Panties Just Fell off Women in the 1950s, Apparently

Photo Credit: Art Frahm, Public Domain

Seems as if we’ve made amazing technological advances in elastic waistbands in the past 65-years. Particularly, in the garment industry. Specifically, in women’s panties.

Art Frahm, an artist from Chicago, was known for his pin-up art from the 1940s through the 1960s. One of his series, “Ladies in Distress,” featured pretty girls mysteriously losing their panties in public places, all while their hands are full handling bags or purses or hatboxes – you know, lady stuff.

Journalist James Lileks has curated a large collection of Frahm’s art, along with other vintage fun, on his website The Institute of Official Cheer. Although Frahm is credited with many works that don’t involve women in the throes of wardrobe malfunctions, falling panties was his (somewhat bizarre) calling card.

How could this happen, you ask. What would make panties simply fall to the ankles in such a fashion?

Lileks said he has heard from women who claim their own underwear has failed. But did it ever happen like this? Wind blowing, arms full and a man or two in the background grinning ear to ear?

Unlikely. More of a daydream, Lileks muses. “This is a glimpse into someone’s fantasy – a world where men regularly happen across women whose undergarments have fluttered to their ankles.”

And why all the celery? That Lileks can’t explain. But whimsical blogger, Messy Nessy, did some digging on her own. It seems that celery was considered an aphrodisiac by Greeks and Romans, stimulating a man’s virility. Symbolism, perhaps?

Frahm depicts panties falling in so many situations. This poor lady loses her panties while bowling:

This lady only wanted to fix her tire. Goodness gracious! What’s happening?

But celery shopping seems to be the artist’s favorite motif.

So thankful the elastic waistband industry has finally caught up with the times. A girl really needs to be empowered to buy some celery these days without worrying her silky underthings might end up at her shoes.