Lindy Shopper’s Closet Episode 5 is up – this week I’m talking about swing dance undergarments, everything from briefs to full slips, what to wear under your skirts and dresses. Tune in, subscribe, let me know if you have requests for future topics, and stay healthy, y’all!
I often write about undergarment options for coverage when we wear skirts, but what about what we wear under our bloomers or our pants? What about the material? What about all that gross sweating we do? Where dudes bring multiple shirts to a dance weekend, I bring multiple pairs of underwear because there’s nothing worse that sitting around or dancing in a puddle of your own sweat (along those lines, there’s nothing better than putting on a fresh pair of underwear after you’ve danced, especially between a main dance and late night – file that under my body odor commentary).
Cotton breathes, but it also soaks everything up. Synthetics can be icky in terms of odor and I usually don’t like they way the feel against my skin. Can we get some technology in here to engineer us some undies?
Montreal dancer Alisha Ruiss sent me a link to this great Indiegogo campaign for Thinx: Change Your Underwear, “where technology and fashion intersect to solve a global problem.” How is this underwear smart? You can check out the diagram to the right, and then listen when I tell you that it
1) Is leak/stain-resistant, anti-microbial, moisture-wicking and lasts for several years
2) Acts as back-up to traditional methods of leakage prevention during your period (but will not replace these during heavier days – they are working on creating this style next!)
3) Completely replaces liners on light days
Whaaaaaa?! So this is obviously super practical in real life, and in your dance life having that bit of extra protection there for potential leakage (because we move around a lot, just like athletes, and we sometimes lose track of time…) or just sweat absorption could make the world of difference in your comfort at a dance, on any day of the year.
“Beyond our own desire for the smartest underwear for our drawer, we found out that there was an even bigger problem for girls and women in the developing world.
Girls in the developing world are missing up to a week of school per month and using unimaginable things to manage their monthly cycle like twigs, leaves, newspaper, plastic bags or dirty rags. In Africa alone, 67 million girls have dropped out entirely which overwhelmingly leads to early marriage, pregnancy and a greater difficulty in raising themselves out of poverty.
THINX is part of the solution. For every pair of THINX you buy, you help fund the production of a 7-pad washable kit for a woman or girl in the developing world via our partnership with AFRIpads. This kit helps create local jobs and empower the economy while also helping keep girls in school during that time of the month.”
Can you imagine what these girls have to give up? I know I can’t – and I’ll remember this every time I take my ability to leave the house during my period for granted.
I am excited that smarter solutions are being developed, with women all over the world in mind. Looking forward to seeing more from this company.
One of my complaints, and one that I hear come up over and over, is that there are no really good slips being made, at least not ones that compare to vintage slips in terms of materials, function, and beauty. I always keep my eyes open at vintage stores for good slips – full, half, camisole, tap pants, whatever, just because the quality of these items is just far superior to anything I’ve purchased that was produced in my lifetime. But what if you didn’t have time to go to all the vintage stores?
If you need a gorgeous slip RIGHT NOW, The Slipperie on Etsy could be the answer. While the undergarments of yesteryear tend to be fairly plentiful, finding them all in one place can be difficult, and finding truly special ones (as with anything vintage) is even harder. I love that these beautiful undergarments are really meant to be worn, not just saved for special occasions. Add them to your dance wardrobe for a pop of color or lace with your twirl or swish (or other functions discussed in a prior post)…here’s what I love from the shop:
I’m always on the lookout for dancing undergarment solutions. Like the effect of My Heinies, it’s always nice to see a bit of color under a twirly skirt (and that things are covered), and it’s also nice to see a bit of a slip, or in the case of my new acquisition, a little satin and/or lace with full coverage.
I picked up a pair of 1930’s tap pants at All Balboa Weekend and am in heaven. They just don’t make the lace like they used to and the overall effect with the high waist, comfortable leg opening, and the peach silk and lace combo is very elegant. I could wear them under just about any dress, but where I found them particularly useful was under very short dresses, like those that you may pick up from Forever 21 that are just at mid-thigh (or higher, if your legs are longer than mine). I have had trouble with slips and short dresses because, at some point, the dresses are just so short that the slip becomes a liability, either sticking out the bottom when you are standing or peeking out when you sit down. I couldn’t go without because any good Southern girl wouldn’t be seen in a dress that showed the outline of her legs and getting a shorter slip would be an exercise in futility. The tap pants worked like a champ. Where I generally despise shorts because they ride up when I sit down, the tap pants rode up enough to not stick out from under the dress when I sat down and were still comfortable because of the silk. There’s all this going for the tap pants, plus the twirl factor will be lovely!
I started seeking out other forms of tap pants and there are also pettipants, although pettipants may also refer to longer versions of the slip pant. I found the Wikipedia entry on pettipants quite amusing:
“When pettipants were fashionable, they were usually worn under skirts, dresses, culottes, or walking shorts for modesty or comfort. However, they are not considered a modern or popular style; currently they are most likely to be worn by square dancers or persons involved in historical reenactment. Unlike other types of underwear, pettipants will not ride up and eliminate hot-weather chafing.”
Well, then. Like the petticoat’s evolution into the slip, the pettipants have also evolved (although the square dancer and reenactment versions still exist). When you search for pettipants online, something akin to the 1930’s tap pants appears in the search results. The modern tap pants I found are a bit scantier, but there are some potential candidates for dancewear. Here’s what I’m thinking may work:
I noticed yesterday that the My Heinies website has officially expanded their line of dancewear to include the shoes, hosiery, and hair flowers I mentioned in my previous post on My Heinies and their creator, New York dancer and instructor Carol Fraser. This certainly calls for another post highlighting these goodies, because now we have pictures. 🙂
Before we get to the goods, I want to point out that Carol does her homework. At week one of the Balboa Experiment, Carol brought in samples of everything and held a focus group to talk about what Balboa dancers look for in a shoe – heel shape, heel height, colors, styles, straps, where the shoe falls on the top of your foot, suede v. hard leather, and everything in between. The shoes now available on the My Heinies website represent the results of this group discussion, most of which Carol had overnighted to the Experiment house so that we could try them on in person, give further feedback, and have the option to purchase. The sample shoes remained at the Experiment house for weeks 2 and 3 to try out as well, and I’m sure she’s solicited feedback from a number of other dancers. Another great thing about using the Experiment as a testing ground was that it gave Carol an international perspective on what dancers would want to wear, not just dancers in the U.S.
Here’s what I love from My Heinies’ new selections of shoes, hosiery, and hair flowers (and don’t forget to check out the bloomers, I think Carol’s ordering a new batch very soon):
Last week I embarked on a quest for nude seamed stockings. I have little patience for wading through lingerie websites, so I solicited Facebook for ideas. When Kate Patsky declared “This is like finding the Holy Grail…” I knew I had a real shopping challenge on my hands; thus, I headed to the Stockings HQ chat forums to ask the experts/fetishists where I could find the Holy Grail. Stockings HQ is a lingerie website based in the UK that also hosts chat forums where people can share stocking info, pictures, and talk about…anyway, they were most helpful during my last hosiery dilemma, finding stockings for a Sally Bowles costume that would be period appropriate and fit my short legs, and they delivered yet again. One of the forum regulars recommended What Katie Did and I’ve been in love ever since.
What Katie Did makes beautiful reproduction and vintage-inspired bras, panties, girdles, corsets, stockings, slips, swimwear, and much more. I loathe most “vintage-inspired” undergarments because they are skimpy and not at all what was actually worn. What Katie Did has gone to the heart of the matter, reproducing things that are such rare finds, like fully fashioned stockings, bullet bras, 1940’s bras (which were just coming into the modern age of the bra), and different kinds of girdles so you can get your Joan Holloway on. If you really want a vintage look, then the next step beyond just the clothes are the foundation garments. Think about how your underwear selections change with what you wear and how that affects your shape and the way the clothes fit, then apply that to your dance dresses. What Katie Did goes further and actually improves the reproduction by eliminating discomfort and taking garments, like that 1940’s bra that probably did little to lift and support, and upgrading them to modern standards. If this sounds dull, like a conversation you’ve had with your grandmother, never fear! There are also plenty of skimpies and pretties on the website for everyone, and I know some burlesque girls who might find some goodies here.
From the website: “Founder and head designer Katie Halford has had a deep and abiding love affair with 1940s and 1950s fashion her entire adult life, but though the clothing was always fairly easy to come by, the appropriate undergarments were not. Her quest for the perfect bullet bra, the most authentic stockings and the firmest foundation garments, led to the development of her own collection, over ten years ago. And since then, thanks to her abiding passion, What Katie Did has been at the very forefront of the vintage revival that’s only recently come into the public eye.
On this website, in our London boutique, and in the glossy pages of our catalogue, retrophiles, vintage queens and lingerie lovers who appreciate the art of a circle-stitched cup, a wasp-waist, or a flash of fully-fashioned seam, can find everything their hearts’ desire.
We create and produce beautifully cut, high-quality and affordable undergarments, corsetry and hosiery inspired by the 1940s and 1950s. Our designs are based on vintage patterns, adapted only slightly for modern figures, using authentic fabrics and even old-fashioned production methods wherever possible. We’re proud of our close-knit team, high standards and enthusiasm for great customer service, all of which which have earned us fans worldwide, and led to What Katie Did being worn by stars as lofty as Claudia Schiffer and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks. But really, we make our beautiful lingerie for every woman, so she can look and feel like a bombshell, any day of the week.”
I don’t often get excited about underwear, but I am excited to try out some of these gorgeous things. Here’s what I’m loving: