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 Post subject: Clothes in Head Girl
PostPosted: 08 Jun 2018, 10:56 
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Winning the dolls' house
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Joined: 20 Jan 2004, 22:44
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Just been re-reading Head Girl and in the bit where they are clearing the snow, it mentions that they looked a sight and were wearing a pair of gym knickers over two pairs of ordinary ones. What on earth did she mean? I can only think she didn't mean underwear and was referring to something different - I appreciate they were longer back then but even so, it doesn't sound particularly warm!


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 Post subject: Re: Clothes in Head Girl
PostPosted: 08 Jun 2018, 11:44 
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Joined: 15 Oct 2004, 13:57
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I'd assume she did mean gym knickers, but that they were more substantial than the ones we used to have for school PE lessons. Girls at Malory Towers keep things in their knicker pockets, which makes them sound more like shorts. Even so, I hope they were wearing skirts or trousers on top of them ... but it doesn't seem to mention that!

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 Post subject: Re: Clothes in Head Girl
PostPosted: 08 Jun 2018, 13:36 
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Winning the dolls' house
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That's why I was confused! No mention of trousers or skirts and regardless of how substantial they were, I can't think 3 pairs would be enough to keep them warm in the snow! It just seemed odd.


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 Post subject: Re: Clothes in Head Girl
PostPosted: 08 Jun 2018, 13:48 
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Joined: 06 Nov 2007, 17:50
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Gym knickers were just that; substantial 'big girl pants' - sometimes with a pocket - that were worn over ones ordinary white knickers. In my school they were worn at all times under our 'crossover' [= gymslip], and when we did gym or 'dancing' we stripped down to gym knickers and vest, and put an aertex shirt on our top halves. For outdoor games we had a pair of games shorts, which were more like a divided skirt/culottes on our bottom halves, and the aertex shirt on the top half.

ETA I think in this scene something more like track suit bottoms must have been meant ...

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 Post subject: Re: Clothes in Head Girl
PostPosted: 08 Jun 2018, 14:52 
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Joined: 23 Sep 2004, 21:57
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The gym knickers would be down to the knees and elasticated so would look like breeches. By Eustacia they are wearing climbing breeches for rambles, no doubt of heavier fabric.


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 Post subject: Re: Clothes in Head Girl
PostPosted: 08 Jun 2018, 18:50 
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I have always understood this to mean nothing more than that the girls were wearing two pairs of ordinary knickers, almost certainly white, and then a pair of gym knickers - ours were dark green and as abbeybufo describes, under their ordinary skirts.

I suppose they may have had skiing slacks by then in fact - I have photos of my mother, an excellent skier, dating from the early 1920s and she is in loosish trousers. In which case it would have been triple knickers plus skihosen...

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 Post subject: Re: Clothes in Head Girl
PostPosted: 08 Jun 2018, 20:37 
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Joined: 19 Jan 2004, 21:52
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Our gym knickers in school were navy - worn under netball skirts etc and as soon as possible replaced by cycling shorts

I always assumed they were extra layers under their skirts, possibly longer than our ones were


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 Post subject: Re: Clothes in Head Girl
PostPosted: 08 Jun 2018, 22:41 
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I always assumed the comfortably loose outerwear that buckles or buttons just below the knee, as shown in illustrations of 1920s American GO literature, e.g. when girls are playing basketball (or basket-ball). Elastic instead of buckles/buttons would also be possible, but not as good for keeping the tops of the knit stockings securely in place, and I'd be more likely to call the garment "bloomers" if elasticated, especially if cut with enough extra material to mimic a skirt. (Q: Would Eustacia consider bloomers less unmaidenly than knickers?)

At what point did British and American definitions diverge? I think both originally used "knickerbockers" in the outerwear sense, but am not so sure of the short form. It's not a word I've heard much recently here, but climbing knickers were popular in my set once upon a time, much better than shorts with no knee protection. Most people's were summer twill, but I had a lovely wool pair, with deep pockets, surplussed from a German camping supply store.

I thought EBD meant that the girls were "a sight" due to the number of layers, rather like Roger Walker after Susan told him to wear two of everything (Arthur Ransome).

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