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  • #457463
    stephanie plumb
    Participant
    Registered On: November 17, 2018
    Topics: 146
    Replies: 1951
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    Ever wondered why a pair of panties is called a pair?   They are called a pair because in the 19th Century the forerunners of the modern panties – pantalettes –  were two separate legs joined at the waist, and open in the middle.  They were also long-legged and usually made of linen or rough cotton. Could these be the “pantless crutchies?”

    Yes, they had an open crotch. There were several reasons for this, mostly to do with the current fashions and personal hygiene.

    Women were concerned about chafing – the material was loose and rough – they didn’t want the flaps to chafe their ladyparts.  The medical profession was also concerned about moisture retention.  Why is it that one of these conditions is named after one of our commonest songbirds?

    For these reasons most women didn’t wear them.  !!!!

    Briefly, women’s dresses have always gone through cycles of fashion. But in general throughout the 19th century and early 20th century dresses were long and cumbersome and had complex underclothing requirements. Quite often they were three layered – chemise, petticoats and gown, and not forgetting corsetry, frames and bustles.  Some of these gowns were so big you could park a Volvo inside.   This arrangement presented certain challenges. To cut to the chase – women had great difficulty bending at the waist.  When you can’t bend at the waist you can’t pull them down or pull them up!  See where this going?

    Going to the loo was very problematic – hence the open crotch for hygiene reasons. That blushing girl curtseying on the lawn?  Probably having a pee!   There were contraptions  – wooden trestle frames with a potty on top. How women maneuvered  themselves on these is unclear. Maybe that’s one reason the well-off women had chambermaids. Its no wonder Queen Vic didn’t wear a mini-skirt! Though she liked silky drawers.     This is not explored in Wuthering Heights, Bridgerton or Brideshead is it?

    So it seems most women didn’t bother with these undergarments and going au-naturel or commando was the norm,  by choice, and it persisted until well into the 20th Century! Now that’s a revelation!

    And now it gets really delicate… perhaps I shouldn’t go there.. Oh well!  There has been speculation about how women … umm, cleaned themselves.  Maybe they didn’t bother.  Maybe the three layers acted as an odour barrier?   Hence the expression – “she lifted her skirts.”  Enough said.

    There has also been speculation about the  Can-Can girls in late 19th century Paris. Did their high kicks reveal more than their knickers?  If so, no wonder it was scandalous!  How vulver!

    Styles evolved through the 1840’s and  ’50s. There were pantaloons or long drawers, split-leg  knickers drawers and trowsers.  You heard right – “trowsers” – the forerunner of the modern ladies trousers.

    In the Victorian era came Bloomers.   No Grace, not the ones you get from Tesco’s for your bacon sandwiches!  These came from the female emancipation movement,  and were not underwear – they were outer-wear!  The so-called Turkish Trouser fashion had arrived.  Men hated the trouser movement- it was an affront to their masculinity!  Funny, we hate it too.

    And now for something completely different –  feminine monthly hygiene.  The equivalent of the sanitary towel and Tena Lady back then consisted of a leather waist band and strap involving buckles or buttons supporting a great thick wad of absorbent material, and women had to waddle about with this cushion tucked between their legs.  Its relevant because the earliest forerunners of proper panties evolved from attempts to find an alternative.

    The first modern  panties didn’t exist until the 1930’s!  Up until then au-naturel was still the preference.  That’s right, most women went knickerless.  The first panties appeared in a Sears catalogue in 1933 I believe.  As dresses simplified, and got shorter, so did the long drawers and it became practical for women to be able to sit down to pee. So the open crotch got filled in.

    That’s where we are today – there are many styles – 24 or so, but I reckon this is an underestimate as there are numerous variations for use  in the bedroom. And the open crotch panties still persist for other reasons than hygiene.   There is still a market for these old-time garments, so if you want to tickle your fancy with a pair of pantalettes they should be easy to find.

    commandaficionado, Stephanie P xx

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    • #457799
      Hippie
      Lady
      Registered On: December 20, 2016
      Topics: 23
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      Pretty good, that’s a lot of research you did.

      • #457801
        stephanie plumb
        Baroness - Annual
        Registered On: November 17, 2018
        Topics: 146
        Replies: 1951
        Has thanked: 3114 times
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        Thanks Hippie, actually it took longer to write it than it did to research it!  I’m pretty good at wringing stuff out out of google!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #457786
      Krista
      Duchess
      Registered On: January 24, 2017
      Topics: 8
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      Hi Stephanie, another entertaining and educational history lesson.  Thank You. One contraption missing from the discussion or maybe you could do a whole separate story on them is the chastity belt.  They have quite the history too. I can’t imagine any of our CDH members putting on one of these devices.  Here is a link to some photos.  chastity belts early 1900 – Bing images Would it even be possible?  Some designs may in fact be quite painful for a CD to try to wear.  I get squeamish even thinking about it.  Looking forward to the next article.  All the Best, Hugs, Krista.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #457798
        stephanie plumb
        Baroness - Annual
        Registered On: November 17, 2018
        Topics: 146
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        Thanks Krista

        I’m not so sure.  If some girls are interested in wearing silicon pregnancy bellies  then I am sure there are some out there who might like to experiment with chastity belts. I might do “exotic” panties.

        Hugs Steph xx

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    • #457769
      Diana Morgan
      Lady
      Registered On: February 22, 2021
      Topics: 7
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      I wonder what the ladies of th 18/19th centuries would make of the delightful wispy & sensual undergarments of today?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #457760
      Requal Joanne
      Lady
      Registered On: December 15, 2020
      Topics: 2
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      A beautiful piece of history, thank you.   I am thankful for modern day panties as they so comfortable and make me feel sooooooooooo feminine.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #457756
      Stephanie Scott
      Lady
      Registered On: February 8, 2021
      Topics: 18
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      I love history!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #457522
      Inga Krasivaya
      Lady
      Registered On: January 18, 2021
      Topics: 16
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      Steph; why didn’t you include the history of the Merkin in this thread?  I’d have thought it fitted perfectly……  Hugs:  Irritating Inga.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #457534
        stephanie plumb
        Baroness - Annual
        Registered On: November 17, 2018
        Topics: 146
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        ‘Cos a merkin  aint panties love.  Its a beaver, a genital toupee, a downstairs beard, a syrup, a treacle (don’t ask.)   A merkin and pantalettes? What a sight that would be.

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        • #457549
          Inga Krasivaya
          Lady
          Registered On: January 18, 2021
          Topics: 16
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          Not so much a matter of what it looks like, but if pantalettes were crotchless and ladies tended to shave certain areas (I’m told because of certain insects that were prevalent at the time) then surely a Merkin was a necessity given that the winters were cold……  I make no comment concerning modern day stylings in this area – though I’m sure Grace could find a way of doing a poll on the subject!  And yes – I understand why a “treacle” (treacle = syrup…)  All in all, I just reckon that up until the point when panties became a single entity, the Merkin was a more than valid item to mention regarding this general area……  Aren’t these horrible, cold and miserable evenings terrible?  Oh – sorry; you’re Scottish and probably think this is a warm summers evening… which brings us back to the Merkin……  Still love you!  Inga.

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        • #457537
          Grace Scarlett
          Baroness - Annual
          Registered On: February 16, 2021
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          Mantless perkins !!!!!

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    • #457519
      Beth Green
      Lady
      Registered On: February 24, 2021
      Topics: 12
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      Oooo, that was fantastic. I love history and this puts an “interesting ” twist on it! I hope you will continue a look at panties, cd’s everywhere are curious to find out what makes our favorite clothing tick.

      Beth

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #457517
      Sandy Honey
      Lady
      Registered On: February 24, 2021
      Topics: 7
      Replies: 141
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      I’m so glad I live in the age of beautiful sexy wonderful panties!

      Sandy

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #457501
      Kay Lambert
      Lady
      Registered On: February 28, 2017
      Topics: 3
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      History is replete with turning points. Thank you, Stephanie, for enlightening us on a “brief” history of panties. It has been said to know the history, lest you end up repeating it. Thank heaven above I started wearing when I did. If mom had terrible undies in her lingerie drawers like the ones described by Stephanie pre 1930s, I never would have had any interest. Now, and way back then, I love my panties, and their evolution through time.

      Kay👩🏻‍🦳💋

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #457483
      Grace Scarlett
      Baroness - Annual
      Registered On: February 16, 2021
      Topics: 51
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      Oh Steph…

      informative, yes…but hilariously written, you are a scream…

      Not a dry eye in the house…So many images…

      19th century crossdressers desperately trying to tuck, with no crutch in their panties….sequinned, ribboned and bowed volvo garages….women forcing a smile as they stood, peeing on a tressled po….triple glazed dresses to keep the smell in…haha.

      thanks so much, you have made my day.

      Hysterically, grace ❤️❤️

       

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #457468
      Ginny Virginia
      Lady
      Registered On: December 22, 2020
      Topics: 7
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      thank you so much, Steph! This is terrific, funny, and very informative. Your trademark wittiness abounds!

      I often went commando whilst in drab world but have gone lingerie 24/7 now. If i were a woman irl, I’d explore commanda more often than not!

      Hugs,

      Ginny

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