Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Happy Birthday Poly

Happy Birthday Poly? Now, what can that be about? I hear you ask. Well, apparently it is the 70th anniversary of the production of polyester, along with nylon the mainstay of women's uniforms and workwear design throughout the 60s and 70s and even 80s (and still today in one form or another, usually as a mixed fibre -but is not the same, is it?). I know this because I had the BBC on the radio yesterday in the morning and it was a whole feature on Radio Four here in the UK extolling the virtues of polyester in those shiny houseboats, overalls and uniforms I am sure many here can remember. Imagine my amazement on hearing a woman on the radio going on about the 'sensual feel' (if slightly sweaty and static ridden) and sound of polyester and how many housecoat and so on from that golden era she owns - it was almost fetishistic.

Now as you may have guessed, I have been focusing my energies mainly on getting the book finished - presently hovering around the 450 page mark and with a little more to finish and go in, I really now do envisage it being released into parts in some manner, the first of which may be ready as early as the week after next. The trouble is that now, along with my dodgy knee and my rather painful foot - that as you may remember some idiot ran over in his car - I now have a touch of severe man-flu (i.e. what my other half describes as a mild cold - but I know different). I have recruited a kind soul (or rather he has offered his help) who is presently aiding me with editing and proofreading some sections (as well as contributing some fresh ideas).

Despite these various pressures I have been able to put aside a little time to play with the blog. Last night, following on from the aforementioned radio show I lavished a considerable time chasing links to stuff about polyester in the hope of dredging up suitable imagery for today's blog entry. Strangely it all got sidetracked and although I found precious little suitable on polyester I did somehow stumble upon a series of French language blogs and a couple of other resources which I thought about showcasing today. But first of all I set out to tackle a couple of comments that had been appended during the past week to the last posting I made why back last Sunday. It all got a little carried away so I thought I'd include my ramblings here... so...

Referring back to the comments left on my last post: I think 'Anonymous' has hit the nail on the head when he (or she - I've learned my lesson, ha ha) says "a uniform has to be something that stands out as being shameful to wear" and that "the 'girl' should look childish, silly and not have a thread of modesty" - although I would personally substitute 'self-esteem' or 'self-confidence' for the word 'modestly'. 'Orage' also has a point when she reiterates that "females regard the most bizarre outfits as normal". If this were the 1950s or 60s or perhaps even the 1970s then this subject would not be quite so problematic and fraught with complication. It is instructive to note that many of the writers I admire and that work in the genre I'm interested in tend to set their tales in the Victorian era, turn-of-the-century (19th /20th) or the 1930s. Indeed when I first set out I myself was tempted to set the scene in the 1930s and 1950s.
One only has to read this edited extract (below) taken from 'The Family Doctor' 1898 (apparently) to grasp the problem.

“Sir, I had long intended to bring to your notice just how the system of keeping girls in short frocks as long as possible is an excellent one. There is no particular hurry needful in the dressing of girls as women and I'm sure that the mere fact of wearing a short frock and with having her hair kept unsophisticatedly coiffured is enough to keep the silly thoughts and inclinations of many girls of sixteen or so in check. There is something about the delicate combination of the dress of a young girl of thirteen or fourteen with the rather slender yet womanly figure and confined waist of a young lady of perhaps seventeen or eighteen - a woman in her own right - or even one approaching her early twenties that makes for a rare and rather lovely picture. I would argue that one can have no hesitation in punishing a girl dressed in this manner by means of the rod or whip, while I would suggest that one would hesitate in caning a young lady if her true age was clear and her appearance appropriately adult.
Two girls of my acquaintance are much marked upon on account of their short frocks and young appearance. Should it be desired to retain some extra element of modestly, then silk knickerbockers of a suitable colour may be worn reaching almost to the knee but the frock should be kept short enough to allow the trimming of the drawers to peep out. The latter perhaps might be decorated around the cuffs with ribbon bows so as to soften the severity of the costume while retaining the necessary formality so important in instilling good discipline. Despite the childish brevity of the skirt, there is no reason why a girl's neck and arms should be left to the ravages of the sun and the frock should therefore be high in the neck, long in the sleeves and may be quite constricting in both the thus discouraging any unladylike extravagance of movement and instead encouraging passivity and a sweet, submissive demeanour.
Although of nearly seventeen summers their stepmother is very careful of their looks in spite of their schoolroom dress. They are fair, each possessing a splendid mass of light brown hair falling over their shoulders and are generally dressed in blue, their skirts reaching two or three inches above their knees, displaying legs encased in black stockings. Their figures are invariably enclosed in regular rather closely-laced corsets which as many people used to say gives the promise of very slim tightly laced figures. Their hands and complexions are always carefully protected from injury from the sun or air”.

I don't doubt taking such an approach would have been efficacious at the time - but in the present era? But then the other 'Anonymous' (or is it the same one - that's the problem with being anonymous!) Talks about "old fashion school clothing like gym slips worn with a boater" and a whole new world opens up. Even if we satisfy ourselves with such styling as it actually would have appeared at the time there is much mileage to be had - even though a young lady dressed in that manner no matter her age, up to appoint at least, would not have raised an eyebrow in the relevant era. If we start playing with that concept a little, however - stretching the boundaries between what would have been expected in what would have seemed unusual even then, perhaps playing with different and perhaps inappropriate fabrics, incorporating unusual colours or extreme details of styling - then the scope becomes wide indeed. For example, if we're talking about developing a school uniform suitable for the intractable late teen continuing her education at home, under the tutelage of a strict governess or some other suitable personage, we have no need to limit ourselves to the usual muted school colours. 'Ware_simon' suggested in connection with the dress depicted in my last blog entry that it might benefit from being "in [a] pink candystripe", he also suggests the style be modified to allow for buttoning down the back (which of course with a little thought can be made most awkward the young lady concerned) and the addition of "a white satin sash tied at the back in a bow". And why not? (Thanks for the kind comment regarding the site by the way, Simon). I can imagine pillaging from a whole swathe of school uniform designs, perhaps even spread a couple of decades or so, cribbing from the best, or rather the most restrictive, oppressive and, yes, eye-catching, the most outstanding or unusual features - from a disciplinary standpoint.

And we don't even have to restrict our palate to school uniforms as such inspiration, for example if one takes the traditional school blazer then why not substitute it with a short cape based on the style that nurses used to wear but restricted to waist length - along with a short pleated skirt, white cotton gloves, a boater on the head, hair in pigtails and ribbons and her long coltish legs bare down to the little white ankle socks, their frilled turnover-tops threaded through with ribbon of a suitable colour and tied in a bow, it makes for a pretty picture of contrite shy embarrassment. Now factor in the discomfort of traditional full-bodied cotton interlock school knickers but manufactured with a layer of latex or PVC sandwiched between the inner and outer cotton (or why not nylon or polyester) layers, a tightly buttoned high stiff Eton style collar that barely lets her lower her chin tied around by a firmly knotted diagonally striped school tie, rubberised girdle and high-cupped longline bra or stiff longline corsellete. Perhaps underneath it all one might choose instead to put her in the traditional liberty bodice suspenders and black lisle stockings, a flat fronted candy striped school shirt blouse worn under a particularly shapeless gymslip and her breasts suitably restrained and flattened so that she doesn't even have the allure of her developing adult silhouette to fall back on, perhaps braces fitted on her teeth with or not she needs them. Then we have the possibilities inherent in the tightly belted gabardine school raincoat of old.

Then we have those "school dresses featured in the Australian soaps" mentioned by 'Cloudelover'. I'm sure that if the guardian or governess given control over a recalcitrant young Miss were to trace back the evolution of that styling a few decades or so he or she would come up trumps, with a little thought and imagination. Incidentally, thanks for the link, 'Cloudlover' - for those interested several entire galleries of examples of Australian soap opera school uniform dresses can be found in the Yahoo groups: Neighbours Uniform Babes 1 and Neighbours Uniform Babes 2. Although there hasn't been much activity for a couple of years on these two groups I think the galleries are still intact and perhaps a few of you out there might consider contributing a few pics of your own as I don't think either is limited to soap opera content necessary and a little activity might just get the ball rolling again on what at one point appeared to be a promising pair of groups (just click group titles or the picture top left or go to the Yahoo group listing on the right-hand sidebar). And all this brings me back to polyester again. Surely 100% polyester is the most obvious fabric choice for a practical, functional and hard wearing school summer dress such as might be envisaged.

By the way, anyone know of the magazine a couple of whose covers appear above. I came across them on one of the french blogs I mentioned but can't remember which - I'll get it sorted before next time. Translating from the French (or rather, having Google do it for me) it seems the author found them in a box in his house someplace and they date back to the 1970s / 80s (there are other examples on the blog) - but I thought I'd pretty much seen every spanking mag there is and has been and I have never seen or heard of that one!

To end: I feel I can safely say that all our thoughts go out to all those out there in Japan at the moment who are suffering. It has been one hell of a shock watching the news pictures over the weekend and a humbling experience for all of us, even those of us safely watching on TV, the way that nature can wipe entire towns off the face of the map in little more than a blink of an eye, despite all of mankind's much-vaunted technology and I wish them well.


Anonymous said...

There are some good ideas concerning 'big girls' uniforms ie. females in their late teens and early 20's under 'training' or punishment. They would of course be made to wear these outfits in public. I do like the sound of a boater, or maybe a beret. Girls with long hair would have it in pig tails, other girls would have short back and sides. All would wear braces on their teeth. Underwear would consist of something to flatten the breasts, tight school knickers which would fit snuggly over a shaved quim. Shapeless ultra short gym slip showing the girls bum cheeks, ankle soocks which leave plenty of leg to smack. Lace-up black shoes.
As to the uniform colour it has to be a dirty brown, although the knickers could be white.

Orage said...

You obviously haven't thought of overweight girls, so numerous these days!

Orage said...

"Translating from the French (or rather, having Google do it for me)".
I always rely on google translations when I want to have a good laugh!
BTW "Pan pan" alludes to an expression used to threaten small children with a spanking, pan being the onomatopoeia for the sound of hand hitting flesh (and firing gunshots, too).
In fact, the whole expression is "pan pan cul cul". I suppose I needn't translate that.

Anonymous said...

I did think about overweight girls Orage, but couldn't think of a simple solution. I guess they would have to be set off to a fat camp, once they had slimed down they could start their 'training'.
A particularly harsh camp with a restricted diet would soon slim even the biggest girl down.

Orage said...

Slimming, yes, but what sort of uniform in the meantime? Or just the same one to enhance their revolting shape and add more humiliation?

Anonymous said...

It may seem harsh but I would make the overweight girls' wear a sack like dress with the words 'FAT GIRL' on the front and back in large letters. They would be required to lose at least three pounds a week, failure to do so and they would get a hard cane stroke for every ounce they failed to lose. Things could become seriously painful for lazy girls. If they put on weight.............well you don't want to know.

Toyntanen said...

Hi Orage et al!

Orage; "pan, pan, cul, cu" left me just as mystified - I'm a bit thick where languages are concerned (I'm a Brit, what do you expect? We just shout louder!). Anyway, a quick visit to Google Translate soon put me right: Bang, bang, ass, ass apparently. Is that about right?

I love the 'fat camp' correspondence from all concerned. Orage asks: "Slimming, yes, but what sort of uniform in the meantime?" Well, ordinarily I'd be all for the shapeless gym slip worn other some form of breast-flattening restrictive foundation wear. But in the scenario you outline where the subject or subjects show a tendency to obesity the very opposite considerations should be brought in to play. One should certainly not play down the girl's silhouette under such circumstances - quite the opposite. Seams should be strained, buttons should struggle and fabric should be stretched. Waists should be cinched to the point that flesh rolls upon itself above waistbands , heavy pendulous breasts should be elevated to the maximum extent and thrust forward into straining thin white nylon school blouses and skirt hems flutter unfalteringly around the tops of elephantine thighs. Alternatively what could be better than a regulation school leotard, in some Elastain / Lycra rich fabric, skin tight and cut high at the sides and rear to keep such a girl's mind focussed on her figure.

But then again, how to deal with the perfectly slim young thing forever preening in the mirror, stick-thin exercising, forever refining her figure and overly full of herself because of that - how should we take her down a peg or two?

Orage said...

Garth, that's right: "bang bang ass ass", self explanatory.

"One should certainly not play down the girl's silhouette under such circumstances". The description which follows is absolutely revolting and it fits exactly what I had in mind.

"How to deal with the perfectly slim young thing...": quite simple since you've already dealt with that in "Institutionalised 2": by giving her a girlish uniform, a fattening diet and having her hair messily trimmed.