The Knickers Business

Over 6,000 pounds sterling for a pair of panties? It’s obvious they didn’t come from Wal-mart. Read Kate Shrewsday’s account of where they did come from.
(When I was a child, I considered “panties” an inferior word, and saying it would have caused me to keel over out of embarrassment. But I’ve gotten over that.)

Kate Shrewsday

Photograph from Photograph from

It is only this week that, at an auction house in Kent, England, a pair of knickers went for £6,200.

Knickers: that’s panties, pants, underwear. We also call them drawers, and once upon a time they were pantaloons and even bloomers.

But the reason, girls, that you are walking around in M&S cotton briefs today – or shorts, or camis, or strings or whatever – is because of the owner of the pants which have just sold for such a stupendous sum somewhere outside Folkestone.

It is interesting to note that the aforementioned, extremely valuable knickers had a waist of some 52 inches.

Despite the perfectly developed bra-and-pants model developed in the Classical World (or strophium-and-subligaculum model, if you prefer) women in Mediaeval and Tudor Britain did without pants. Which, I know, seems unconscionably draughty to us today. But it was just another garment to purchase, and garments…

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4 thoughts on “The Knickers Business

    1. Yes. And we are not amused.

      That would be a good title for that story I told you, remember? The Case of the Panties’ Provenance. I need to ruminate about that a while.


      1. Did you ever see Jimmy Stewart and Lee Remick in Anatomy of a Murder? The court was very jumpy about allowing the lawyers to use the word “panties.” The judge chewed out the people in court who laughed because he said the panties caused the murder!


        1. Yes! That’s my favorite scene. It reminds me of my speeches to my elementary students whenever the word “underwear” or its relatives was spoken aloud. Such as “Captain Underpants.”


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