October 26th, 2007

I dreamed I was oh-so-fashionable in my…


Maybe they should rename it, though. Apparently, underwear isn’t so very “under” any more. It’s come out of the closet, as it were, according to the NY Times, which reports that “showing off your lingerie has become very much a fashion trend.”

And by “showing off,” they don’t mean in the time-honored sense of showing it off to your love object of choice. No, they mean the following, as seen recently on fashion runways:


I’ve witnessed the equivalent of the sight on the right walking the streets—a black bra displayed with a top with a scooped-out back. Usually, for some reason, it’s being worn by a young woman who also sports tattoos down the entire length of her slender arms.

The photo on the left is hardly distinguishable from a flimsy dress. But the one in the middle—the lavender panties worn over what looks to be pantyhose, with a backless skirt, the better to show off the ensemble—looks like very much like a fashion “don’t” to me.

Then again, grandma always said to be prepared by wearing nice underwear; you just never know. Of course, she wasn’t talking about purposeful displays, sexual or otherwise; she was talking about the ignominy of winding up in the emergency room with a frayed bra, quelle horreur!

And yet, I recall that this sort of thing has a history. Those of you who are of a certain age will no doubt remember the famous ad campaign run by Maidenform, to which I’ve referred in the title of this post, “I dreamed I [fill in the blank with some public activity] in my Maidenform bra,” complete with photos. Here’s a sampler:



The Maidenform “I dreamed” ad campaign was one of the most successful and long-lived in advertising history, running from the end of WWII to the mid-60s. Its combination of sexuality, exhibitionism (very risque for those years, although rather sedate-seeming now), and downright silliness was apparently a winner.

I discovered, from reading the linked article, that Maidenform practically invented the modern bra during the 1920s when the prevailing fashion was to bind the breasts in order to look boyish. Maidenform was betting that this wasn’t the true goal of many women and, sure enough, the bra caught on.

Maidenform fell on hard times during the 90s—even filing for bankruptcy—but seems to be doing better now. And yet, who ever dreamed that the Maidenform “dream” of walking around in underwear as outerwear would become a reality?

9 Responses to “I dreamed I was oh-so-fashionable in my…”

  1. Tatterdemalian Says:

    You’re like 20 years late to that party. Does the name Madonna ring any bells?Or Janet Jackson, or Paula Abdul? Fashion models consider pierced nipples and G-strings sufficient outer wear these days. Wearing bras and panties over them marks you as a square old lady; the only thing worse would be using phrases like “radical” or “gag me with a spoon.”

  2. Bugs Says:


  3. Americaneocon Says:

    Let’s just say that us guy neocons won’t be putting up posts such as this!

    Love the bull and the Maidenform. Now that’s neoconservative!

  4. Talkinkamel Says:

    Neo, be very careful, criticizing anything, anything at all, about modern culture and taste, be it tattoos, showing one’s lingerie, putting a staple in one’s belly-button, etc.

    People will be infuriated, take this very vague criticism personally, and and scream that you are a heartless, souless, brainless yahoo; who are YOU to judge them? How can you be such a hypocrite? And so it goes.

  5. AFFA Says:

    If I saw someone dressed like the middle picture, I wouldn’t think it was deliberate. I’d think they didn’t know how to dress themselves. Or that their clothing met with an accident.

  6. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “People will be infuriated, take this very vague criticism personally, and and scream that you are a heartless, souless, brainless yahoo; who are YOU to judge them? ”

    I’ve seen neoneo get called far worse on her blog. I’m pretty sure she can handle it.

  7. Roland Dodds Says:

    Why is that last ad so attractive?

    And I have no problem with young women wearing their underwear in public…I even support such an action!

  8. Tatyana Says:

    Time to shop…I have nothing to wear on public!

  9. Bugs Says:

    Mmmmm…lacy unmentionables…

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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