Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Nails and slips


On the matter of how much it costs to maintain one's grooming, the prices some readers have been coming up with manicures and pedicures in the US have been making my jaw drop. I recently made the mistake of having a perfectly ordinary manicure at Harvey Nichols, which cost a whopping £40 ($80) but my neighbourhood salon, where I have a monthly pedicure, charges £25 or $50, and once again, for nothing special. And you have to make an appointment.

My colonial cousins, you do not know how lucky you are.

Meanwhile, here in Liverpool I have noticed that one sign of the city's regeneration is the number of serious handbags you're now seeing on the streets. At the MetQuarter, I walked into Flannels, where you can pick up and fondle bags by Yves St Laurent, Prada, Fendi, Miu Miu etc and hurriedly put back a £785 Gucci dress. I did buy a Vanessa Bruno jersey LB day dress, but was worried about slight cling. The sales assistant gave me a top tip: go to M&S and buy a half slip, she said, the dress will glide over the slip instead of sticking to your bum. The half slip is a really old-fashioned piece of lingerie, and I couldn't believe they still sold them, but yes, they did and as she said, it did the trick.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a devoted wearer of slips, underskirts, camisoles, petticoats, whatever you choose to call them, the only odd things about these garments are how few people wear something that will keep them a bit warmer, make their clothes look better, and keep their clothes in better condition for longer. And how difficult it is to find the things in silk.

Polly said...

If I'm in a dress or skirt, I don't leave the house without a slip ( thanks Mom!).
Dying to find a nice full slip in silk. Nylon is awful.

Anonymous said...

Linda, if you're ever in Boston on a book tour I'd be happy to take to Hi-Tech Nails. The atmosphere is certainly not Harvey Nichols, but they have a good service at a great price. And if you'd like something more luxe I'll take you to a salon on Newbury St. Phyllis

Deja Pseu said...

The reason mani/pedi's are so cheap in LA is an abundance of Vietnamese ladies who may or may not be getting paid minimum wage and sometimes work 7 days per week. My neighborhood place, which is not the fanciest or cheapest is closed two days a week and has had many of the same women working there for the 10 years I've been going. Many of them are family of the owner. I try to stay out of the "sweatshop" salons.

Toby Wollin said...

Deja Pseu has a very important point - part of the reason why people can find mani/pedi services at what are considered deflated prices in the US is this situation with regard to the use of low-paid labor in many of these mall-based shops. Sad, but true.
As for slips, I'm a real collector. I inherited several from my Mum when she passed on and I have purchased or made several for myself over the years. Half slips are a real boon, especially when I wear skirts to work in cold weather and I have half a notion to make a half slip out of that "satin with the brushed flannelized back" fabric which is used many times for making nightgowns - satin for the outside, snuggly stuff for me on the inside. I don't have a lot of camis - if I have a blouse that is a little bit too sheer, I'd rather wear a slip with a fancy top, personally. Given how easy and simple it is to sew them (and the wealth of beautiful fabrics and laces that there are out there), it's something that I can treat myself with pretty easily.

Meg from The Bargain Queen & All About Appearances said...

I hardly ever wear a dress or skirt without a half slip! They are hard to find, though. I can get long, dowdy ones in white at Walmart, but tracking down a short beige one is nearly impossible. I just, sadly, had to throw away one of my three. It was yellow and the lace was falling apart because I've had it for probably over a decade.

As for beauty services, I've had one pedicure and three manicures (prom, wedding, college graduation). I have time to keep my nails look decent, so the only reason I'd have it done professionally would be for a special event where I want them to look perfect and I don't have time to waste trying to get them there myself.

I guess, though, that many women spend the money because they don't have the time or skill to keep them up to the expectations of their social group.

Trevira said...

How funny. I've just got back from M&S just now, having bought 2 half slips in different lengths. Essential for wool skirts to prevent them creeping up my legs!

As the anonymous commenter and polly says, I'd love to find them in something other than nylon, though. I was browsing their splendid selection of silk nightdresses - perhaps one of those would work as a slip?

Chaser said...

Silk slips are so hard to come by--few people wear slips anymore.

I live in LA and do frequent the very cheap places (all the places close to me are sweatshoppy places), but I always slip the manicurist an extra $20 for herself (and I mean slip so that nobody sees it--I don't like the looks of some of the men that hang around the place doing nothing)--which brings the cost almost up to what Linda pays if you consider the dollar's weakness v.pound. I'm terrible at doing my own nails and it's worth it to me to get it done.

enc said...

I love the old half-slips. They're perfect for when you wear tights and you don't want the velcro-effect. I've had the same slit black one for years. I just turn it to the side or to the back according to where the skirt is slit.

If you get static, rub some hand lotion on your hands, smooth them over your tights, and presto, the slip won't cling to your thighs anymore!

enc said...

Polly, have you tried this website for a silk slip?

http://www.marygreen.com/

or

http://www.wintersilks.com/

You have to troll to get past the frumpy stuff to the good stuff, but it's there.

brooksie said...

My mother wears a camisole every single day...she says they keep her warm and half slips whenever she's wearing a skirt.

I too love "old fashioned" underpinnings...they do serve a purpose and make clothes look so much better, IMHO.

Polly, look at Dharmas Trading online...they sell full slips in pure silk.

I don't get professional mani/pedia...I do my own. However, tips are a great to those ladies who do them so cheaply.

brooksie said...

About Dharmas, they usually have the best prices going for stuff like this and they're old hippies who've been around since 1969. In terms of ethics which concern people, Dharma's is one of the originals in that field.

SS said...

Also try http://www.staplesonline.com/ for all types of silk underpinnings. They come in nice colors and last for years.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize that slips went away! I have had mine for years and ALWAYS wear one with skirts or dresses. The problem is getting my teen-age daughter to do the same. Now I understand why I am having so mucn trouble with this issue.

Paula said...

I wear slips unless the skirt has a lining, or unless it's definitely opaque AND I'm not wearing tights. (I spent ten years in Phoenix. No one there wears hose except colored tights when it's cold.) I have half-slips in lengths from 14" to ankle length, and the most recent acquisition was just bought this year in a Dutch lingerie shop. So they do still sell them in Europe. But yeah, like others, I'd prefer something nicer than nylon.

fins said...

The Peruvian Connection has silk slips and half-slips. I don't like the material of the ones I've seen in department stores here in the US - haven't even seen viscose - and anyway what would be the point in wearing my lighter linen skirts in the summer if I had to wear nylon underneath - ugh.