Relax – not another ’10 Reasons Why Women Should Wear Slips’ post, or, alternatively ’10 Reasons to Question the 10 Reasons Why Women Should Wear Slips’
Does anyone still wear slips? Browsing the internet in my more idle moments, there are a good handful of ’10 Reasons to Wear Slips’-themed articles to look over. They follow the same pattern, pretty much, and – in my opinion – range from the insightful, to the misleading, or the downright lazy. That’s fine. They all make fine reading, usually. What often miffs me somewhat is that they often don’t truly explain why slips are deserving of a place in any and every girl’s wardrobe. So crucial to the whole slip debate and so important for women is to understand why the retail fashion industry has essentially robbed her of this delightfully feminine garment and substituted it with a substandard alternative. So, here and now, I thought I’d do a bit of augmenting, elaborating, dispelling and enlightening when it comes to vintage slips.
Are Slips Making a Comeback?
Almost certainly not, sadly. To do so would require a fuller understanding of the benefits of wearing slips and I just get the feeling that too few women today even know what one is, let alone what they do and why. I sometimes see wildly hopeful statements such as ‘Slips are Back!‘ every now and then. Sorry to disappoint, but no they’re not. Unless there is a universal rejection of cheap, mass-produced clothes for women and a return, literally, to the fundamentals of female attire I just can’t see it happening on anything like a grand scale. I am not talking about knowledgeable collectors and aficionados here – they will always appreciate a slip – I mean the vast majority of women. Nowadays there are a whole generation of women who have never worn a slip and basically don’t know what one is anyway – so if they don’t know what they are missing why on earth would they want to bring them back? 40 or 50 or so years have gone by since slips were anything like widely used and 40 or 50 years has been plenty of time for the slip to be well forgotten. As I know, a lot of the present vintage slip market is driven by people who are old enough to remember the golden days of the slip and who truly lament their demise. They purchase beautiful slips from me to maintain a delightfully tangible link with a bygone era of classic elegance and style. But who will remember the slip when they, and I too, have finally given up this world and are twanging our harps in the sky? Nobody. I shudder at the thought – though I am instantly uplifted at the thought of a heaven where fine lingerie is
once again commonplace. Oh, a girl can dream, surely!
So. What REALLY are the Advantages of Wearing a Slip?
As opposed to a modern dress with a sewn-in lining? Few articles touch on this properly. The advantages of wearing a slip are many, but they can be listed in two categories – the Practical and the Aesthetic. Let’s talk about the Practical first because the whole reason for the demise of the slip over the last 50 years is clearly identifiable and I’ll tell you what that reason is right now – sewn-in dress linings are squarely to blame. That, along with the modern obsession with ‘off-the-peg’ instant gratification consumerism. Let me explain further. Today, modern dresses in shops are specifically designed to look jaw-droppingly fabulous on the rail. They are presented in a way that is supposed to make you want to fall in love with them straight away and buy them. Doesn’t matter if your new dress hangs off you like an old sack when you get it home – they sold it to you and you bought it. On the other hand, genuine vintage dresses don’t look anything on the shop rail, but only look great when they are worn and grace the female form. This is where the slip really comes into its own. If a lining is attached to a dress – sewn-in – it can NEVER be a substitute for a slip. It is as simple as that. Functionally, it couldn’t ever be. Tragically, women from the later 1960’s onwards seriously believed that the dresses appearing the shops with sewn-in linings were an improvement over the older style dresses, saving them time and effort. With the benefit of hindsight, how wrong they were. Well, I know that. You might know that too. But generations of women since those days have been well and truly duped by the mass-marketeers and continue to buy ill-fitting dresses to this day. Prêt for clothing only serves the industry, not you. A sewn-in lining will ride with your dress when you turn or bend over – no use whatsoever then – whereas a separate slip under a vintage or suitable dress will act as a ‘go between’ between the dress and your body, allowing for smoother and more fluid movement with no riding up. Good quality slips that ‘smoothed out’ and enabled a dress to hang and ‘flow’ properly when worn was known as ‘giving a good set‘ to frocks, at least for British women at the time. On top of all that a slip will cover any visible panty lines and avoid those cringeworthy Lady Diana ‘against-the-sun see-through’ moments too.
And then there’s the Aesthetic.
I mildly disagree with one writer who says (I paraphrase) ‘never wear a white slip with a black dress‘. Why not? What is wrong with a very occasional teeny-weeny glimpse of frothy white lace? I know what she means though – if the slip length is so low that showing the lace is constant and full-on then it would be a fashion faux-pas too far. That’s not classy at all. But, by showing attention to detail and getting the slip length right in the first place. Marry certain slips up to certain dresses. That’s what I do. It takes all the guesswork away, especially when you are getting dressed in a hurry. Adding to all this though there remains one other pivotal advantage in wearing a slip – you’ll be dressing like a film star and if you dress like a star then you’ll have the confidence of a star too. Sans dress, you’ll know that you won’t be cowering there in your bra and knickers and instead will be reveling in your classic elegance. Reason enough, then, to at least consider a move over to wearing slips. You won’t regret it. I’ll cover the ‘movie star / pinup bombshell’ angle and what to look for in another article soon, but in the meantime lets all lament the decline of the slip…….Amen…..