When I was growing up, a slip was just a typical fundamental part of a girl’s wardrobe when wearing a skirt or dress. If you didn’t have one you ran the risk of your clothes not lying smoothly, or even being see-through in the sun. Princess Diana caused a bit of a shock when she was caught in a picture with a long skirt, back to the sun, that distinctly showed off her legs due to her lack of a slip. So because of this, I always assumed it was just as normal for everyone else. I could buy them cheaply at Walmart. I was, I suppose, blissfully ignorant.
Last summer I wanted a new one, not really for modesty’s sake as my dresses are of fairly opaque fabric, but because they’re hand-wash only, and I wanted to keep them cleaner for longer by having something easily washable between me and the dress. I also wanted something much prettier than what Walmart had to offer.
So I went into La Vie En Rose, asked where the slips were and… was met with blank stares. Not even the woman working there who was older than my mom knew what I was talking about. Even after I explained it, they were still confused. Had I just stepped out of a time machine? They tried instead to sell me nightgowns. Pretty, sure, but all those ruffles would leave my clothes looking pretty lumpy, so no thanks.
A friend told me later that this could be because as far as she knew, slips were being called crinolines now. This left me even more confused because crinolines are underskirts that are intended to give volume to a skirt, like a 50s swing skirt or a Victorian skirt. I have a crinoline. It’s not a slip. Nobody wears puffy underskirts made of tulle under wiggle dresses.
So slips are being called crinolines, merry widows and bustiers are being called corsets, what next? Stockings are pantyhose? Camisoles are bras? What’s going on? You would think that in a society where women still wear lingerie the terms wouldn’t get so horribly confused. In our world of minimalism, is lingerie now slowly beginning on its way out? Maybe one day I’ll write a glossary.
Back to the slips. As I said earlier, a slip is something you wear under a skirt (half slip) or dress (full slip) to smooth it out, keep your modesty, and keep the inside of your dress or skirt clean. They can even help keep you warm in the winter and are great for keeping you comfortable in scratchy fabric. Think of it as a liner. And yes, they can sort of look like nightgowns.
Where do you get them? Walmart still has them, I think. The better solution though, is specialty and vintage shops.
For the real deal at good prices you can search Value Village, Goodwill, and yes, Etsy. The ones I have found on Etsy are gorgeous, and in my current financial situation it’s driving me a bit nuts to see all those beautiful things.
Some people don’t like the idea of used lingerie in any capacity, and besides, sometimes a vintage slip just won’t do under more revealing modern clothes. In this case there are places for new slips, such as Her Room which include slimming styles from brands like Spanx. Their way of explaining what a slip is is romantic and spot-on.
So go have a look, and you might discover that slips are not only functional, but another way for you to feel feminine and fabulous every day.