Lecturing in Lace & Leopard Print – Frocking Friday the Fourteenth Shoeper Shoe Challenge #15 of 105

Leopard Print, Lace & Seamed Stockings

Black/Cream Lace Dress by Toille| 50s Contrast Seamed FFS Stockings from eBay seller Leglines|Silk/leather Amanda Starr Stacked Heeled Sandals via eBay

It has been a busy couple of weeks at Chez Calcei.

The business of teaching people things started in earnest on Friday 8 April aka Frocking Friday the Fourteenth.

At 5.30 am I was busy pretending to be asleep and realizing that if I pretended too much longer I was going to have to sprint uphill to Hurstville to get there by 6.00 am to light scented candles, put on soothing music and prepare an atmosphere conducive to meditative exercise.

At 6.15 am I was teaching a lot of ladies to lift up their pelvic floors and do proper pushups.  By 7.00 am the sussuration* of discomfort and dirty looks cast in my direction lead me to believe that my mission has been successful.

At 9.00 am later that morning I was due to teach some music industry students about legal stuff. My experience of teaching legal stuff to non-lawyers is mixed. Sometimes you can get a class full of energy and interest – at other times, the very sniff of anything even vaguely legalistic sends the students into a torpor or a mutinous murmuring.  Whether there is positive or negative energy in a room, the challenge is to find ways to harness it and work with it. To this end I advocate wearing something that I feel comfortable in and supported by so that I can forget about myself and concentrate on the people who are there to learn.

So as soon as my 6.15 am ladies headed off in search of coffee and their transportation to work, I formally prepared myself discourse in the toilets at the Hurstville Tiaki studios. These are rather swish toilets with candles, candlelbrum and baroque mirrors.  Getting dressed in here is a bit like preparing to go to the opera.

For added confidence (and safety just in case of abnormal knicker function) I decided to wear a fairly firm new foundation garment that looks like this.

Vintage Girdle/Garter Belt

Vintage White Criss Cross Girdle from eBay Seller mizzvintage.

It may seem incongruous to you that someone who practices pilates and yoga would wear a girdle (or admit to it). However, I have my days/weeks/months that I can’t fit into my clothes and I refuse to put my life on hold while I wait for my body to shed its winter hibernation weight.  Also, I fully believe that good posture makes you feel better, look better, think and speak more clearly. It’s too easy otherwise to spend 90% of the time in kyphosis, hunched backed over a computer keyboard or protracting your shoulders to grip a steering wheel. Stick a girdle or a corset on and trust me, you’ll rediscover the location of your transverse abdominis in the very second that you attempt to slouch.

Also, and this is one of my hitherto closely guarded secrets – to wear vintage stockings as I very often do requires a set of suspenders that will actually hold the things up.

FFS Stockings; Seamed Stockings: Vintage Stockings: 50s Stockings


Stockings from the 5os and 60s do not have any stretch in them. None whatsoever.  The stockings shown above extend to just below mid-thigh on me and I am 5 foot 4 inches tall.

If you are serious about wearing vintage stockings you will require the assistance of a firm set of suspenders. Don’t bother with the usual garter/suspender belts that you can buy in high street stores:

Sheer Suspender Belt http://madebyniki.co.uk/

If you are wearing stockings with these for day purposes, you’ll just end up with the waist band working its way over your hips and down your thighs while your stockings puddle Nora Batty style round your ankles:

Nora Batty (aka the late great Kathy Staff) strikes a typically scary and yet alluring pose

You’d have much more luck with a set of wide belt 6 to 8 strap suspender belts. Secrets in Lace have a really good selection of these and cater for curvy (ie normal sized) women.

Secrets in Lace - Intrigue Garter Belt

The best way to hold stockings up that I have found so far bar none is to wear a girdle.

While vintage stockings outstrip modern stockings in appearance and durability, I’d generally choose modern versions of vintage lingerie. The vintage girdle that I wore one pictured above is firm and very pretty but the latex plastic dimples attached to the garter clasps broke off after the first wearing.

Garter Belts Clasps

Not a big deal as replacement clasps are fairly easy to come by but bit of a pain in the bum nonetheless.

I have a few different styles of girdles now (mostly by Rago®) varying in prettiness and firmness. All are equally effective.

My collection started last Easter when my husband bought me a full length Rago one from a specialist lingerie store called Gotta Have That in Bexley, NSW. It was ridiculously expensive (about AUS$150 compared with US$54.00 on Secrets in Lace and £37.46 from Stockings HQ) but I didn’t know anything about the brand or where to buy it online at the time. I just fell in love with the swirly circular detailing on the control panels.

Rago 9357 - Photo Credit Rago(R) http://www.ragoshapewear.com

Now and again I crack myself up remembering those 18 Hour Girdle by Playtex(R) ads from the 70s. Clearly they have had a long lasting effect on me and so subliminal body image advertising to pre-teens works.

The shoes were dead easy to choose – Amanda Starr silk and leopard print stack heels with a little black leather rose flower.   It’s taken me a year to find two pairs of Amanda Starr heels via eBay but I am a patient woman and I know that I will uncover more.

By 9.00 am and after two cups of coffee (no food I can never eat before I do any kind of public speaking or court appearance) I was ready to go.

Amanda Starr Silk & Leather Leopard/Black Rose Sandals

And the class?

FFS Stockings; Seamed Stockings: Vintage Stockings: 50s Stockings

Seamed Stockings - Straight Seams!

Once my boss and I were in the room the students gave us a great reception. Their energy and enthusiasm was amazing. We learned things from them. That is a sure fire sign of a good teaching experience – when I walk out of the room wiser than I walked in.

What do you wear to give you confidence? 

Have you got a talisman outfit or piece of jewellery or something else that someone once gave you for luck?

(* I’d like to thank @johncarneyau for this wonderful word. I’d spent hours trying to thesaurise it without success before Asking Twitter. )


17 thoughts on “Lecturing in Lace & Leopard Print – Frocking Friday the Fourteenth Shoeper Shoe Challenge #15 of 105

  1. Great blog! Informative and attractive. Glad the teaching experience went well. I have a crystal given to me by someone I gave a shiatsu to; it’s my talisman.

  2. you’re so right about support and foundation garments doing the trick posture wise. I may not have experienced much in the way for full corestry like you let me try on at your house, but even just the spanx variety of undergarments can do wonders for how I hold myself upright during the day.

    Am still not over the discovery of vintage stockings!

    • My favourite vintage stockings seller is due to cease listings for a while soon. She will be bundling up colours/knits/eras of stockings in the next week or so to sell off in bulk. I shall keep you posted H x

  3. This was the first time that I ever sat up straight at my desk, while reading. Damn you!

    My power clothes are heels. Boots give me amazing inner strength but I must be careful not to trip on the men that fall over in front of me.

    Dresses make me feel comfortable because I put them on and there is no adjusting of bits required.

    BTW, those stockings are sekis as.

    • Good work. Pull up that pelvic floor as if you were trying not to urinate. Clench that Christian Louboutin gift voucher between your buttocks as if I was trying to take it off you (sample class scripts)

  4. I have some Spanx for those bloated days, but I really love the look of girdles – there’s just something about them! As for stockings, I love the look of them too (especially seamed ones), but we just don’t get on: I always seem to end up with the outline of the suspenders showing clearly through my clothes!

    For power dressing I am a total cliche – little black dress that fits perfectly (and which I know will be neither too dressed-up or too casual), killer heels. Never fails.

  5. It’s posts like this that make me realise how little I know and I can’t help but wonder what other girly secrets I’m living in utter ignorance of. Stockings are something that have always puzzled me, exactly how do they stay up, where do you get them, do they come in my size, how much should I expect to pay? Girdles are a whole other realm of mystery.

    Thanks to posts past and potential there may just be hope for me and others like me yet.

  6. While I was touring, I would pass the time building leather corsets. Very comfy if fitted and built to your specific measurements, but they do demand perfect posture.

    This past Halloween, Chris and I went to a party in Brooklyn where the theme was Dark Victorian. So I, of course, built a period Victorian bustle gown, complete with corset, boned bodice, and bustle cage. (To fit in with the “Dark” part of the evening, I built the underskirt out of black latex pvc…it was certainly dark, and surprisingly warm). If wearing a corset makes you aware of your posture, couple it with a boned and wired lobster cage bustle underskirt, you will instantly develop quite the respect for those ladies who came before us. We tried to rent a car and drive out to Brooklyn, but I couldn’t fit in the front seat. So, we took the subway, and while standing was the most comfortable way to go, I did eventually manage to sit sideways on one of those 3 seater benches.

    I have a few pairs of lovely cuban heeled seamed thigh hi’s that a designer I work with gave me, and I LOVE them. I have worn them a few times to another party we go to out in B’klyn…it’s a ’30s inspired speakeasy, with cool burlesque acts etc. You have to dress vintage, which is amazing. I love reading your blog, because I am obsessed with vintage clothing, while you balance it out with the shoe obsession.

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