1950s girls wore girdles (instant poem)
It was the 1950s when I would squeeze my nether parts into a tube that ironed bulges into an oval shape like a sausage when you lower the lid of a toastie press to hurry it up and the sausage goes all flat and dry. Girls wore girdles. But why, why? Far from enhancing the glorious teenage waist, compressing our bumps and clefts achieved the opposite. Curves were gone and straight lines ruled. This gruesome tube was a prosthetic device to keep our trunk in line. Oh dear. How could I be so silly. Of course the girly girdle was not a beauty aid. but a twentieth century chastity belt locking our legs together and bullet bras combined an IQ test with fortifications in rigid cotton stitched into pointy grenades. ~Rachel McAlpine 2021~
The mystery of the 1950s girdle: freedom my a*s*.
You have to wonder why we forced our bodies into those elastic tubes. Believe it or not, the 1950s girdle was promoted as a revolutionary garment that would set us free.
You read that right. Truly. Look at the ad below where women in girdles are dancing and fencing, proving how freely they can move in a Berlei girdle.
This was a solution to a problem that did not exist. We already could move freely without the help of a girdle. We knew that, obviously: nobody wore a girdle to play tennis or ride a horse! It hampers movement big time.
And yet girls wore girdles to rock and roll dances. Oh yes. Under your dress the top of the girdle would roll down into a lump far less appealing than a spare tyre of flesh. The bottom would roll up, causing more anxiety. Seams and patterns left indentations in your flesh. They sort of hurt. They were sort of creepy.
Weirder and weirder: over the dreaded girdle we wore enormous swirly joyful skirts. Not slinky clingy slip dresses. Seven yards of fabric sprang from every waist exaggerating its tinyness. Everything else was fabulously overdressed.
This fashion had nothing to do with freedom. It had everything to do with control. Girdles were like mudguards in more ways than one. They were boy-guards.
In the context of the era, these garments were comparatively humane compared with 19th century corsets. That was the sell. Big deal!
Well, that was a long time ago in fashion and in the lives of us once-were-teenagers. Now it’s sports bras and briefs. A big bouncy bottom is an aspiration for some—and a faint memory for others.
Sorry not sorry
I know, I know, some of you might find this post a bit rude. Sorry not sorry. This was an aspect of my real life 60-odd years ago.Follow Write Into Life