Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Of Panty Hose and Girdles

Hard to imagine that there is a whole generation out there that does not know what a girdle, a garter belt and panty hose are. (well that is if you don't subscribe to the Victoria Secret Catalog, however the ones we wore for utilitarian purposes did not look like Victoria Secret).

I began work in something other than bobby sox and loafers in say 1953-54. Never would have left the house without "hose" and a girdle. I never subscribed to a garter belt which was something you wore around the belly with tentacles hanging down that you hooked onto nylon stockings so that they would only bag at the knee and ankles. I am not sure that there are words in the language that describe this terror of terrors but we did it every morning including Saturdays and Sundays. Saturdays because we worked then also and Sundays because of Church. To make matters worse, no one had learned how to weave a pair of "hose" without a seam up the back which you were supposed to position in the middle of the calf of the leg and it was supposed to stay there all the live long day. I told you this was not easy to understand so you may need to ask an older lady. Its easier to act out than to describe.

If you didn't wear the aforementioned garter belt, you wore a girdle with hooks in the front and in the back. these hooks were again to attach the "hose" (you had two on each side). I personally wore a brand called Playtex. Now try to imagine a garment made of rubber, literally with pin holes covering it so your body could breathe. You were supposed to pull this up over your posterier and frontier and then contort your body to attach hose to those hooks and hope the seam up the back was where it was supposed to be. It was worse in the evening when you had to take it off. You literally had to roll it down because it is hard to slip sweaty rubber off your body in one piece. Your posterier and frontier looked like it had some sort of horrid disease because your body had poked through all the hundreds of holes. And still the seam was supposed to be straight up the back of the leg. (yeah right)

I was on my lunch hour once when my Playtex began to split at the waist and it grew wider with each step I took. By the time I could make an emergency stop at home I looked as if I had a huge tumor gown out on the side of my body.

You now know why the female is the stronger of the species.

Someone, inspired of a Bigger Power, developed the girdle made of spandex, it was about the size of a paper towel tube with two little holes for your legs and you were supposed to stretch it to fit your body. It nearly did. Still one of the world's greatest inventions. Playtex girdles went out of business.

Then lo and behold an even greater power invented the hose without the seam. If that person did not win the Nobel Peace Prize then there is no justice.

Along came a genius related to Einstein who developed panty hose. ONE SIZE fits all. Sure it did. But we didn't care. Those young men that wear their jeans so far down on their waist that you see more of their underwear than you can in a laundry who are so uncomfortable with the crotch of those pants between their knees.... THEY KNOW NOTHING!! I worked for a year with the crotch of my panty hose (one size fits all) just above my knee. Try crossing your legs like that. Getting home in the evening was pure pleasure.

Today, only those of my generation wear hose and not all of us do. I' m not sure anyone wears a girdle. I still wear them to work every day and I wear them on Sundays because I can now wear something called a "Knee High" Wonderful invention that you wear with pants, or if you are in Scotland with trousers.

My grandmothers wore hose with a rubber garter on each leg. They would roll the hose over the garter and tie it with a knot below the knee. This held the hose up (sort of) creating a trough around the leg. I don't even want to think about that.

So progress moves on and in this case I agree that it did. Much more freedom, no girdles no panty hose, sleep in an extra thirty minutes that you did not have to straighten a seam.

But in most cases we did look really nice.


  1. Okay ... that is the funniest thing I have read in a month of Sundays! (I don't wear hose unless there is snow and ice on the ground. So glad God dropped me in this generation rather than yours!) Heading out to find your follow button now!

  2. beth was absolutely right you are a funny woman I am here following on her advice =)

  3. So funny and so glad I did not live back then..ugh...what a pain...I am following you now! Beth advised us to come take a look and I am so glad I did!

  4. Stopping by from Beth's blog!

    I have to admit that I hate hose. When I moved from PA to coastal NC and found out that most women didn't wear them here, I was SO excited. I threw them all out.

  5. I came across this blog. I come for the "Golden Age of Girdles", I have fond memories, all women girls always wore girdle. About 4 years ago I started to get a small bally which effected my posture and lower back. I remember where my mom and grandmother use to be fitted in a girdle and corset, I also remember over hearing that they were "Girdle Dependent". I wondered if a male I could both benefit from daily wearing a firm supportive girdle along with becoming like my grandmother and mom dependent and the daily support a girdle offers. I located a Professional Corsetier for a fitting, I found to my pleasant surprise once you are fitted in the right kind of make and model girdle and given some help and advise wearing a girdle is absolutly fantastic along with panty hose. I am amazed how great I feel, no more lower back pains, and I now have great posture and it is all thanks to daily being in a firm supportive girdle and panty hose.

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  7. I'm still wearing a girdle, I got used to it and to like it years ago. My belly needs it and feels relaxed in there and I have the "monobutt" of a girdle wearer. It gets pressing at times but mostly all I feel, when I notice, is great support all around holding me up.
    It works wonders for my figure. I wear the Playtex 18-hour high waist open ended girdle with suspenders. I far prefer stockings to panty hose, and had grown to hate the crotch of my hose down around my thighs the few times I tried pantyhose, just like you.
    Stockings are more hygienic too.
    The girdle can be a beech at times but it's worth it. Waistbands can bother at times and the lower hem is like a belt around my thighs pulling my legs in together, so I kinda feel trussed. But that's only when I think about it, otherwise I do indeed forget I have it on.
    But ahhh the pleasure of taking it down at bedtime, ahhh I'm looking forward to that soon tonight.
    But ooh the equal pleasure of pulling it back up again in the morning as it grabs my belly and my bum and all and holds them up again for the day.

    Generally you just put up with it all and get on with the day, and I couldn't do without a girdle now.
    And I have been told that the suspenders look very sexy...

  8. In a girdle I can tell you that my buttocks are smashed in, my belly unceremoniously flattened, hips, thighs all confined, the waistband taking five inches of my waist while the four suspenders stretch down to attach my nylons and secure them tightly while anchoring my girdle down.
    And it all feels fabulous with lovely support all around as well. This is because I got fitted into the right girdle for me so it's marvellous the way it holds me up, shapes and forms me. .
    Nobody can pinch my bottom anymore as feels nice and hard and the satin front panel, that looks awesome, holds my belly in with total support.
    And it all makes me walk in a real sexy way if I'm not careful.
    The sheer ten denier lace-topped nylons are the icing on the cake.
    It all gets to be really comfortable after a while. It's sheer luxury as my nylon-clad feet slip into the high heels.
    Male or female it doesn't matter anymore, a girdle will work wonders for you too.