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By Jill Fields

Intimate clothing, a time period in use by means of 1921, has performed a very important position within the improvement of the "naughty yet great" female perfect that emerged within the 20th century. Jill Fields's enticing, innovative, and complicated background of twentieth-century underwear excursions the area of women's intimate clothing and arrives at not anything below a sweeping view of twentieth-century women's heritage through the undergarments they wore. Illustrated all through and drawing on a wealth of facts from model magazines, alternate periodicals, dress artifacts, Hollywood movies, and the files of geared up hard work, An Intimate Affair is a provocative exam of the methods cultural meanings are orchestrated through the "fashion-industrial complex," and the ways that contributors and teams include, reject, or derive that means from those daily, but hugely major, intimate articles of clothing.

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Sample text

Instead, the distinction of age group took precedence over the distinction of gender in early childhood in families that could afford to do so. Gender distinction in dress was instituted as children grew. Drawers for older boys and girls transformed into short breeches and pantalettes, respectively. 14 The visible drawers that most girls wore under short dresses had a closed crotch, distinguishing them from the drawers their mothers and elder sisters were just beginning to wear in the early decades of the nineteenth century.

Analysis of illustrations in catalogs and undergarment sets in costume collections suggests that the dual and competing meanings of drawers as both erotic and modest was further articulated at this time by splitting sets into open- and closed-crotch types. Extant undergarment sets and catalog illustrations link the low neckline to the open crotch and the high neckline to the closed. One 34 / DRAWERS catalog page of sets reveals ambivalence about a set’s potential for titillation. 46 Open-drawer sets, including those handmade for bridal trousseaux, further foreground the erotic aspect.

Women’s magazine fiction documented anxieties about men’s possible loss of control as a result of this mobility, whereas the special construction and promotion of bicycle seats for women testifies to concern about the bicycle’s autoerotic possibilities. Yet women were permitted to wear trousers while cycling, and in what can be seen as an extraordinary, though long-in-coming, victory for dress reform, cycling trousers were called bloomers. 37 Though cycling bloomers did not reveal the shape of the legs underneath them, they still inspired stares, taunts, and suggestive magazine drawings.

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