Givin' 'em the Slip - Look Rich for Very Little

By Andrea Karim on 8 February 2007 (Updated 10 June 2007) 15 comments

So I was watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith the other day (OK, I was watching Angelina Jolie, but I feel the context is important here), and there's one delicious scene in which Angelina, I mean, Jane, is getting dressed in an insanely large walk-in closet. And she's wearing a slip, or a slip set (I was looking at her face, perv, so I can't remember if it was a set or not - I think it was).

The incongruity was kind o strange, because, you know, it's Angelina, and if she was wearing a full body tattoo and a necklace of bird skulls while cradling homeless infants, I would have been like, "Yeah. Of course." But she was in character, and Jane was supposed to project a zipped-up, boring visage, so a slip set it was. (There's another scene where Angie is wearing a leather bustier and those black stocking with garter belts, but that's another post entirely.)

When watching the movie, I realized how long it's been since I saw anyone wearing a slip set. Maybe when I watched/slept through A Streetcar Named Desire? Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? I can't recall, but slips seem to have gone the way of the giant powder puff and embroidered handkerchiefs - and that's a shame.

That was Then, This is Now

Our mothers and grandmothers used to wear rather restrictive undergarments, and the subsequent feminist revolution encouraged a more natural shape - some women burned bras, others gave up pantyhose altogether, and clothing became softer, more comfortable, and less, well, starchy. Clothing has become much more high-tech and a lot easier to care for. Lycra, in particular, has made clothing stretchy and less wrinkly-prone, Teflon allows us to spill wine on our khakis with no negative consequences, and almost anything can be thrown through the washing machine without damage these days (stay away from acetate).

However, for all the techiness, our outer clothes are not as high-quality as they used to be. If you look at the difference in tailoring between vintage dresses and the ones we buy now at Target for $24.99, you'll see a disparity. Back then, seams were enforced. Dresses and sweaters include heavy falls to prevent bunching. Materials were thicker and of better quality. Everything was lined. This is not to say that you can't find good quality clothing anymore, but for most of us, really good quality clothing is out of our price-range.

The price that we pay for buying our inexpensive clothes made in sweatshops in Asia is that they just aren't that good. They are made rapidly, in bad conditions. Material is cut in huge batches, which is why one pair of size 6 jeans will fit differently from another pair of size 6 jeans with the same brand and style. Sure, skirts might be lined (more often, they are not) or pants might have extra fastenings on them for a smother fit, but more often then not, cheap clothes end up looking cheap, if not right away, then at least after a few cycles in the wash.

Pull Yourself Together

The reason I bring this up is because I work in a business park with a lot of other small businesses. There's one cafe/cafeteria that everyone congregates in, and I often see young women who are wearing clothing that is obviously of inferior quality. I don't mean that these are poor girls who are wearing trashbags - they're simply young women who shop, like I do, at cheap department stores. The difference between well-dressed gals and walking disasters is not that the with-it girls have better clothes, but that they hold themselves well. And part of their secret is good undergarments.

Good undergarments aren't cheap. I've heard a lot of women who have a lot of money suggest that everyone should go to London and have bras custom made for them. When I have a few thousand dollars lying around that I just can't figure out how to spend, I will try this. For now, I'm going to keep my normal undies and cheapy clothes, but invest in underthings that help hold me up, in, and together.

The human body is pretty lumpy, and today's low-slung fashion often means that even svelte gals will eventually suffer from Muffin Top Syndrome. And while there's not a lot that can prevent spillage from hipster jeans (besides buying the right size), the appearance of other clothes, such as Lycra skirts, stretchy flared work pants, and sweater dresses are improved immensely through the application of good undergarments.

So, I'm starting a campaign to bring back the slip. Like our clothes, the slip (and the body shaper, and everything else) has become more techy, more stretchy, more comfy, and easier to tolerate. Some slips are pricey, others are cheap. This is one of the few items of clothing that I believe should be invested in - so buy the better stuff, and they will last a long time and make everything else look better.

Buying

When purchasing your first dressy undergarments, like other lingerie, it can be helpful to get fitted for one by a professional. If you don't live in an area with a good department store that can tell you what size will work best with your body and wardrobe, you can find tons of information online.

Half-slip: The classic under-skirt slip. Traditional versions start at the waist or hips, and end somewhere around the knee. I don't think that a knee-length slip is worth it - almost no business skirts reach the knee these days. A 14-17-inch slip will really do the trick if you want to maintain a professional image. Having a slip peeking out the bottom of your skirt or dress is kind of uncouth. I'm shocked at how many truly useless, bunchy, cheap-ass slips are on the market. Avoid anything that is made of really cheap material, which can be prone to static.

Full slip: I love wearing dresses, so a full slip is often a very important part of my everyday wear. I like the ones by Spanx, but they are a tad pricey. There are many cheaper options that do the job just as well. You can even buy vintage slips, should you like that look.

Body shapers: Spanx makes an incredible line of undergarments that will gently squish and squeeze you into a largely unlumpy state. I've used their body shapers for every wedding I've attended in the past six years. I don't like Spanx's bras, which they push on you at Nordstrom, because they offer zero support for anything more than a size-A cup. But smaller gals may appreciate how comfy they are. Target has their own line of imitation Spanx, called Assets (har!)

Camisoles: Although pretty much every tank top sold these days is a modified cami, these can actually be worn under your clothing as well. Camis are a great way to prevent anyone from realizing that it's chilly in the conference room, if you catch my drift. Camis can range from very plain to super-sexy. But they should never bunch up.

Care

As a fan of Spanx, I have been sorely disappointed with how quickly the material disintegrates after I throw them through the wash. Saleswomen at department stores will often try to sell you special detergents for your undies. You can buy them, or just buy some Woolite and use that. Although it's difficult to do, ALWAYS wash your expensive undergarments either by hand, or in a zippered mesh net in cold water. Do not throw any of these items through the dryer. Hang them up to dry.

Fun & Glamour

Aside from looking better with little effort, the great thing about slips and camis is that they can be kind of fun to wear. I like getting dressed in the morning, and prancing around in my half-slip, feeling all feminine and pretty while I select my outfit for the day. It doesn't matter that my dogs don't appreciate the movie-star classiness of my morning routine as I sit at my vanity and practice raising my eyebrows like Vivian Leigh while spritzing with my favorite perfume. What matters is that I enjoy it, and the difference shows in my countenance all day long.

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
ShareThis

comments

15 discussions

Add New Comment

CAPTCHA
This test helps prevent automated spam submissions.
Tannaz Sassooni's picture

ok, i must admit the times that i've had to wear a slip under a skirt, i didn't actually like the feeling so much. however, the full slips are gorgeous to me. they make a great nightie -- a little more feminine and far far less frump than sweats and pjs. i've found a wide variety at thrift stores -- really beautiful ones, with that old-school quality you mention.

and.. there's this trend now of wearing a dress over jeans. i love this because it covers up all sorts of muffin tops and cinnamon rolls and what-have-you, but is funky and girly still. it works great with a full slip and a little cardigan.

Andrea Karim's picture

I wish I could pull off the whole jeans-n-a-dress thing. Sigh. If we ever meet up, I'll just live vicariously through your wardrobe.

Tannaz Sassooni's picture

it's the cure-all for lumps.  you *can* pull it off. 

oh wait.. is this supposed to be a personal finance blog or something?  silly me i thought it was female fashion empowerment.. ahem. back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Jessica Okon's picture

Great post. I have three half slips I am taking out of my lingerie draw the next time I wear a skirt.

Guest's picture
Sandy

Totally with you the slip thing, but disagree that a slip showing is uncouth. When dressed otherwise stylishly, a little lace showing at the hem is an incredibly feminine touch, especially with contrast, e.g. black skirt, white slip. A slip without slits should be used as this really does look like an accident. Also, the sight of a slip showing is a great way to get your man turned on, believe me!

Guest's picture
Paul

Hi Sandy

I was born in the 50's so the slip was the first piece of lingerie we fellas ever got to see and in the 50's & 60's, all women wore them. In the movies. a woman in her slip represented nudity and you know what? it's a lot sexier as what you can't see is always the turn on, right?

You're dead right about them being attractive to men, I have to admit whenever a woman had one on show, I looked and I don't mind admitting it. What a pity that they have more or less disappeared. These lacy silky garments were always a welcome sight on a hot date!!

Well that's nostalgia for you, keep wearing them
With very best wishes
Paul in London

Guest's picture
Guest

Certainly, Sandy - a slip showing is NOT uncouth. A little piece of lace showing at a skirt hem or through a skirt slit is so provocative..... and charming !

Guest's picture
sliplovin

I wish the slip would come back just because I think it's one of the sexiest pieces of lingerie a woman can wear, whether it's a fullslip or a halfslip. I'm here to tell you, it's a turn on like you wouldn't believe and I'm not that old! WOW!
Since I am a huge fan of women that wear slips, I sell them on Ebay.
So for all you lovely ladies out there who still wear slips, please visit my Ebay store "The Slip Shop" and maybe you can find that special slip you've been looking for.
I will be listing several more each week as inventory is depleated.
All of the slips I sell are in Excellent Condition if not Mint Condition.
I have a wide selection of Vintage slips for those collectors out there too.
Remember to always let your slips show!

Guest's picture
Guest

I moved The Slip Shop from Ebay to my own website. You can get there by www.SecondHandSlipShop.com
Please visit for some of the best slips from the 70's & 80's. You will find that all of my slips are in Excellent Condition and are very reasonably priced. If anyone is interested in purchasing lots of 50 to start an online business, please visit www.VintageLingerie.shopping.officelive.com
These slips are sold in lots of 50 at $5.00/piece.
If anyone is interested in purchasing larger lots, please contact me at sliplovin66@hotmail.com so we can discuss pricing and photos.

Guest's picture
Shandy

There is nothing more feminine and sexy than a woman wearing a silky slip. A full slip in smooth satin or nylon, trimmed with delicate lace is perfect to wear to bed in lieu of a plain old nightgown!

Guest's picture
Davey

Absolutely true what you say about ladies in slips being attractive. My gorgeous wife, Maria, who is in her mid forties is a slip wearer! She always wears a skirt and always with a slip underneath (and quite often peeping below). Her favourite style right now is a very flared or full circle calf length black skirt with a calf length flared white half slip. I do find this combination of swirly black skirt and white slip showing very sexy, and we have often made love with her still wearing her skirt and slip! Enough of that haha, but seriously the slip is the most under appreciated but most appealing item of lingerie in a womans wardrobe. Leep wearing your lovely slips, girls!

Guest's picture
PK

Like many women, I'm a bit overweight and my thighs touch together when I stand. A couple of summers ago I pranced around NYC in a flirty skirt and felt fantastic... Until a few hours later, when I developed a soreness and itchy rash on my thighs. Unbeknownst to me, if your thighs are rubbing together in moist summer heat for a few hours, you can develop urticaria, or almost an allergic rash. Awful!

That prompted me to delve into the corner of the lingerie department of department stores {Penny's, Sears, Macy's, etc.) I'd never been in before and thought only "older" women used (I'm in my 20s): the rack with shapewear and slips. I purchased a pair of what I can only call half-slip/half shorts. Black with lace trim, they're satiny and sexy, and serve not only to prevent the uncomfortable rubbing I'd experienced years ago, but also gives me peace of mind that if my skirt ever blows or flips up, my dimpled thighs won't be immediately noticeable. It's great!

I used to feel self-conscious about even owning such a piece of lingerie, but it's just so darned USEFUL, I've had it for a while now and consider it an indispensable piece of my wardrobe -- moreso than blouses that go out of style, or bras & underwear that get worn out quickly.

Also, I don't think I've ever seen the full movie, but there's a line from Steel Magnolias that's stuck with me... When the women are watching other women dancing, they mock one overweight woman dancing. One is incredulous that she's out in public looking like that and says something along the line of, "I haven't left the house without wearing a girdle since I was 18." Oh how those words comfort me! What feels like a realm of lingerie for the over-40 or over-50 crowd feels sanctioned by to be used by those of us still in our 20s but perhaps without the slimmest figure :) It sometimes feels like those of us in our teens or 20s are supposed to naturally look like we don't need girdles or slips or spanx or whatever. I'm so glad it's all coming back into style! I have a wedding to go to in a couple of months and I think I'll look for a nice slip to wear under my dress... (and maybe one that's long enough to be visible, thanks to previous commenters' opinions on its suggestive sexiness!)

Guest's picture
Guest

Like many men I love wearing a cami and a vintage half slip under my boring male clothing, they suited nicely and wearing the loose fit half slip is a rush I tell you! Sans panties of course for easy restroom action.

Guest's picture
Dmrsdoubtfire

Hi there i just wanted you folks to know that by wearing a full slip makes your clothes fit better looks nicer and the feel is awsome and fiminine i was tought that when you wear beautyful things under it brings out the beauty in your self witch makes you feel more wonderful and specail feeling rich in beauty you will feel rich in all things it does'nt get any better then that ladies i just don't wear a dress just to wear it i wear it becuse of the beauty of the dress witch makes me feel like a better women Tha Ta

Guest's picture
Guest

When I was a young boy I used to play on the floor when my mother had card parties for her women friends. I just loved pushing my cars around near the table and looking up to see what the ladies were wearing under their skirts. I saw such lovely slips and girdles holding taught lovely seamed nylons. When they would cross their legs I caught a view of their lacy panties or petti pants, remember them ladies? They are lovely to look at and fun to wear under boring male clothing. I have switched to panties now because petti pants are so hard to find. I agree about half slips, I have lots of them but wearing panties under them is a must. Go in a stall to pee if you must but wear panties under half slips.