It’s tax time!  Yes, I know we (Americans) don’t have to file until April 15.  Nonetheless, our new accountant, who we inherited from the former one (now retired, having put his three sons through expensive colleges), wants his workbook filled out and essential documents assembled by March 21, or else he may have to file for extensions of time within which to file.  That would cost us not only the filing fee of $75 each right there, but the cost of his time and anything else he can find to bill us for.  Time, time, time. (Sigh.)

His cover letter does say “may.” But I think I better get going, even if I miss his deadline by a couple of days.   Coming up with more posts is certainly more fun than adding up medical expenses (deductible only if exceeding 7 1/2% of income). But life can’t be all fun, fun, fun, can it?

However, in looking through that portfolio of old print ads which amused some of us so much recently, I fortuitously came across another example of time marching on.   I have no memory of writing the following important message to store buyers of ladies’ foundation garments, or for which ad agency I wrote it.  So I can’t pinpoint the exact date of this great advance in the design of a support system then little spoken of in polite society but relied on by at least half the women in America. However, it was probably the spring of 1960, when I managed to become again employed after my abrupt dismissal from the Gilbert Agency.

Rest assured, most of us fashion-forward and relatively slender young un’s no longer wore such instruments of torture to hold up our stockings in 1960; we had moved on to panty hose. Unfortunately, the portly, lumpy or old-fashioned — who of course looked nothing like the sketches in the ad — had no such option.  But in view of the spirited discourse about undergarments of this period in the comment section of an earlier post, it could be both timely and relevant to fill you in on the inch-by-inch progress in this area of life being made at the time.  (And give you something new to look at while I toil away at our taxes.)

Men may choose to think of the ad below as educational.  Women should thank God time has indeed marched on. Alternatively, they can yawn or skip it entirely. Mea culpa for having written it in the first place.  Like MacArthur, I shall return — but only when I have won the annual battle with Form 1040.


[Reading this is entirely optional.  It won’t be on the test.]

New phrases. New claims. A new product. You’ve listened. Perhaps you’re also one of the many who’ve already bought. If so, then you understand the importance of “proportioned” panty girdles to the foundations industry. But if you’re still hesitating, then you owe it to yourself and the future of your business to read this advertisement carefully.

“Proportioned Panty Girdles” by Scandale are completely different from any other panty girdle you’ve ever stocked. The significant way in which they differ is in their sizing. Every experienced corsetiere has always known that any two women who wear the same size (medium, let’s say) may differ considerably in their dimensions. These differences are not important in selling them a girdle. But correct fit in a panty girdle involves another body dimension: the customer’s waist-to-crotch length.

And no manufacturer until last fall had ever successfully incorporated this length dimension in his panty girdles. The waist-to-crotch (or torso-length) measurement of his garment was always that of the model on whom it had been originally designed.

That is why panty girdle fitting was such a hit-or-miss affair. A fitter had to remember that X’s garment tended to run long in the crotch, while Y’s was short. Then she had to match each customer to a panty from a different resource. If she couldn’t, the customer might complain about “tugging” or “riding up” — or refuse to buy a panty girdle at all! It was much like brassiere fitting before the introduction of A, B, and C cup sizes.

Scandale’s “Proportioned Panty Girdles” solve all these problems. They are the very first garments which have been scientifically and successfully sized in waist-to-crotch lengths. We call this torso dimension “SPAN.” Span A fits the woman with a short torso length. Span B is average in length.  And Span C is long. It has been our experience, during the two experimental years of measuring women from every walk of life, that 50% of your customers will wear Span B. 49% will need Span A or Span C. The other 1% is the one woman in a hundred whom we cannot custom fit. (You see, we’re honest.)

There are no shortcuts to this kind of sizing. “Adjustable” crotches or panels in one size that fit all torso lengths? Such panels or crotches cannot permanently and comfortably remain stretched a whole size larger. (Imagine a woman who needs a C cup brassiere trying to squeeze herself into one with an “adjustable” A cup!)

And there is no way of cutting down the somewhat added inventory which Scandale’s “Proportioned Panty Girdles” necessarily entail. (Except to cut down on inventory from other resources.)

On the other hand, there is no way of stopping progress either. “Proportioned Panty Girdles” are the sizing of the future. Would you really like to go back to the days of one-cup-brassieres?

I especially like the two experimental years of measuring women from every walk of life.  (Did wealth, or lack of it, really affect crotch size?) Now that  must have been an interesting job!

19 thoughts on “TIME MARCHES ON

  1. OMGosh, Nina! I was in a panty girdle era, along with the straight skirts. Also garter-belts! Don’t remember the torso choice though. Just S,M or L. What a fun post…made me smile. So glad panty hose came into being, and other stocking forms. Now, I’m girdle & stocking less, a pants & jeans kinda gal. Happy week! Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    • You must read more carefully, Gerard. The ad was written in 1960. Time has marched way way past these historical garments. As for “coming on the raw prawn,” neither Bill nor I know what that means, but we can guess, and the answer is yes.


      • come the raw prawn
        Australian English

        › to try to deceive someone, especially by pretending that you have no knowledge of something:

        Don’t come the raw prawn with me – you know very well what I’m talking about.


      • Sorry Nina. I took this one on the chin. I thought it a hilarious dipping back into times gone by. The crotch length measurement really did it for me. Hence my clumsy attempt at some humor; breaking the ice. 😉
        Perhaps if I had used a pseudo, as in Gertrude instead of Gerard it would have passed.
        I’ll run my next response past my dear Helvi first.

        Liked by 1 person

      • All is forgiven. Although running jokes by wife is a good idea. I realize some people host a Comment section that functions like the office water cooler but alas! I’m not one of them. However, any comment contributing to the topic at hand, or containing fulsome praise, is always welcome. 🙂


  2. Hilarious advert! I just about escaped these. My mother wore some nightmarish contraptions, but they were of the roll-on variety. I can remember my conversations with her persuading her that stomach muscles would do a better job than heavy elastic. I do remember the bliss of the arrival of tights/pantyhose instead of suspenders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suspenders? Here in the U.S. those were what men who chose not to wear belts used to hold up their trousers. We called what I think you wore garter belts, which I hated because the stockings pulled them down too far and then the top of them dug into my stomach. But yes, you’ve got the universally right word for all of those underpinnings, whether as bad as your mother’s or not. Nightmarish!


  3. Crotch length!! I don’t remember ever being measured or asked for such intimate information!! Our suspender belts fitted over the hips, and I don’t remember the ones you wrote about. My mother and grandmother wore a corset which were far more heavy duty apparel. What a laugh Nina, it does seem strange that things have changed so much.


  4. I think in the store it was trial and error, not personal measurement, Barbara. Or you could tell the saleswoman that you were “long waisted” or “short waisted.” And it was only this one brand (Scandale), which was trying to differentiate itself from its dozens of competitors in the marketplace. Corsets were before my time, although they were still being sold for the stylishly portly who wanted a smooth silhouette and never mind the pain. If you think things have changed so much since then, think again — about the nineteenth century, with their laces to make the waist smaller, and bustles to make the behind bigger, and crinolines to make women look like big mushrooms without legs below the waist. Woman’s lot was never an easy one!


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