This is my contribution to The Hollywood Revue's Fashion in Film Blogathon. Click HERE for more fashion, more fun and more fabulosity!
According to Wikipedia, the slip is:
|Joyce Compton approves of Barbara Kent's slip
"a woman's undergarment worn beneath a dress or skirt to help it hang smoothly and to prevent chafing of the skin from coarse fabrics such as wool. Slips are also worn for warmth, and to protect fine fabrics from perspiration. A full slip hangs from the shoulders, usually by means of narrow straps, and extends from the breast to the fashionable skirt length. A half slip hangs from the waist. It may also be called a waist slip or more rarely a petticoat.
Slips are often worn to prevent the show through of intimate undergarments such as panties or a brassiere. A slip may also be used to prevent a silhouette of the legs showing through clothing when standing in front of a bright light source. Other uses for slips are to make a dress or skirt hang properly, the prevention of chafing to the skin, to protect the outer garment from damage due to perspiration, or for warmth, especially if the dress or skirt is lightweight and thin."
Really? We all know that, at least in the world of film, the slip was a way to show a woman in her undies while getting past the censors. It wasn't quite a nightie, and it wasn't quite panties and a bra. It hinted and titillated and gave us all a voyeur's glimpse into a woman's boudoir. A feminine lure, it reeled the hunter in until the last moment when - alas- the prey retreated behind closed doors (or a dress).
In the 1920s and early 1930s (up until that fateful day the hays Code was enforced), the slip was a staple in stories of modern girls on the make. Now, you would never see Mary Pickford in a slip, but Clara Bow? You bet!
|Clara Bow displays the goods
|For Clara, the slip was her work uniform
|Clara in her element
In the 1930s, Clara's free spirit with a slip became a staple of the pre-code sweeties. The Teddy - a shortened version of the slip - became the staple of provocation. Add a pair of high heels to the look and it was the cat's pajamas, hubba hubba, ooh la la and all that!
Jazz Up Your Lingerie!
In 1931's "The Smiling Lieutenant," Claudette Colbert gives some musical advice to Miriam Hopkins that became the theme song for all pre-code gals on the make:
|Miriam Hopkins after her lingerie has been jazzed
|Bebe Daniels pretends she is not trying to seduce
|Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Blondell are
better covered than their friend (but not by much!)
|Leave it to Joan Crawford to look find the most glamorous lingerie
|Joan Blondell spent most of her pre-code days in her lingerie
|Ann Dvorak's slip seems to have slipped!
|Carole Lombard and friends check out the goods
|Jeanette MacDonald was never shy about
stepping out in her unmentionables
In the 1940s, the slip became more ornate and took on a more nightie type of look. Sometimes it was hard to tell if the lady was getting ready to retire or step out. One clue is that the slip seemed easier to wade through than the voluminous negligee.
|Gene Tierney has the classy but provocative look down pat
|Ann Sheridan adds a garter to up the ante in allure
|Rita Hayworth's famous pose
The 1950s were the last hurrah of the seductive slip, but it went out with a bang with Taylor and Monroe.
|Elizabeth Taylor breathes new life into the slip in both
"Butterfield Eight" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
|Marilyn use the slip for both retiring and nighttime departures: very efficient
Once we get to see Doris Day in her slip getting dressed with her kids in the room we knew it was all over and the slip will eventually be relegated to the dustbin with stays and pantalettes.
|Doris Day in the sanitized slip in "Please Don't Eat the Daisies"
Natalie Wood gave it a go in the 1976 TV version of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," and although she is beautiful, it all looked rather quaint by then.
Oh well, it was sure fun while it lasted!