I was fortunate to attend ‘Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear at the Victoria and Albert Museum’ that ran until 12th March 2017. I was equally fortunate to pick up some wonderful reading material including ‘Underwear Fashion in detail’ by Eleri Lynn.
Whilst there is much informative reading; and an abundance of delightful photographs and illustrations to admire, I would like to focus on the chapter entitled ‘Fastenings’.
More specifically I would like to focus on the following: ‘Suspender belts were introduced in the 1870s…They remained a common feature of foundation garments into the 1960s, when the invention of tights and elastane (spandex) rendered them obsolete.’ The author goes on to say that ‘Suspender belts and stockings are now generally seen as sexy, seductive items…They add retro glamour to modern undressing, and an element of performance.’
Whilst there is an element of truth in these statements I would like to firstly challenge the use of the word ‘obsolete’ (defined as ‘no longer produced or used; out of date’) and propose that this is factually inaccurate.
(Suspender Belt Harlow Nouveau L2137 priced at £37.50 from https://www.whatkatiedid.com .)
Secondly; although stockings may be regarded as ‘sexy, seductive items’, the tone of the statement suggests to me that their modern day place is generally limited to the bedroom.
In a recent Twitter poll by @PoppyStockings 50% voted that they wore stockings on a daily basis with only 16% saying that stockings were limited to ‘sexy nights’.
Whilst the poll was limited; and we are unable to determine its accuracy as a representation of the population, I would suggest that the results are more attuned to today’s wearing of stockings and suspender belts than the above book suggests.
As a lover of vintage and vintage style clothing I concur with the following quotes.
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