The Unmentionables Counter
By Sparrow Brown
Hello there, ma’am. I hope you’re finding everything that you need. Oh, you just came from house wares and now you’re looking for some foundation garments? Yes ma’am, unmentionables are changing. It’s all Paris driven, you know. Bustles? No, ma’am, we stopped carrying bustles last year. They’re just not fashionable any more. Yes, ma’am, I’m aware that you can still order them from Montgomery Ward and Sears and Roebuck, but our ordering manager decided that bustles were a thing of the past—at least for now—and that the clothing here needed to reflect the progressive attitude of the nation.
What is the style now? A little bit more of a natural look, I would say. A-line skirts and tight shirtwaists. Big up top and naturally big down below, but tight enough to squeeze in the middle, as my poppa would say. Well, I apologize ma’am. I didn’t mean to offend or come off as vulgar.
So, back to business. Are you looking for all new things, or just a few things to fit the fashion? Yes, I see, so you’ll need a whole need foundation wardrobe. Well, let’s start with stockings. I assume that you’re looking for some all-purpose medium weight stockings. We have all kinds, ma’am, from woolen to cotton, and the softest silk you’ve ever felt. Well, yes ma’am, the silk ones are more expensive, but they’re well worth the expense when it comes to comfo—oh, yes ma’am, well if cotton is what you’d like. Mediums? Here’s our selection of mediums, in all different shades. Oh, you only wear black stockings. Well, you may want to consider some white or pastels for this spring. No? Yes, ma’am, I’ll start a stack for you.
While we’re down at this end of the counter, do you need any garters or do you use suspenders with your corsets? Well, suspenders are becoming more and more popular. What are they? They’re ribbons that hang down from the bottom of your corset that have a little hook and eye that latches over the top of your stocking. They hold stockings up better and are more comfortable. And some of the doctors, like Dr. Kellogg, say that they’re better for leg circulation. Oh, Dr. Kellogg is a quack? Well, he may be ma’am. You just want that pair that buckles? Yes, ma’am.
You would like to look at chemises now? Well, the chemise hasn’t really been in fashion for quite some time, and I’m afraid we no longer carry them. We do still carry camisoles, but if you’ll just step over here, ma’am, I’ll show you what is all the fashion now. Oh, no, ma’am, what’s on that mannequin isn’t indecent; it’s what many women, particularly active ones, are wearing now. It’s called a “combination”. Basically, a camisole and a pair of drawers have been sewn together. Yes ma’am, you can get them as split-bottomed, although since the fashion is to wear fewer petticoats, many women are requesting closed bottoms that fasten with small buttons or eye hooks. We have quite a few for you to choose from…Oh, yes ma’am. Of course, you can see our selection of camisoles and drawers. They’re right this way.”
Were you able to make some selections, ma’am? Oh, yes, these are lovely! The lace edging just really sets them off. No, ma’am. I don’t believe that lace is hand-made. I believe it’s factory-made. Well, prices are always going up, ma’am. We do have some pieces with hand-made lace from Brussels, but the craftsmanship is reflected in the price. Well, yes ma’am, I suppose adding your own lace at home is always an option.
You would like to look at petticoats now? Well, although we use to carry them in this department, they’re now being sold in our dress department. Yes ma’am, I understand that contrary to popular belief that petticoats are still an unmentionable item. I’m not in charge of what department different articles are placed in. I just try to do as I’m told.
Would you like a new corset to round out your new wardrobe? The corsets are at this end, ma’am. No ma’am, we no longer employ a corset maker. Our corsets are either imported from Paris or made right here in New York. What if they don’t fit? Well, the store does employ tailors and seamstresses for alterations, so if you choose a corset that doesn’t quite fit, adjustments can be made. I’m sorry, ma’am, it’s just how the world is changing. Would you like to be fitted before you begin browsing? You’re measures haven’t changed in ten years? Quite good, ma’am. Well, here are our corsets. As you can see we have a wide variety of styles, materials, and colors. No ma’am, we don’t cater to the girls on Coney Island. It’s the style now to wear corsets in colors other than white. Yes, ma’am, I suppose it is a Paris thing.
As I was saying, we do have a variety of styles that should fit your lifestyle. We have some that are very tight-waisted and we also have Dr. Jaeger’s Sanitary Woolen Corsets in stock, as I’m sure you’ve seen advertised. What’s so sanitary about them? The wool is supposed to wick away perspiration. Ladies don’t perspire? Well, yes ma’am, I suppose that’s occasionally true. No ma’am, I wasn’t trying to be impudent. What I’m trying to say is that if you lead an active life, we have healthy options for you, or if you would prefer something more traditional, we can accommodate. Yes, this one right here is quite lovely and traditional.
Are you done shopping, ma’am? Well, let’s tally up your purchases. What’s this contraption? It’s a cash register, ma’am. It’s supposed to make us more efficient and help us keep up with money better. Yes ma’am, you’ll still receive a receipt so you can check my math.
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Sparrow is a writer who loves to observe humans (and often makes fun of them and occasionally talks shit about them). She became a Pagan in her early formative years. A few years later she introduced her first serious boyfriend to BDSM. Her current partner introduced her to blood sacrifices several years ago. She worships in several Wiccan/Pagan and Hellenic traditions and is a priestess in a few of them. She lives in Charlotte with her partner. Oh, and she enjoys eating fluffy bunnies (with french fries and beer) and feeling their nice soft fur against her naked skin!
You can find her on the web at: http://barbedpentacle.com