Or: when did we stop thinking about underwear as foundational?
Photo by Patrick Kool on Unsplash
My grandmother was a particularly stylish woman.
I remember a story she used to tell about cutting the stomach out of her skirts so that she could keep wearing them while she was pregnant with my mother in the 1940s. She couldn?t bare wearing what passed for maternity clothes then.
She wore Chanel lipstick that she put on with a golden lipstick brush and had a whole closet for her jewelry.
Grandma called her underthings ?foundations.?
They were foundational. There wasn?t anything delicate about them. They were designed to provide a foundation for her clothing.
A few weeks ago I came across a blog post written by a woman who talked about wearing ?granny panties? under her high waisted pants. In fact, she said, she wears them everyday.
She bought them at Target, next to the shapewear.
So, the next time I was in Erie, I stopped at Target and I headed over to the shapewear ? which is a section that I?ve never actually been in before. I?ve worn regular old cotton bikini-cut underwear for most of my life. But I bought a two-pack of high-waisted, light-support foundational underwear right where that blogger said that they would be.
It took me a while to actually try them. It seemed odd. Underwear that compressed my stomach (just slightly, though) and reached up to my belly button. How weird is that?
As soon as I put them on, though, I knew the truth.
I?m never going back to regular non-granny panties.
First of all ? I?m 48-years-old. I could be a granny, even if I?m not. So whatever. I?m okay with wearing underwear associated with older women.
Also? Granny panties is a pretty ageist term, right?
The truth is, though, that maybe younger women don?t need the foundational effects as much? I?m not sure. It?s possible I didn?t in my 20s. I can?t remember to be honest.
But I know that now, after three kids and losing more than 100 pounds, plus emerging arthritis in my hips, my body appreciates the support of a little bit of foundation.
The compression effect is comfortable in a way that I didn?t even realize underwear was capable of. It isn?t about making me look smaller. I wear a size 18. What are my underwear really going to do? Make me look like I wear a size 16-and-a-half? I mean, they?re panties, not magic beans.
It?s about giving my clothes (especially dresses or lighter-weight skirts and pants) a smooth foundation (there?s that word again) to fit over. So instead of coping with every bump and groove that my nearly-50 year old body has accumulated over its lifetime, my clothes can just hang over a smoother surface.
Granny panties give my dress a nice, smooth foundational surface. (Photo: Author)
They also support my arthritic hips and often-aching lower back.
This isn?t shapewear. I?m not talking about Spanx that I have to wrestle myself into every morning or that I?m grateful to get out of at night. The compression is very light. They are just high-waisted underwear with a little bit of foundational support.
These are the exact panties that, I swear, I?m going to buy a lifetime supply of.
And there you have it. Way more than I?ve ever written before (and likely ever will again) about my underwear. Next stop ? a real bra shop.
Here?s my secret weapon for sticking with whatever your thing is.
Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She?s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and the upcoming novel The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.