=*&what=Underpants&pos=62
http://choose-fashion-sweatshirts.tumblr.com/
http://cache2.artprintimages.com/p/LRG/55/5587/I16VG00Z/art-print/la-vie-parisienne-glamour-erotica-underwear-magazine-france-1910.jpg
http://thevintageknittinglady.com/underwear.html
http://www.etsy.com/listing/82202225/vanity-fair-toddys-underwear-vintage
http://www.stylehive.com/bookmark/1940s-vintage-panties-lot-of-3-nos-old-store-stock-size-s-482166
http://retrotrend.tumblr.com/
http://www.poshgirlvintage.com/1940s-black-sheer-stripes-panties-p-1455.html
http://a-red-lipstick.blogspot.com/2010/07/knickers-and-bras.html
http://imaginechelsea.tumblr.com/)

18 comments:

Ms. L. Griffin said...

Lovely post :)
What did they do with those billowing pants when it was their time of the month though?? xx

Isis said...

Ms L. Griffin: Thank you! Well, I don't think you connected the two things really. Some kind of protection must have been worn long before panties were generally worn and even in the 40's not everyone in rural areas in Sweden wore panties, which was probably true for other countries too. So I think you devised some kind of "nappy" for those times, using rags or moss to absorb. Otehrwise every woman would have gone around with bloodstained clothes for centuries. :)

Kristina said...

I think they used a special girdle for periods.

Isis said...

Kristina: I'm sure you are right. :)

monika said...

I've seen pictures of pads that were attached to a belt back and front.

pimpinett said...

My mother remembers (with a certain amount of horror) a pad that was attached to a belt. Apparently the attachment points were sometimes visible through fitted clothes, so people could see when you were having your period. Probably not very comfortable, either. I think something like that was the usual solution for the first half of the 20th century, possibly earlier as well.

Jacqui said...

I hate to admit this but yes, I wore those belts with pads attached to them when I first started that time of month. And yes, they were not pleasant!

Isis, that's a really interesting history of underwear! Nice post!

Jacqui said...

I also meant to say thanks for following my blog!

Isis said...

monika, pimpinett & Jaqui: That do sounds very uncomfortable! It's rather interesting actually, but not something you ever heard anything about. Not very glamorous, I suppose, but still a very vital problem for a woman.

Jaqui: My pleasure- I thought I already followed but appearantly not!

sewvintage said...

I saw an old lady in a TV History documentation who said that she was sometimes wearing the girdle deliberately when she went to a dance for ... well only dancing, because it would put the guys off.

Isis said...

sewvintage: That's quite funny! And they must have been quite noticeable then, yes. :)

Mrs J said...

Those 1920s silk knickers are just adorable!

Isis said...

Mrs J: Oh yes! :D

jersey rose said...

what was that movie with the 2 girls called?

Isis said...

jersey rose: I don't know. If title isn't in the links, the sixth and seventh on the bottom of the page, then I don't know where to find it.

jersey rose said...

Its The Night Nurse 1931.

Isis said...

jersey rose: Thank you!

Aire Bra said...

aire bra
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