In times of tracksuits as a uniform for almost everything, a trend boosted by the rise of the athleisure and empowered by confinement, think about putting ourselves combination It is as crazy as it is anachronistic. That kind of nightgown with thin straps that we used to see our grandmothers under the dressing gown or dress seems to be meaningless in a world that demands comfortable clothes. However, this garment in its contemporary version, far removed from “the starched petticoats that when walking sounded with that unmistakable rustle”, as Laura Manzanera recounts in her book From corset to thong, it is still used on occasions as a guarantee of comfort. It prevents certain dresses from sticking to the body due to static electricity, it frees us from unwanted transparencies and guarantees a soft – and warmer – touch under garments made of rough fabrics. Despite the advantages, it ceased to be an official part of the women’s wardrobe with the liberation of women in the 1960s and, since then, its use has been relegated to specific occasions, associated with puritanical and old-fashioned clothing.
But in the same way that the girdle has returned in style, becoming the center of the offer of firms such as Skims, led by Kim Kardashian, the combination could recover a certain splendor sponsored by lingerie brands such as the aforementioned. Also Zara, in addition to specialized brands such as the successful Savage x Fenty, Women’secret or Etam, include combinations in their catalog: from those purely ornamental and lingerie –such as Zara’s, red and lace curd– to molders with a purely vocation. practice. «It is a garment that was associated with decorum and modesty and that was relegated by the historical inertia itself in women’s clothing. The definitive incorporation of trousers into the women’s wardrobe had a lot to do with its disappearance ”, contextualizes Mónica Soler, teacher at Workshop Granada, a platform dedicated to fashion training. “In addition, the petticoat at the time also had a hygienic function, it was used to prevent the outer fabrics from touching the skin, something that was no longer necessary after the appearance of new fabrics and the greater cleaning of clothes,” he adds.
Its current use, according to the expert, is either due to practical issues or is related to sensuality and eroticism. «It is still an element of lingerie and therefore it is sexy, in fact, we have movies in our minds where the garter, the stocking and the petticoat are the protagonists. Fashion is cyclical and we have gone from a thong to a much wider panty, so it could very well come back “, says Soler. Anne Bancroft in The graduate, Patty Duke and The valley of the dolls or Janet Leigh on the poster of Psychosis are good examples of the cinematographic side of this garment. In all three cases, by the way, the actresses wear a half combination or half petticoat, a version that replicates the shape of a skirt and is also currently available in brands such as Skims.
In Spain, the combinations, whose name responds to the fusion of two garments: the corset and the petticoat and therefore are not synonymous with the second, became popular in the twenties as the silhouettes were relaxed and they began to be taught the legs, according to Manzanera in his book. “The undergarments were simplified. The elastic girdle and bras helped to disguise the curves and the one-piece combination took a lot, which replaced the layers of starched petticoats ”, he says, pointing out that in rural Spain they continued to wear“ dark gathered skirts over petticoats and skirts ”. In the 1940s and 1950s, nylon combinations began to be marketed and in the 1960s colored models became fashionable.
It was from then on, with the massive arrival of trousers also for them and the success of the miniskirt, when this garment was gradually falling into oblivion. At least, as part of the daily lingerie, simplified to a bra and panties, although in the following decades it would be transformed into an outer garment. The punk of the eighties, as well as the grunge and 90s minimalism, opted to superimpose sumptuous lingerie-inspired dresses on all kinds of sweaters or even turned them into dresses in their own right. What English speakers would baptize as slip dresses they are nothing more than an adaptation of those combinations – in fact, they are called slip O half slip in English – intended to be taught. “I think that combination as we know it it has little chance of entering the female wardrobe. Another very different thing is that it is used as a dress, The same happens with bras, which have become an outer garment similar to bodices ”, says Cristina Soto, an expert in clothing history.
Five summers ago, slip dresses They were very fashionable again thanks to the proposals –with lace included– by Phoebe Philo for the long-awaited Céline or Calvin Klein, later replicated by the big fast-fashion chains. The reasons for ‘taking’ these garments from privacy to the street go through «The erotic and sexy load that they carry. Today’s society has revalued these two components, the erotic and the sexy, in an exaggerated way », in Soto’s words. Beyond passing summer trends, these types of dresses have established themselves as one more category that, like the combination in the most intimate sense, will not disappear completely.