I’m reprinting an article that originally appeared in my “Fashion Beat” column in the September 1998 issue of Retro-Reactive magazine. Because neither fashion nor sex will ever go out of style!
FASHION AND SEX!
Let me set the scene: it’s 1956, and you are a hip chick getting ready for a hot date! You are, of course, dressed to the nines, waiting for your dream date to arrive. Only right before he shows up you have to put on a new pair of stockings because you snagged the ones you were wearing on your #@*#*! scratchy horsehair crinoline. Now, cool out; nice girls don’t curse (and you are a nice girl, aren’t you?) Make sure your seams are straight, there’s the doorbell.
He takes you out to dinner, where your crinolines bunch up in the chair, and they’re so itchy they’re driving you crazy! Your cinch belt feels so tight, you can barely think about eating. But hey, you look so cool. At last you leave the restaurant, and you and dreamboat can take a long, romantic walk through the park.
Ok, but not too long, because your pointy shoes pinch your toes, and your stiletto heels sink into the ground with every step. So why don’t you two get back in his car and park up at Inspiration Point?
At last, he kisses you. But those pompom balls hanging from your angora collar are really lumpy in a clinch. And forget about going any farther–your panty girdle is impossible to get off. It’s the 50’s version of a chastity belt.
So much for amore. After all, you don’t want to be like those other couples you see: the girls wearing angora sweaters, the guys in their dark blue suits. Yeah, you always know who’s been messing around by the tell-tale fuzz all over their jackets!
Fashion and sex? In the 50’s, fashion was specifically designed to keep women pure and virginal. You can look, but you can’t touch.
So if you’re a modern girl getting dressed for a retro dance, remember that good girls wore pink lipstick and pearl earrings, and only the bad girls wore red lipstick and hoops. Luckily, today your reputation does not rest on this decision. Be grateful that you don’t have to follow these rules and dress like this 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
And if you’re a guy, be grateful that all you have to worry about is a fuzzy suit.