By Jill Fields

Intimate clothing, a time period in use via 1921, has performed a very important function within the improvement of the "naughty yet great" female excellent that emerged within the 20th century. Jill Fields's attractive, imaginitive, and complex historical past of twentieth-century underwear excursions the realm of women's intimate clothing and arrives at not anything below a sweeping view of twentieth-century women's historical past 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 documents of equipped exertions, An Intimate Affair is a provocative exam of the methods cultural meanings are orchestrated by means of the "fashion-industrial complex," and the ways that participants and teams embody, reject, or derive that means from those daily, but hugely major, intimate articles of clothing.

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Extra resources for An intimate affair : women, lingerie, and sexuality

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Chapter 1, “Drawers” (the term for underpants from the nineteenth through the early twentieth century), explores the relationship between pants and power by looking at the Western cultural prohibition against women wearing divided garments (trousers). The association of masculinity with trousers and femininity with dresses, and the importance of separating men and women through this distinction in attire, extended the prohibition against divided garments even to women’s underwear. When middle-class women did begin to wear underpants in the early nineteenth century, their drawers were constructed with an open crotch in part, I argue, to distinguish women’s drawers from men’s.

The legs launch into a frenetic dance, their kicking feet turning to face the mirror. The dancing ceases briefly as hands lower into view a white pair of short silk closed-crotch drawers with a leg ruffle. These modern underpants are donned leg by leg. After focusing on a few more kicks of the heels, the scene abruptly cuts to a shot from the waist down. Now we see that the drawers are worn underneath a swinging fringed skirt. The dancing continues as a silk wraparound underskirt is placed between the fringe and the drawers to complete the ensemble, but not before hands deftly move the fringe aside to allow an unhindered look at the underwear and the legs beneath them.

Thus, once again, a divided garment emerged from beneath the skirt and became acceptable women’s wear.

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