May 27th, 2014

Skirt, wind, underwear, solution?

“Oldflyer” has a question:

I presume everyone saw the picture of the lovely Duchess of Cambridge’s dress blowing up and revealing her perfectly formed posterior. Now, I am quite old and not up to date, but someone please elighten me. Is it fashionable for fashionable women not to wear underwear these days? Have I missed something, I should not have? Is there a thong which is not visible?

I am probably not all that much younger than Oldflyer, but I can offer an answer to his final burning question in that paragraph:

Yes, there is almost certainly a thong which is not visible.

And for Oldflyer’s earlier questions: yes, you are missing something. And yes, lack of underwear is more common than it used to be. Of course, many many years ago (we’re talking several centuries here), lack of underwear used to be common as well, at least in the sense of underpants. Women wore corsets and petticoats and all sorts of undergarments, but not what you would call panties with a crotch (for those historically inclined, see this) until relatively recently:

Crotchless panties are not a new thing. They are only a salacious version of what had been the style of women’s underwear for centuries. Whatever form of pantalets, pantalettes, drawers, or pantaloons a woman wore, they were usually open from the thigh up. This was for a variety of reasons. Bunching up all the yardage in even the humblest dress of centuries past to try and get a comfortable position over the chamber pot left no hands to pull (or “draw,” thus the term “drawers”) down underwear. Plus it was considered healthy and hygienic; a lady’s bits needed proper ventilation. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century buttons began to appear on the crotch of drawers, giving ladies the option to close up shop if they wished.

There’s a host of information at that website, including the fact that what you might call briefs for women were invented some time around the 1930s. And if you’ve always wondered what a dimity pocket is (and who among us hasn’t?), that’s the site for you as well.

The thong is of fairly recent origin in terms of being popularly used as women’s underwear (1990s?), but of ancient origin as a piece of clothing, usually for men. Women seem to wear it in order to reduce panty lines and to feel sexy and trendy, although some claim it is more comfortable than regular underpants, be they bikini or briefs. I am here to say that they are sadly mistaken, IMHO.

Which brings us to the Duchess and her recent wardrobe malfunction at the hands of the capricious Australian breeze (that link rather discreetly covers what was indiscreetly revealed, but you can find the full picture quite easily if you use Google; I’m going to make you work for it).

The following would seem to be a solution for her problem; I wonder why she hasn’t done it. Maybe the clothes don’t hang quite right when you do this?

But despite a string of such incidents, Kate has yet to take a leaf out of the Queen’s book.

Her Majesty’s skirts are always fitted at the hem with small lead curtain weights, which cost just £1.50 for a pack of four, to prevent the royal hemline from flying away in a gust of wind.

Seems the queen has thought of everything.

There’s also another old-fashioned solution: slips that are not full, and cling to the body under the dress. Or my own favorite from the 60s and miniskirt era, petti-pants, which were slips in the form of pants rather than skirts. Women of a certain age might remember them; I had ultra-short ones that didn’t show under the mini, but protected me on the subway.

Or, if all else fails, wear non-thong underwear. Could that be so difficult?


33 Responses to “Skirt, wind, underwear, solution?”

  1. LisaM Says:

    I have another theory. In every photo I’ve seen of Kate, she’s wearing nude pantyhose. Maybe here she’s wearing the kind with a built-in panty. I hope so, anyway.

  2. Artfldgr Says:

    Since women are mini men, they do crap like this to “feel”daring and feminine..

    i pointed out to my wife an article….
    did you know showing off your breasts in a plunge neckline is “dangerous” and that if you smear factory made fruit pulp from non native and less boring plants, you become agelessly pretty… not to mention that if you get rid of your bra, your liberated – so go seal the deal with a cigarette and donate money to the red dress

    its like watching delusional people pretend delusional is normal cause everyone in the mental instituatoin does it.

    when i was doing celebrity photography, you had to weed out the crotch shots. what the public sees is NOTHING compared to the wacko women narcisists trying to get press by using their crotches and telling everyone in the interview that they have their job for their brains, not their beauty…

    but remember men
    no matter how wacko or slutty and deseased they get, dont look… as that is a hostile male gaze and they think its bad…

    Tyranny of the Male Gaze
    Privileging the male gaze: Gendered tourism landscapes
    The Uber Archaeologist Art, GIS and the male gaze revisited (from the journal of social archeology)

    but its not to be confused with:
    Gaze avoidance: Personality and social judgments of people who avoid direct face-to-face contact

    which is a high crime requireing extermination and negation of future..

    so the most important thing to discuss is whether or not we have exceeded the amoral sexuality of a coppertone ad .

    discussing the normalcy of abnormal people isnt very productive… not to mention, why do women have this obsession with underwear? including the idea that its magical, a miracle, etc.

    madison avenue laments constantly that men are not so delusional and nutty enoughu that they can convince us to buy $300 dollar fruit dip and put it on our eyes to be yonger while ignoring the active ingredient is the same as preparation H…

    dont believe me? go check

  3. Sam L. Says:

    This is all news to me! Why was I not informed earlier? Perhaps even Obama got this news before me.

  4. FOAF Says:

    What, exactly, is the problem?

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    In cultures like Japan, it’s almost a reflex move for a woman to hold down her skirt when the wind is up.

    That’s for a society that mandates the wearing of trousers for boys and skirts for girls. Mandates.

    As for the skirt flip, I didn’t see anything. Not in Britain at least.

  6. CV Says:

    That’s a lot of information about “unmentionables,” Neo 🙂

    I agree about the comfort factor of the thong. Just a fancy word for a wedgie, IMO. Glad I missed that particular trend, even if I had to suffer panty lines.

    But I find myself feeling sorry for those generations of middle aged women who didn’t have the benefit of a crotch in their undergarments. Surely they had the same issues with bladder control that often arise after the arrival of a child or two (or 10)?!?

    There, now I’ve mentioned yet another unmentionable.

  7. neo-neocon Says:


    Most of them probably died before that.

    And if not, I bet they had some sort of gizmo for it—also unmentionable.

  8. kit Says:

    A few years ago, I saw a pic of Philip in a kilt and the wind blew. The photo was a front view.
    I have seen other photos of men in kilts with the same problem as Kate.
    Men in kilts need those curtain weights, too.

  9. Gringo Says:

    And if you’ve always wondered what a dimity pocket is (and who among us hasn’t?)

    Good thing I wasn’t drinking anything when I read this.

  10. Lizzy Says:

    I’ve read that Kate has certain restrictions on apparel for modesty, such as almost always having to wear hose, and no colored toenail polish. I bet this was her way of quietly rebelling against that. Probably has come to an end, though.

  11. OlderandWheezier Says:

    I imagine this incident has spurred a record number of lewd references to the “Land Down Under.”

  12. Ann Says:

    Poor Kate. First the French with the photo of her bare chested and now the Germans with her bare bottomed. The Brits must be seething. Old enmities die hard.

  13. Cornhead Says:

    The woman that invented Spanx is a billionaire. Self-made.

    No lie.

  14. Old Engineer Says:

    I note that there is no similar desire to look up the skirt of the current First Lady…

  15. parker Says:

    “I note that there is no similar desire to look up the skirt of the current First Lady…”

    Somethings are painful to contemplate such as Hillary or Harry Reid in spandex.

  16. Beverly Says:

    The gals up in Harlem have a crudely jocular name for the thong: “butt-floss.”

    For you fellows, just imagine having the World’s Worst Wedgie. Ick, ick, ick.

  17. Francesca Says:

    A half-slip would solve the problem. Not a floaty one, though. Just a straight, short half-slip.

  18. Matt_SE Says:

    As a single male, I don’t see the problem.

  19. fmt Says:

    Matt_SE, as a married male, I don’t either.

    It gets artfldgr’s panties in a twist, though.

  20. Styro Says:

    My daughter who attends a Catholic high school along with her friends wear compression pants under their uniform skirts. Then when they need to change for practice or games, be it soccer, basketball, softball, whatever, they already have compression bottoms on and save a little bit of time in the process. Plus it stops the boys from trying to get a cheap thrill.

  21. Ymarsakar Says:

    Styro, I’ve heard the Japanese utilize something like that, spats or somesuch thing.

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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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