Thursday, 13 December 2012

It's snowing down south

And these days it is snowing up North, too. What has the world come to? (I hear you cry!)

In the days of my long distant and incredibly repressed youth, underwear was precisely that. It was not supposed to be seen. It was Under what you wore.

In those days women wore petticoats. Now, it is such a long time since I had such a garment that I do not remember why we wore petticoats. Perhaps it was to prevent any possibility of skirts being sheer enough to permit any sort of glimpse of the female body. A petticoat prevented any such glimpses.

There were two kinds of petticoats: the full slip and the half slip. Half slips were easier, but were totally reliant on elastic in the waists,  and sometimes they took heed of the laws of gravity (that is to say they tended to head for the earth, rather than that they were frivolous in their very nature). When the disgraceful event occurred of a petticoat becoming visible, that is to say, below the hemline of the outer garment, to wit, the skirt, a helpful female would whisper, or mutter, somewhat sotto voce, 'It's snowing down south.' This would produce an embarrassed and surreptitious sort of wriggle, as the guilty female thus addressed would hoist the offending petticoat upwards, in defiance of the laws of gravity, so confidently propounded by Newton, although probably totally in ignorance of the implications for female underwear. Such wriggles were quite common, and I wonder whether the males within cooee were aware of the cause and the nature of such phenomena.

I have no idea whether the petticoat still exists, having long since abandoned them as a necessary or desirable item of female garb. However, old strictures die hard, and there lurks within me an ineradicable conviction that Underwear ought not to be seen, even fleetingly, let alone on  permanent display.

And if your bra was at all visible, this was totally embarrassing and shameful. Straps were to be concealed, and the rest of the infrastructure even more so. Goodness me, you could not even lean forward, in case a glimpse of the contents of the bra became apparent. Your boyfriend would reprimand you and say 'They are mine!' These days the reaction would be, what cheek, but I lived in less liberated times, and it took a while for such thinking to change.

These Days (what a Dated Expression this is!)  the world and the worm have turned, and mores have been totally abandoned and contradicted.

 It seems that underwear must be visible at all times. I suppose it saves a lot of people, both male and female, the trouble of wondering What Lies Beneath. For there it all is, in full display.

Bra straps. Not just the straps but that which they hold up. There is not much place for imagination or guesswork any more. And sometimes panties being evident either above or below the boundaries of the outer garments.

I have to keep slapping myself, metaphorically, to stop myself tapping some young (or not so young) thing on the shoulder and saying, 'Excuse me, dear, but your bra straps are showing'. Still less can I opine that it is 'Not a good look!'

Is it, in fact, these days, a good look? Is it sexy?

Does everything have to hang out?


VioletSky said...

I don't see it as being in the least sexy. Maybe I am old fashioned. Lingerie can be sexy, but that is worn indoors and is at its best when revealed after the opening of a silky négligée. I don't particularly want to see anyone's underwear when I am out shopping or eating or just trying to get home after a long day's work. Or at work, for that matter.

I have distant memories of petticoats - I greatly desired a crinoline one, until I had to wear it. Then realized it was not as glamorous as I had imagined.

Elephant's Child said...

The liberation from petticoats was marvellous. I do remember deciding I just wasn't going to play that game anymore - though given I am rarely out of trousers these days it wouldn't be an issue.
While I don't think bra straps on display add to the look of an ensemble it is the underpants on display that bother me most. Or worse the revealing of things which should be covered by same.
Grumpy old women unite!

Jan said...

I was told that petticoats made the skirt or dress hang better. I haven't worn one in years and years and I guess I'm around the same age as persiflage . My mother always wore one. In fact she wore one under her winter night-gown but that was probably for warmth. She died three years and would now be 93 were she alive. Am with you on both seeing undergarments and what they are supposedly concealing.

On a similar note I remember my grandmother always had a couple of safety pins in her handbag in case of a breakage in elastic. These days when it is actually sewn to knickers waist it lasts longer than when threaded through a tube at waistline. A threepenny piece could take the place of a suspender button so stockings didn't fall down.

Such a lot of useful knowledge tucked away in the past and not just about underwear.

Old recipes too. I made banana chutney the other day from a recipe from my great, great grandmother. It was good with ham.

Pam said...

I do wear a petticoat(though I'd call it an underskirt) or waist slip if I'm wearing an unlined skirt or dress. Not that this happens very often these retired days. But if you don't, the skirt sometimes sticks to the tights. Not a good look... .

Not keen on the visible underwear, though prefer it to the visible cleavage... .